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Tag Archive | "Volunteering"

Kick-Start the New Year with volunteering – for your own good

Hospice of Michigan volunteer Pierrette Templeton and her pug, Biwi, bring comfort and enjoyment to patients and families during a very difficult time. Templeton, who makes visits through the nonprofit’s pet therapy program, credits volunteering with “anchoring” her emotionally and spiritually.

Hospice of Michigan volunteer Pierrette Templeton and her pug, Biwi, bring comfort and enjoyment to patients and families during a very difficult time. Templeton, who makes visits through the nonprofit’s pet therapy program, credits volunteering with “anchoring” her emotionally and spiritually.

Most everyone begins the New Year with a resolution involving a healthier lifestyle. Many also pledge to give back to their communities. If you have welcomed in 2017 with one or both of these on your list, consider volunteering. From national foundations with Michigan chapters to grassroots community organizations, opportunities abound to make a difference in the lives of others. And Hospice of Michigan is one option.

Medical professionals report emotional, social and physical benefits for those who donate their time to worthy causes.  According to study findings shared by Health Fitness Revolution, the personal perks of volunteering include:

Building self-esteem and creating a sense of purpose

Volunteering can force you out of your comfort zone, which can help you grow as a person. It can also provide peace of mind by helping you meaningfully engage in a cause you can identify with and believe in.

“Volunteering at Hospice of Michigan provides me with an emotional connection to people that I wouldn’t otherwise have,” says Pierrette Templeton. “I was young when I lost my parents and grandparents, and have lacked the connection and emotional bonding that those relationships provide. My patients anchor me emotionally and spiritually with their stories, advice, worldviews and even just their presence. The fulfillment I receive from serving this community is so much more than the time and effort I give.”

Alison Wagner, Hospice of Michigan director of volunteer services and complementary therapies, shares how another volunteer cherishes moments with everyone she meets. With the passing of the volunteer’s father and the death of her precious granddaughter, she decided to volunteer in order to heal. She finds her involvement “extremely rewarding and a blessing in her own life.” With the special bonds and dear friendships she’s developed with her patients, she reports just sitting with someone is very gratifying for her.

Alleviating loneliness, reducing stress and instilling a sense of happiness

The social connections you make through volunteering can combat depression. And helping others can reduce general feelings of anxiousness and alienation. Volunteering also creates a sense of contentedness and positivity with studies supporting the notion that people who volunteer more often report being “very happy.”

“As a volunteer, you are the answer to someone’s prayer,” says Kathy Lodge, a Hospice of Michigan floral delivery volunteer. “When I deliver flowers to a hospice patient, it makes both of us happy. The look on their face when you hand a hospice patient a bouquet of flowers makes the whole room bright.”

While these emotional and social benefits are tremendous, most eye-opening is the impact volunteering can have on your physical well-being, including:

Cardiovascular health

Medical professionals identified a tentative link between volunteerism and a decreased risk of hypertension among adults 50 years or older. While the study did not identify a definitive link, it suggests the higher levels of physical activity and better mental health that come with volunteering are the reason.

Interestingly pet therapy, like that provided by Hospice of Michigan, is also credited with providing cardiovascular health benefits to seriously-ill patients. It’s additionally shown to lower blood pressure and lessen overall physical pain, as well as alleviate a host of emotional and social issues.

Wagner notes that volunteers who accompany therapy dogs on patient visits report their interactions with patients and families are, in the words of one, “rewarding beyond words” and that the recognition they receive for their volunteer efforts “pale in comparison to the personal encounters they’ve had with patients living out their last days.”

Lower mortality rates

Along with improving cardiovascular health, research has also linked volunteering with a longer life through the greater social support those who volunteer enjoy. Research further suggests volunteering for others enhances mortality five years down the road.

Whether it’s partnering with Hospice of Michigan or any of the hundreds of organizations across Michigan dedicated to enhancing life in the Great Lakes State, volunteering is certainly a path to health and happiness in the New Year.

For information about volunteer opportunities and upcoming training sessions, or to learn more about hospice and palliative care, call 888-247-5701 or visit www.hom.org.



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Five fun ways to make holiday memories with your child


(BPT) – The holidays are a special time of year for everyone, but through the eyes of a child, it can feel like pure magic. Parents and caregivers looking to make this holiday extra special should spend less time worrying about trinkets under the tree, and instead, focus on spending quality time with their families. To make this holiday the best yet, consider these five festive ideas for bonding and creating unforgettable memories together.

Watch a favorite holiday movie together

From Frosty the Snowman to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer – everyone has a favorite holiday movie they remember from their childhood. This year, relive those fond memories with your child as you snuggle up on the couch together. Don’t forget to gather the movie night essentials such as popcorn, holiday cookies or a mug of hot chocolate topped with Hot Cocoa & Cream PEEPS. Snap a picture of everyone together and share the joy!

Organize a holiday scavenger hunt

Santa’s elves escaped the North Pole to have a little mischief in the yard or in the house. It’s up to you and your child to find all the things on Santa’s scavenger hunt list. Before kids wake, hide fun holiday items around for the ultimate holiday scavenger hunt. A pinecone, candy cane, star and red bulb are just a few examples of what you can put on the list.

Bake with a cultural twist

Baking holiday cookies is a fantastic tradition for kids and adults alike. This year, in addition to your favorite recipes, add a new one inspired by your cultural heritage. Try Lebkuchen from Germany, Melomakarona from Greece or Alfajores from Argentina. A few minutes online and you’ll find the perfect recipe to expand your holiday cookie platter and help kids delve into their family history.

Embrace the spirit of the season

The holidays are a wonderful time full of wish lists and present exchanges. This year, help kids understand the joy of giving back by volunteering together. Whether you buy presents for a family in need, write holiday letters to the troops or help at a homeless shelter, you’re showing kids that it feels just as good to give as it does to receive. Plus, the experience will leave a positive impact long after the holidays are over.

Make an ornament keepsake

Let children’s imaginations take flight and embrace the spirit of the holiday season by creating a special ornament together. With a few simple supplies, you can create a cute and customizable ornament that will remind you of this special project each year as you pull out the decorations. Make a few extra and let your child give them to grandparents, teachers and friends.

Try this simple guide for fun and festive Snow Globe Christmas Ornaments:


PEEPS Christmas marshmallow shapes: Gingerbread Men, Trees, Snowmen or Reindeer

DIY ornaments

Tape with a holiday design (washi tape)

Miniature seasonal props

Loose glitter snow

Hot glue

Popsicle sticks




Best practice: Select which PEEPS you want to use in the ornament, remove from packaging, and let sit overnight.

1. Start with one half of the ornament. (DIY ornaments typically sold in a set of halves.)

2. To create a platform for the PEEPS to stand on, take a Popsicle stick and cut it so it rests across the lower third of the inside. Secure the stick using hot glue to the inside of the ornament.

3. Prop your selected PEEPS shape on the Popsicle platform and secure with hot glue.

4. Add festive miniature props such as the mini-Christmas tree and candy cane shown above, secure with hot glue.

5. Let the ornament stand for 10 minutes.

6. Add enough loose glitter snow to the finished half of the ornament to hide the Popsicle stick.

7. Connect the front half of the ornament and carefully secure with hot glue.

8. Add the tape with holiday design (washi tape) to cover the seam of the ornament or add bells and ribbon to the outside of the ornament.

Caution: glue gun can be extremely hot. Parents should supervise at all times.

For more holiday inspiration visit marshmallowpeeps.com.

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Where are the volunteers?

The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


What has happened to good old volunteerism? It is an opportunity to help and improve our community. Volunteering allows you to explore career choices, learn new skills, or get that positive boost that you might not be getting elsewhere. Some schools and employers urge their students and employees to volunteer in their community. Rewards for volunteering differ for each organization but it always involves a sense of pride in a job well done. And volunteerism looks great on your resume.

Volunteering can breathe new life into an organization. It is working as a team to pull off an event or complete a project. You meet interesting people and you never know which person might be the one who inspires you and gives you a new sense of your skills, talents, and self. You may discover skills or talents you never knew you had. You can practice time management, priority setting, increased creativity, improved interpersonal and leadership skills, and customer service. You have the opportunity for intergenerational interaction and fun!

Here is a short list of organizations and/or service groups in need of volunteers: The Kent Theatre; C.S. Library; Howard Christensen Nature Center; Red Flannel Committee; Lions Club; Rotary; Women’s Club; and the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Please contact these groups to find out how you can help. I would like to thank all of you who have been volunteering in so many ways. You have made a difference and I appreciate all the hours you have donated to make our community a better place.

Mary K. Balon

Kent Theatre Volunteer Coordinator

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