Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association: VNA expands volunteer program | SteamboatToday.com

Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association: VNA expands volunteer program

Tamera Manzanares/For the Steamboat Today

Billie Jacobs has been a volunteer for more than 30 years, working mostly with seniors and hospice-related programs. In 2004, Billie became a volunteer with Hospice at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, where she spends time with clients and does anything she can — grocery shopping, errands and cleaning — to help their families.

Jacobs' compassion and people skills have been an asset to the program and, in return, Billie has enjoyed the heart-felt relationships she's developed as a volunteer.

"It's just a feeling of fulfillment," she said. "You've accomplished something that is good and has helped someone else."

Each volunteer has a unique set of skills and interests that can benefit others in a multitude of ways. To date, VNA volunteers have primarily provided assistance with fundraising, client support and other aspects of Hospice. More VNA programs now will benefit from volunteers' support through the organization's recently expanded Volunteer Services Program.

"We are fortunate to live in a community where people so willingly give their time to help others," said Mindy Fontaine, volunteer coordinator. "We want to offer new ways for volunteers to contribute their unique skills to programs they care about at the VNA."

The VNA has locations in Steamboat Springs and Craig and offers a range of public health and disease-prevention programs. The organization operates Community Health Centers in both locations and The Haven Assisted Living facility in Hayden.

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Volunteer possibilities can be tailored to volunteers' interests. Potential opportunities include helping patients at the Community Health Center fill out paperwork or spending time with seniors at The Haven, perhaps doing activities or showing them how to use email and smartphones.

Volunteers may prefer behind-the-scenes work, such as landscaping, holiday decorating or facility maintenance or helping with office work and mailings. Volunteers also are needed for the annual Daffodils Hospice fundraiser and other events.

Volunteers help the VNA meet the needs of others and contribute positive energy that enhances the organization as a whole, Fontaine said.

"Giving time is just as significant as writing a check," she said. "We want volunteers to feel as connected to the VNA as we are to them."

Janet Panebaker has been a Hospice volunteer at the VNA for nearly 10 years and also dedicates time to other community organizations. Meeting and connecting with staff and other volunteers is among the rewards of volunteering, she said.

"The biggest benefit is working with clients but also being part of a team – working with nurses and coordinators and people with different strengths," Panebaker said.

The volunteer program is open to volunteers of all ages as well as individuals who need to fulfill court-ordered community service hours. All new volunteers will complete an introductory training educating them about the organization and issues involving patient/client privacy and other important guidelines. Additional training may be involved specific to their volunteer role.

A recruitment event will be held 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 29 in Library Hall at the Bud Werner Memorial Library. The casual event is an opportunity to learn more about Northwest Colorado VNA programs and volunteer possibilities.

For more information about the Volunteer Services Program, call 970-871-7609 or visit http://www.nwcovna.org/volunteer.php.

Tamera Manzanares is the Marketing Coordinator at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. She can be reached at tmanzanares@nwcovna.org.

Volunteer program recruitment

Information about new volunteer opportunities at the Northwest Colorado VNA will be available at a recruitment event, 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 29 at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. Refreshments provided. For more information about the Volunteer Services Program, call 970-871-7609.