Volunteers make a difference: Kathy Reed

Hillcrest Healthcare welcomes individuals, families and groups to volunteer at our three communities. We want to share a little peek behind the scenes at some of our volunteers and their work to express our gratitude for their dedication and perhaps spark an interest in others who may be looking for service opportunities.

Kathy Reed started volunteering at the Island Home community after her mother moved in as a resident in June 2022. Kathy had cared for her mom for 15 years and now comes after work most nights and each weekend to visit.

She noticed that some of the people there do not have many visits from their friends and family. “I decided to do something to lift the spirits of the residents, staff and families,” she shares. “I thought that decorating for Christmas may help, and if I could make one resident smile, it was worth it.”

Kathy set to work collecting items from her own holiday décor collection, local retailers – “Hobby Lobby employees almost know me by name” – and online. Her friend and coworker, Sharon Waltman, made several custom wreaths and even helped Kathy decorate.

She gathered everything and set to work, decorating tables, the nurses’ station and other vignettes throughout the community. She made sure to include her favorite: gnomes. “Gnomes make me smile!”

Positive feedback abounds, as everyone enjoyed all of the work she invested in making the community so festive. Kathy’s already at work designing and gathering items for Valentine’s Day – she is being resourceful to use some of the Christmas décor, just updated for cupid, and she has a ton of ideas.

Kathy wants others to know that there is a great need – especially among seniors – and giving doesn’t have to be extravagant. She says that the gift of time is the best gift of all. “These people are so precious. I wish I could do more because I see the benefit. The smallest effort has the potential to make such an incredible difference. Going an hour a week and reading or working a puzzle with a resident – any kindness will bless them, and be a blessing to the volunteer as well.”

She also takes the extra effort to recognize and support the staff at Island Home as well. “They have such a challenging job. It’s physically and emotionally difficult. On my mom’s 97th birthday, I provided lunch and a cake for the staff. Sometimes I’ll take them Crumbl Cookies. They’re amazing, just incredible – sweet, kind and supportive and they take good care of my mom, which is the most important thing to me.”

Kathy gets emotional when she thinks about the power of volunteering. “Kindness, especially in today’s world, is the key. I encourage people to give a little bit of time. If everyone did a little, it would be so powerful, there would be no shortages. I think it is especially important for those of us who have a lot to find ways to give back.”

Our volunteers are a source of joy and light. If you have a talent to share or time to serve, we encourage you to fill out our volunteer form. Volunteers are welcome to assist with activities such as game nights and festivals; share a talent such as magic or music; lead community crafts; do building and grounds maintenance such as painting, weeding or planting; or even help with administration or events with our non-profit partner, Hillcrest Healthcare Foundation. We’ll find a spot for individuals or groups, so reach out today.

Watch for more profiles on some of our awesome volunteers and follow us on Facebook to keep up with all that’s going on in our three communities.