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Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy

Welcome back to the blog!


This week on the blog, our terrific LAI Volunteer Coordinator, Paula, is spotlighting Nancy, a long-time Letters Against Isolation volunteer!

Nancy has volunteered with Letter Against Isolation (LAI) since 2021. Not only does she write cards herself, but she also has a group of friends who gathered virtually during the pandemic and now meet in person to write cards every few weeks.

 

I spoke with her about how she got involved with LAI and to learn more about her writing group.

I saw Shreya and Saffron on a news broadcast in 2021 and was so impressed by their LAI mission that I became a volunteer. My aunt lived in a nursing facility for many years until her death; I wrote her notes, cards, and silly jokes weekly for years! After she was gone, my cousins found shoeboxes of all my letters! That was a true eye-opener for how much caring thoughts mean to seniors! During the pandemic, I hated wearing a mask because I am a “smiler,” and I love it now that I can smile at strangers. Because of this, I often start a letter with this quote from Mother Teresa: “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

There’s lots more to offer someone with a “written smile."

I made my own cards until about a year and a half ago when I told my retired women neighbors about LAI and the four of us started making cards together. I have LOTS of scrapbook paper, pens, and embellishments, so I cut cards, and they decorate and write messages! Now we have eight writers and 2 others who make cards but cannot meet on our first Thursdays each month. I do the mailings and choose facilities where these women have moved from Colorado, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.

Of course, I picked my home state of North Carolina, but also South Carolina, where I am now and where I lived for 36 years! Later this spring, a fellow writer and I plan to visit Sapphire Ridge in Brevard, near us, to introduce ourselves to the Activities Coordinator there.

I love the fellowship among us; our challenge is not to talk while writing so we don’t put a wrong or misspelled word! We don’t chat until afterward! Many of the women in our group have had parents in nursing or assisted living facilities, so like me, they support LAI’s commitment to loving care. 

I spoke with Nancy about how a volunteer like me might start my own writing group.

First, I talk up LAI! I have two artists in my group who draw, so seek artsy people! We have new neighbors all the time in my townhomes community so it’s a great way for them to meet new people with a purpose, and many have or have had parents or friends in facilities that LAI sends to! Many of us are retired, so we have time. Some, like me, are scrapbook women, so we have plenty of paper, embellishments, and supplies to put to better use! One can find lovely pictures in magazines (our library has free ones), and you can cut them out, paste card stock on the back, and write your message. We have found birds, sunsets, and wild animals. I just did one of an elk where I looked up information on those antlers and put some of those facts in my message! Travel magazines are good, as are old National Geographics!

 

Nancy asked the women in her group a few questions.

 

Why do you volunteer to do cards?

“A small involvement of my time creates some small difference for someone.”

“Spreads Joy!”

“My dad loved receiving any mail when he was in a nursing home.”

“Paying it forward with positivity to those who are isolated.”


Why did you join this group?

“We actually also brighten one another’s day.”

“I already write weekly to my sister in a nursing facility, and getting my notes means so much to her, so why not to others?”

“My mother, once a scrapbooker, like Nancy, left paper, stickers, envelopes, etc. so by using these, I am sharing her love.”

“As a new neighbor, it was a fitting way for my creative side to meet more women.”

 

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story with the LAI community, and to Paula for conducting this terrific interview!


Do you want to share your story with the LAI community? If so, click here.

 

If you are interested in hearing more volunteer spotlights, click here.


If you'd like to hear about how your letters are being received by the seniors, click here.


If you are in need of some inspiration for your letters and cards, click here.

 

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How lucky we are to have such a wonderful and dedicated volunteer who has inspired others - THANK YOU, NANCY!!

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