Carol Johnson and her husband Chuck bought a house and got married in Hermosa Beach in 1964. Their daughter is now a teacher in Hawthorne.
Now retired, Carol has spent a lot of time volunteering with Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) and other organizations. Being a “Conversation Companion” and engaging our community’s older adults through socializing has always been one of her areas of focus, but as Carol explained, “this used to be such a great way of brightening people’s day, including mine. Of course, over the past 18 months we haven’t been able to meet face-to-face, but still talk on the telephone.”
BCHD Care Manager Joy Schmidt describes how Carol’s volunteer role makes a positive impact on her client Tony’s life, “it is wonderful when someone can understand what gifts they possess that can be shared. To give someone our full attention is a gift like no other. Carol lends her gift of listening to Tony as a way of engaging with him. It lets him know he is being heard and that she values what he is saying. It enhances his life, and he looks forward to his conversations with Carol each week.”
Carol is always there to help whenever BCHD needs additional volunteer assistance. One example was the recent need for support at the COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Carol was happy to help, and this was something that she really ended up enjoying. “It was a good operation and its efficiency meant that we processed quite a few people through there every day,” explains Carol.
Carol has also donated her time as needed delivering meals for BCHD. In fact, she recruited her husband Chuck to help out too. Because Carol doesn’t drive, Chuck was regularly drafted to be the chauffer. As Chuck says, “volunteering is definitely contagious; I slowly started to become her accomplice!”
Chuck volunteered at the Salvation Army in the kitchen along with delivering ‘meals on wheels.’ At the Redondo Beach Senior Center, Chuck would spend time with people playing games, taking some clients for walks, having lunch with them, and generally keeping them happy, healthy, and entertained.
Even with their busy volunteer schedules, the couple still manages to find time for their own hobbies. Three to four times a week, Carol is at the bowling alley and travels for senior league games. The couple is also very active and walks for fun, as well as works out at BCHD’s Center for Health & Fitness.
Chuck and Carol enjoy caring for people in the community. “Go and enjoy volunteering,” said Carol, “because you’re not only helping other people, you’re also helping yourself to get out and enjoy life – it makes me feel wonderful!”