Volunteers read to residents at the Good Samaritan Care Center and at the Koronis Manor, they sort eye glasses for recycling at the Paynesville Area Senior Center, make quilts, help with the Special Olympics, write newsletters, do yard work for those who arenít able to rake or mow their lawns, walk ditches along the highways, do hair care at the Koronis Manor and Good Samaritan Care Center, work with FareShare, read to school students, help correct papers at school, monitor lunchroom and playground activities, stock books on shelves at the public and school library, to name a few.
In this time of limited government resources, volunteer involvement in education, health care, human services and environmental protection is more critical than ever. As the federal and state governments shift more responsibilities to the local level, Minnesotans are preparing to do even more. Volunteers offer something that is invaluable, themselves, Governor Carlson stressed.
Locally, there are many who volunteer their time. There are more than 61 area residents who volunteer their services through the Paynesville Area Senior Center who put in a total of 3,363 hours last year; 150 volunteers plus church groups at the Koronis Manor put in about 850 hours per year and at the Good Samaritan Care Center there are about 100 volunteers serving the residents between and 250 hours a month.Among the local volunteers are Cheryl Scanlon, Rose Schaefer, Alveda Myhre, Mary Krupke, and Kathrine Halverson.
A former foster parent, Cheryl Scanlon, rural Paynesville, volunteers her time at the Paynesville Area Elementary School. ďWhen we had foster children, they brought home slips asking for volunteers, and I thought why not,Ē Cheryl said.
Cheryl described herself as a stay-at-home mom. ďIt seems Iím always free when the school calls for help because someone couldnít make it in on their time slot,Ē she said. Cheryl divides her time between the playground and lunchroom. It is not an uncommon sight to see kids running up to Cheryl to give her a big hug. ďI tell the kids they are mine. When they tell me they love me, I reply, I love you, too. They are often surprised to hear that back,Ē she said.
On the playground, Cheryl can be seen going down the slide with the kids, playing ball with them or making snow forts this winter. ďI try to make the kids feel they are worthwhile. My quest in life is to be a mother to all kids.Ē
Cheryl says she loves the atmosphere at school and looks forward to her days at school. On the average she works twice a week for two hours per day. When a volunteer cancels out, Cheryl is the one they call to substitute.
Rose Schaefer, Paynesville, spends her time volunteering at the Good Samaritan Care Center and at the Paynesville Area Senior Center. If she isnít quilting at one place, she is setting and combing out hair at the other.
Shortly after she and her husband moved to Paynesville, Rose started volunteering her time at the Good Samaritan Care Center on Thursdays doing hair care...that was about 10 years ago. ďI saw a notice in the Paynesville Press where they were looking for volunteers so I called and volunteered my time,Ē she said. ďThe women treat you so nice,Ē Rose said of the ladies she does hair care for. ďThey appreciate having someone take the time to fuss with their hair.Ē
Alveda Myhre of Hawick received the honor of Volunteer of the Year at the Good Samaritan Care Center in Paynesville. She certainly deserves it, having offered more than 500 hours of her time.
Myhre became acquainted with the facility when her sister became a resident. It wasn't long before she asked if there was anything she might help with. She spends four to six hours every Thursday passing out fresh water to the residents, assisting with the dinner plates, shopping for the residents, and helping with bingo when needed. Perhaps the most important thing Myhre does is spreading her pleasant smile and visiting with the residents. "I just love volunteering," Myhre said. "The residents do more for me than I do for them. The appreciation for just a glass of fresh water certainly warms one's heart. I feel that helping and doing for others brings more joy than anything else."
Myhre came from a family of 10 children. At the age of 18, she married Harold Mattson. They raised eight children while farming near Spicer. After her husband passed away she married David Myhre in 1981. Together they have done some traveling, living in Arizona during the winter for the past 10 years.
Each fall, the Good Samaritan Care Center has had to part with her while she and her husband head for Arizona, although this last winter may be their last, since they sold their Arizona home.
Myhre gets great enjoyment from her family. Between her and her husband, they have 23 grandchildren and 12 great- grandchildren.
Mary Krupke of Paynesville, recipient of the Good Samaritan Award of the Year, has been a familiar face around the Good Samaritan Care Center for many years.
She began volunteering when her mother became a resident. Since then she has spent many hours helping with resident's birthday parties. Through the years, Krupke has led hymn sings with the residents as well as reading to them. Myhre and Dorothy Holifer have often helped her with their piano playing.
Krupke was born in Ventura, Iowa, one of five siblings. When she was very young, her parents moved to a farm north of Regal, Minn. There she met her husband Walter. They raised three children, farming until 1982 when he passed away suddenly.
In 1984 Krupke moved to Paynesville. At the age of 85 she still pursues her volunteer work at the Good Samaritan Care Center.
Krupke enjoys making quilts, as well as singing, but her greatest joy comes from her three children, 11 grandchildren, and 23 great grand-children which shows in her large picture gallery of them.
Volunteering is nothing new to Katherine Halverson of Paynesville. Through the Foster Grandparents Program, sponsored by Catholic Charities, she's given her time and attention since 1986 to many families impoverished not only financially, but also emotionally.
In 1985 Halverson retired from Animal Fair in Eden Valley. One Sunday morning as she read through her church bulletin, she saw an advertisement for the Foster Grandparents Program. Even though she and her husband Alvin, who passed away several years ago, had raised six children of their own, as well as giving her attention to their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her love for youngsters helped her make the decision to be a grandma to those she'd never even met yet.
At 74 years of age, she's offered her time to 12 foster families; 28 grandchildren and two great- grandchildren. "All I do is be a grandma to the kids," she said. She helps them with homework, attends their school functions or church programs. She's attended their marriages; been in the delivery room during births; taken them to doctor appointments, and in some cases, even court dates. She also helps their mothers learn cooking, sewing, or other housekeeping skills. "The only thing a foster grandparent is not, is a babysitter," she said.
Right now she works around 20 hours a week with four families in Paynesville, Richmond, and Farming. Many homes are often broken up, often struggling with problems stemming from alcohol, drug, physical, or emotional abuse. "Every home I go into is different," Halverson said. "One home may be so spic and span I'll take off my shoes, but at another, I'll have to wear old clothes."
She's received the three-year and five-year awards from Catholic Charities, and will receive her 10-year award in October, but she notes that a few people have been foster grandparents for 20 to 25 years. A person has to be 60 to be a foster grandparent. "We'd really like to see more people volunteer," Halverson said. "Especially men."
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