Helping others comes second nature to Kathy Melton. “I’m from a large family and was taking care of my siblings when I was still a kid myself. When it was time for college, I decided I would go into early childhood education. As it turned out, I spent most of my career working in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and private residences. In fact, the first nursing home I worked for was Saint Augustine Manor when it opened. Talk about a full circle!”
A resident of Towers Assisted Living for the past 15 years, Kathy initially declined to volunteer when she moved in, wanting to get physically strong and able to do the things that were important to her. Eventually, the Activities Director convinced her it was time and Kathy jumped into the deep end of the volunteering pool.
“I select and show a Friday night movie every week and serve snacks. We also have, in conjunction with the library next door, a book/movie club. The residents can read the book or watch the movie or do both. Then the following day we get together with the library ladies and have a great book discussion. I’ve also assisted Mojo, another volunteer, and help her put on plays and fun escapades for the residents.
One of the things I enjoy the most is spending time helping residents with their cell phones and computers. It’s something I really enjoy doing and it’s very helpful to them because not everybody is up to speed with technology, but it’s so important to be able to stay connected with their family and friends.”
Having spent several rehab sessions across the street at the Manor, Kathy began volunteering over there, too. “I used to serve snacks for the Friday afternoon movie and then I would visit residents. After returning to my apartment at the Towers I would often go back to the Manor and volunteer to spend time with residents from the Towers who were there for rehabilitation. Having both facilities on the same campus has made that kind of volunteering so much easier for me.”
Reflecting on her years as a volunteer, Kathy shares what it means to her. “Volunteering has been a great thing for me. Once it became clear that I would not be able to go back to work, I saw all the opportunities to help right here at the Towers, which had become my home. My role changes on occasion and that is a good thing. It keeps me motivated. I sometimes think I have a rather unique perspective. I am a resident who has been helped by volunteers, and I’m a volunteer who has helped residents at both locations on the Health Campus. I think that makes me a better volunteer and being a better volunteer is a good thing.”
“Volunteers will find a great, welcoming community in the residents and the staff. Trust and believe you will be most appreciated by those whom you help, and you’ll find that you are grateful for the opportunity to help them.”