Vicki Shaffer has lived in the South Bay for the past 25 years and recently retired after working as a Quality Assurance Engineer in the aerospace industry for 35 years. She knew she wanted to be of service to her community, specifically helping older adults, but didn’t know where to turn.
Vicki first found Beach Cities Health District after searching online for nearby volunteer organizations that help seniors, and immediately filled out an application. It wasn’t long before she was invited to a volunteer orientation and learned about the multitude of programs offered by BCHD. Vicki started right away as an Errand Volunteer, where she has established a wonderful relationship with the seniors she works with!
“I’ve always had a soft spot for senior citizens. I think it comes from my love for my grandparents. And I just can’t stand when people treat them badly or don’t take the time to help them!” As an Errand Volunteer, Vicki picks up her clients and takes them to the grocery store or post office for example. There is a time limit for Errand Volunteer visits, but Vicki appreciates that the program provides some empathetic flexibility so her clients are not rushed or do not feel stressed when she is with them.
Vicki believes the Older Adult Programs are all about making someone else happy–making sure the client’s needs are met and they feel comfortable. “One of my clients likes to buy flowers to brighten up her space at home and I love helping her get those for herself,” she says, “It makes me happy that she’s happy!”
The same client really enjoys the beach, so one day Vicki decided to make a quick stop on the way to the grocery store. “We got out and sat on a bench to watch the waves.” The feedback she has gotten has been truly amazing. One of her clients even said she was sent from heaven to help her. “She is wonderful–very responsible, calls to make sure she’ll be here at the appointed time. She’s very peaceful for me, just a delight to letting me become [myself] again, sort of like being a butterfly waiting to fly again. I’m at least in the cocoon waiting to come out and Vicki’s a big part of that. It was well worth waiting for Vicki. If she has a report card, please make sure she gets a star.”
Vicki loves volunteering at BCHD. “Emotionally, it’s made me feel very good. It’s lifted my spirits that I know I’m caring for someone. Volunteering is giving–giving to the community, another person that needs help. Giving to another is a wonderful thing to do. Giving your time is so special and it doesn’t cost a thing.”
Written with thanks to Ashley Smaldino