About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view lew697's profile
    Posted April 22, 2014 by
    Longview, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Impact Your World

    More from lew697

    Buckner Westminster Place Honors Volunteers and Prepares to Launch Volunteer Reading Program

    In recognition of National Volunteer Month, Buckner Westminster Place, a senior living community in Longview, hosted a luncheon for resident volunteers, family volunteers, and volunteers in the outside community who make the residence a better place by donating their time. The luncheon was held on April 15 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Friendship Room of Buckner Westminster Place. At the luncheon, the community announced the launch of the Reading Friends program, a project initiated by former resident Don Williams.

    Williams began volunteering his time to read to fellow residents who had various forms of vision impairment. Wes Wells, Executive Director of Buckner Westminster Place, was inspired by Don’s actions and created a program in which residents and members of the outside community can donate their time to reading to residents who are visually impaired. Jeanine Faires, a resident in need of reading services, is eager for the program to start and thinks that beyond the reading, friendships are sure to blossom.

    “I am anxious for Reading Friends to start,” said Faires. “Even though I have a magnifying machine, it is still difficult for me to see and some things are not so easily magnified, as they do not fit under my machine. My doctor in Houston said I am legally blind, so any help I can get is greatly appreciated. I have devotional books that I have not been able to read in a few years. Now that I have someone committed to reading to me, I can enjoy those books again. I tried to read them, but I lose my place and the letters are hard for me to make out. It will be lovely to have the devotional books, church newsletters, local newspapers and other items read to me. I think that it is miraculous that my reading friend, Kimberly Shelton, wants to share her time with me. This young woman has two small children and runs her own business. I think it is special that she wants to do this.”

    Shelton is a committed volunteer at Buckner Westminster Place, and brings her poodle to visit with residents in memory care. She is excited to participate in the new reading program and cannot wait for it to officially launch.

    “Bringing a smile to someone’s face is the most rewarding feeling,” said Shelton. “I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the residents and am looking forward to getting better acquainted with Ms. Faires. Each Reading Friends volunteer will be paired with one resident, so friendships are sure to be made and grow over time. Helping others and knowing that someone is counting on me makes me feel good. She’s looking forward to it, and knowing I can brighten her day really blesses my heart. I think it is important to share our energy and abilities with others.”

    This was the first annual volunteer lunch at Buckner Westminster Place. In addition to lunch, the community booked entertainment for everyone’s enjoyment.

    “We are so grateful for all our volunteers,” said Wells. “They make the residence a better place and brighten each other’s lives. It is a mutually beneficial experience for all involved. We plan to host this luncheon every year to honor and recognize those who share their talents, energy and time to help others.”
    Add your Story Add your Story