Many years ago, while I was employed full time at a busy job, and also being a newly married lady, I gave of my time, talent and energy at a mental institution in our town. The joy I found and the satisfaction I felt was overwhelming. At first it was somewhat scary to be in this environment, never having had anyone compromised in this way in my family circle or circle of friends–but I had a reason for doing this.
I learned from this valuable time how to deal and cope with these situations and how to work with them. I volunteered in a locked-up environment which was also overwhelming at first.
To my surprise, I found out that a friend of my parents from many years back was a resident of this facility, and that when I was a baby, this lady had wanted to keep me as she was unable to have children. I brought this lady up to date with pictures, brought her special items and brought her up to current times. The time came when she was able to piece things together, and she said to me one day “please dear, you should not come here, as this is not a place for you,” but I wanted to bring something into this lady’s life. Together, after much time, we had closed up the years. I was told that she would have been able to be released from the facility, but because she had no family to go to, she couldn’t leave. But I did bring her to my home on two occasions for afternoon refreshments, and I saw the joy of this lady “feeling a part of life.” I have never forgotten this volunteering experience. This lady later passed away but I have the fulfillment in my life of having done just a little to make a difference in the life of one person.
-submitted by Sylvia Jones