Bring Smiles to Seniors also runs an extension of the program in Michigan. We are a completely unpaid volunteer-run organization that is currently staffed by six passionate individuals.
We call our card donors Card Angels because of the many smiles they bring to seniors across the country. We recently introduced three levels of recognition for individuals who have repeatedly donated their talent and cards to support our mission. While each and every card angel is important to the work that we do, these individuals have made extraordinary contributions to our program. These are our current card angel honorees.
Diamond Angel (>5,000 cards donated)
Linda Hanzely - Minnesota
Marcia Homa - Washington
Dana Jenkins - Washington
Alice Pompilio - Illinois
Gold Angel (>2,500 cards donated)
Lillian Abrams - Michigan
Paula Anderson, California
Christine Bittman - Texas
Jan DeJianne - New Jersey
Nancy M. - New York
Diane Wallace - Florida
Silver Angel (>1,000 cards donated)
Rita Bezdieck - Florida
Sharon Broussard - Georgia
Carol Coneeny - New Jersey
Virginia DeLapp - Virginia
Tess DePalma - Florida
Jencina Elliott - Kansas
Tina Galloway - Florida
Amy Goossen - California
Gaylene Gray - Washington
Tracy Hawes - Michigan
Maura Johnson - Florida
Timmie McErlean - Georgia
Christine Wheeler - New Jersey
Getting Involved: Make This Year Your Family’s Year!
Amanda Henderson, safechildren.info
Did you know that volunteering is good for you? What’s more, engaging with a charitable organization offers benefits to the whole family. Here is how to make this a year that builds your family members as individuals and knits your family closer together as a unit.
Health benefits. Being involved with a charity and reaching out to help others provides benefits to your own well-being. In fact, according to some studies, there is increasing evidence volunteering is a boon to your health and improves our society on many levels. Those who engage as volunteers experience a reduced mortality rate, improved mental and physical functionality, and lowered risk for depression. Working with a charity decreases your stress levels and enhances your satisfaction with life, adding a sense of purpose to your days. Those who volunteer report increased happiness, improved self-esteem, and a bigger sense of control over life circumstances. It even appears the more time you spend volunteering, the greater your benefit.
Kids, too! Adults aren’t the only ones whose lives improve by doing things outside of themselves. Focus on the Family cites research that found children who volunteer enjoy better self-esteem, enhanced desire to learn, higher levels of motivation, and an improved moral compass. When the experience as a volunteer is positive, children learn that while the work may be challenging, it’s worthwhile and satisfying.
Ties that bind. Connecting with charities as a family offers special benefits. Since volunteering requires communication and teamwork, family members bond. Parents can also enjoy teachable moments that can be hard to come by in other circumstances, and actively demonstrate the value of compassion and generosity.
Responsibility. Children learn basic responsibility from following through on their commitment to a charity. They learn to show up when they say they will, honor their obligation to the best of their ability, and to be pleased with the results of their efforts.
Experience. Volunteering offers opportunities for your children to learn a good work ethic. Also, some experts point out children gain work experience, leadership skills, and networking opportunities. Children can even learn specific job skills which might benefit their future careers.
The power of “one.” Another important message children can gain from volunteering is the impact of one person’s efforts. KidsHealth explains that children see their efforts creating an impact and gain the empowering message that they can make a difference in the world.
Sacrifice and giving. Another great lesson children learn is the principle of sacrifice. They can see the giving of time and effort making a difference, and they can see the benefit when giving items as well. With that in mind, one suggestion is to declutter your home, gleaning gently used items to donate to a charity. Not only does this help a worthy cause, but reduces the amount of “stuff” in your home and helps you stay organized. Consider asking your children to select a special toy or two to give to a less fortunate child. It’s an opportunity for your youngster to learn the value of generosity when you have more than others have. Be sure to lead by example and donate something special of your own.
Community benefits. Engaging with a charitable organization strengthens communities. Agencies and services that use volunteers generally run on little or no income, and rely heavily on support from the efforts of individuals and groups committed to improving the local community.
Volunteering is a terrific way to enhance the well-being of you and your family members while serving your community. Making a charitable effort is not only good for your mental and physical health, it improves your family bond and teaches your children invaluable lessons. Make this your family’s year and spend time giving of yourselves!