We continue our series in honor of National Volunteer Month by shining the spotlight on a resident couple who volunteer at Dickson Hollow, located in Menomonee Falls, WI. They are motivated by a two-fold desire: to be true to their own sense of purpose and to offer their time and talents to enrich the community they call home. Sharing their story is one way for us to say thank you!
Ray and Goldie, can you help?
On a Thursday in October 2016, Ray and Goldie Jones moved from central Indiana to their new apartment at Dickson Hollow. By Saturday, they were helping the staff set up and host the community Open House. “Because,” they explained, “volunteering is just what we do wherever we are.”
Now, largely because of their volunteerism, the two retired educators’ lives are woven into the social fabric of Dickson Hollow, which opened its doors just six months before Goldie and Ray arrived. “Bonds among neighbors were just starting to form and everyone was new,” said Goldie. Having been active volunteers all their adult lives, stepping up to serve seemed the best contribution they could make towards helping people get to know each other so that everyone would feel at home.
“Ray and Goldie are helping to build a strong sense of community among the residents on a daily basis,” said Jenny Lehocky, Life Enrichment Director and Volunteer Coordinator at Dickson Hollow. “They provide tangent support and informal leadership for many of the activities and encourage others to come out of their apartments and get involved,” she said.
Ray easily puts in 15-20 volunteer hours per week. “You could say I’m the ‘chairman’ of Dickson Hollow,” he laughs, describing how almost every day he sets up chairs for classes, presentations and every Sunday for worship. He loves to run the movies in Dickson Hollow’s movie theater 3 days a week. He and Goldie regularly check out and return DVD’s from the local library for showing in the theater. At show time, Ray serves as projectionist, house manager and usher while Goldie serves the popcorn.
Goldie has also clocked in a generous number of hours. She’s given interesting presentations on such topics as the ladies of the White House and the origins of Valentine’s Day. She also volunteers to help with birthday parties and social events. Among her special talents is crafting beautiful 3-dimensional die cut decorations and favors for special occasions.
Both are experienced and savvy in technology, often helping neighbors set up their TVs or printers as well as assist with mobile phones and tablets. Recently, they organized and hosted a community trivia night using a web-based application in the style of the TV show “Jeopardy.” Forty-five residents showed up to play that first night—game on! Goldie and Ray plan to hold additional trivia nights every 3 months, not for the competition, but so that strangers can become friends. “We get more fun out of watching others interact,” said Goldie. “It makes us feel good to help people get to know each other. Our relationships make this a better community.”
Did we mention that Ray runs the audio-visuals for Sunday morning worship, distributes fliers and delivers packages to his neighbors, leads a monthly “Great Decisions” discussion group and helps with Wii bowling? And we can’t overlook how often Goldie is answering the reception phone, entering volunteer hours into the computer and offering to drive residents to outings and appointments.
“I believe I should try to leave the world better than it was when I came to it,” explains Goldie. “So, if we can do something to make things a little better, we’ll do it,” she said.
Ray added, “Wherever we see a need we say, ‘Can we help?’”