Today, we highlight Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ).
We asked Executive Director and volunteer Lynette Whiteman to share information for the community about CVCJ where their many services; including the Canine Program, reaches out to the areas senior citizens.
How long have you volunteered with this organization?
I am the Executive Director and also a volunteer with our Caregiver Canines® Visiting Dog Program. I have been with this agency for 10 years.
Describe a typical day as a volunteer for this organization.
Volunteers help us out in a myriad of ways. They can drive someone to the doctor or to get lab work, they can go grocery shopping, make a friendly visit, phone call or visit with their therapy dog.
What activities/events would volunteers participate in?
Since we are a non-profit agency, we rely on donations, fundraisers and grants to help fund our programs and help us pay for background checks on our volunteers. Many of our volunteers join committees to help us with our golf outing and fashion show and then participate in these events. We work hard to match our volunteer’s interests with what brings them the most satisfaction and joy.
What motivates you to be a volunteer for this group?
The joy I get when I visit an individual with my therapy dog cannot be quantified. I love the feeling of knowing that I am brightening someone’s day and that without our visit, that person might not have talked to another individual all day. I think we can all relate to feeling lonely at some point in our life. If I can ease someone’s burden just a bit, and bring a smile to their face, it makes me feel really happy.
Describe an anecdote about an experience you have had volunteering.
I visited a gentleman who had dementia with my therapy dog. This man did not talk much and his wife was having such a difficult time watching him slip away. When he saw my dog, his whole face lit up and he bent over to pet her and repeated “my baby, my baby”. It brought him such comfort to be able to pet her and he reconnected with his past. His wife started to cry because she hadn’t seen him this content in a while. It was truly an inspiring moment and one I will never forget.
Why should others consider volunteering for this group?
By volunteering for our agency, you are guaranteed to make someone’s life better and ease their burden. It is a very immediate and rewarding experience. We are also extremely flexible and respect people’s busy schedule. There is nothing written in stone about how often you need to volunteer. Many of volunteers go away on vacation or for the winter and we work around their schedules. Once you see how grateful the people you help are, you can’t help but feel good.
GROUP CONTACT INFO
Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey
253 Chestnut Street
Toms River, NJ 08753
Meeting times: We have volunteer orientation throughout the year and on weekends and nights. To find out about an upcoming orientation, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732.505.2273.
We never take our volunteers for granted, and are so grateful for any help they can provide. Hopefully, we will all get older, and some of us might need a little help, especially when we can’t drive anymore. I hope younger people will come forward to help out the generation that came before them and our agency will be able to help people for many, many years.