One person can make a difference

I recently came across The story of the starfish, by Loren Eiseley, while cleaning up leftover files from my predecessor. This story shows how one person doing a good deed can make a difference in someone’s life.

It reminded me of how, on a daily basis, Senior Services volunteers make a difference in the lives of clients. Whether it’s a meals-on-wheels driver calling 911 for a client in distress, a transportation driver volunteering during the pandemic to ensure a client gets to their dialysis appointments, from a volunteer handyman installing a ramp so a client with Parkinson’s disease can get up his stairs without his wife worrying about him falling, or a health benefits assistance volunteer enabling a client saved over $400 per month after reviewing their health insurance plan and helping them qualify for assistance programs.

I could go on filling the journal with so many more examples of how Senior Services volunteers continue to change the lives of the clients we serve. However, I won’t; I’ll just say, thank you!

The story of the starfish
Adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley

Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to write. He used to walk on the beach before starting work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked at the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone dancing until daylight, and so he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man leaned towards the shore, picked up small objects and threw them into the ocean.

He approached again and shouted: “Hello! Can I ask you what are you doing?

The young man stopped, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I have to ask you, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat surprised sage.

To this the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.

Hearing this, the sage commented, “But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t tell the difference!

At this, the young man bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As he met the water, he said, “That made a difference for that one.”

If you didn’t already know, April is National Volunteer Month, a month to celebrate volunteerism and express gratitude to those who volunteer. As the new Manager of Volunteers at Senior Services, I am constantly impressed with how our volunteers step up to help clients on a daily basis. Know that every life you touch matters, even if it’s just one. You make a difference and we would not be able to fulfill our mission without you. Thank you for all you do, not just this month, but every month throughout the year!

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