Extended Care Showers Volunteers With Thanks For Their Service
Volunteers like Daisy Underwood have devoted many hours to New Community, including free evenings and weekends.
But Underwood, a Newark resident and longtime volunteer at the
NCC Extended Care Center, says spending time with elderly residents there is hardly a sacrifice.
“They’re like family to me,” she said. “We laugh and talk, we just have a good time.” Still, her dedication as one of roughly 130 regular volunteers at the center has not gone unnoticed. In a gesture of thanks, the Extended Care staff hosted a volunteer appreciation dinner in the Medical Day Care Room. About 60 volunteers attended.Extended Care is a 180-bed skilled nursing facility.
Seated at tables festively decorated with light and dark blue tablecloths with yellow accents and balloon centerpieces, volunteers enjoyed a dinner of chicken, beef, salad, rice, green beans and a roll. Afterwards they had cake and ice cream.
“We’re going to wait on you all today,” Elizabeth Brookins, Activities Director at Extended Care, told the volunteers as the deejay spun spirited gospel music throughout the evening. Singing, clapping and dancing punctuated the event and young dancer Keianna Semple treated volunteers to a solo performance.
When Underwood, 66, visits residents, she reads to them, paints their nails or brings small gifts like combs or scarves.
One resident whom she visits is Edna VanDunk. VanDunk says “it’s very nice” when volunteers like Underwood bring gifts like soap or help run errands.
Those types of gestures leave an impression, said Veronica Onwunaka, Director of Nursing at Extended Care.
“Nothing is more important than somebody coming to you to say, ‘how are you today?’” she said. A parent liaison at Newton Street School in Newark, Underwood says she started volunteering at Extended Care in the 1980s. She plans to retire from the school in June and devote more time to volunteering at Extended Care and at her church.
“We could never say thank you enough,” Betty Lawson, Administrator of Extended Care, said to the volunteers. “You are our backbone.”
The Extended Care Center is hosting NCC’s annual Adopt A Resident Day on May 14.