When Gail Okum retired from her 31-year teaching career, she knew that she didn’t want to stop helping others, but she needed a new way to give back.
“I was certain that I wanted to be involved in helping others in a different capacity and it was important that I continue interacting with people in the community,” explained Gail, who joined the Arnprior Regional Health (ARH) Auxiliary in 2016. “I had never been in the Opportunity Shop prior to volunteering but thought working in a store might be a fun way to see people and I knew all the proceeds were going to the Grove and Hospital.”
The community connection is also important to Auxiliary member Doreen Nicholas, who has volunteered for 15 years supporting the Grove, Hospital and Opportunity Shop and served as the Auxiliary President from 2013-2015.
“For me, it’s about the joy of giving back to the community,” said Doreen, who now focuses her time on helping the OR nurses with paperwork and patient support. “The joy of doing something for someone else and helping make people smile.”
The helper’s high
Gail is reminded regularly how her contributions through the Auxiliary are making a tangible difference to local health care and how on a personal level, the experience is gratifying.
“Through volunteering with the Auxiliary, you can use skills from past jobs and develop new ones you
may not know you had, and it leads to becoming part of a community that allows you to form new friendships,” reflected Gail. “Volunteering makes you feel good which is often referred to as helper’s high – I’m on that a high a lot.”
Consistently, Auxiliary volunteers share that their role has helped them get out of the house and connect with the community, provided them with purpose by supporting a great cause, and boosted their happiness and self-esteem.
The ARH Auxiliary is welcoming new members to join the team. The commitment is two hours per month (with many volunteers doing multiple hours per week) and there are many ways to give back to the community through the Auxiliary including the Opportunity Shop, The Grove, The Hospital, and its Gift Shop. All money raised through the Auxiliary goes directly to ARH to improve local health care.
*All volunteers must be fully vaccinated.
To learn more about volunteering with the ARH Auxiliary, contact Maggie Harbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.