“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”
This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and we thought it would be a great time to check in with SAIL’s stellar Volunteer Coordinator, Peggy York. Peggy handles dozens of SAIL volunteers, keeps the ship running smoothly, and plans wonderful gatherings to celebrate those who give back to the SAIL community.
Peggy began working for SAIL part-time in 2011, after retiring from her nursing career at the UW-Hospital. “It’s a dream job!” she says. “Most of our volunteers are actually SAIL members that truly live up to the member-helping-member vision of SAIL. Members have told me that they joined SAIL at a younger age so they could be of service and know that SAIL would be there for them in years to come.”
The “pay it forward” concept is a key component of SAIL. We provide services like handymen to do minor household tasks, drivers, mattress flipping, companionship, and more. The Village Movement, of which SAIL is a founding member, was developed on the principle of older adults nurturing independence, engagement, and comfort in one another. Volunteerism is a key component of the movement. Younger members support older members with the knowledge that one day they might need support from volunteers as well. As frequent volunteer Ken Martin put it in a February post on our blog, “There is an intrinsic reward from committing time and energy.”
When asked about her favorite part of her job, Peggy says, “Hearing stories. I usually get a thank you reply for a job well done and it is a pleasure to pass that along to the driver or handyman.” She adds, “I love it when a member is so comfortable having the handymen enter their home that they tell me ‘the guys came over.'” She continues by noting the compassion exhibited by volunteers, who often support members who live alone.
Being a good Volunteer Coordinator requires a lot of organization. Peggy keeps a detailed database of volunteers and what areas they help with, as well as requests and needs from members. She communicates constantly via e-mail and phone to make sure requests are fulfilled.
Volunteerism at SAIL doesn’t always involve going to member homes, and there is no minimum time commitment. Additional opportunities involve setting up for events, helping in the SAIL office, and serving on the various governance committees that keep SAIL running.
Here are a few of many testimonials about SAIL’s excellent volunteer services:
“Just a thank you to the many volunteers who have helped us in so many ways: from rides to the doctor, to household repairs, to mattress flipping, to moving our trash cans to the curb – you are wonderful!”
“You can never be aware of the entire impact you make in someone’s life. For us, the mattress flippers have been so helpful to us— in their task AND their positive fun attitude. Thank you to all who volunteer in any way.”
“SAIL’s volunteers are exceptional people – they give freely of their time to help fellow members do what they can no longer do for themselves, no matter how mundane the task, and always with a smile.”
Peggy York’s exceptional commitment to keeping the volunteer program organized is extremely important to SAIL and its place in the Village Movement. She also leads a team of outstanding individuals who give of their time and energy with pure enjoyment! Thank you to every SAIL volunteer, and a very special thanks to Peggy for keeping it all running smoothly! SAIL is so lucky to have you!
If you are interested in volunteering for SAIL, call Peggy at 608-230-4321! You can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAIL volunteer story: Ken Martin and Bev Priefer
“Points of Light” volunteer stories
A bicontinental life of giving back in retirement (Next Avenue)
The benefits of volunteering in retirement
9 tips for volunteering in retirement