Every Wednesday afternoon, 84-year-old Carmel Reeg of Irondequoit serves up a smile and some cheer to the residents of St. Ann’s Community.
Carmel volunteers at Bar Day, a weekly social event with a pianist, familiar songs from a bygone era, and plenty of snacks and drinks. She has a special way of caring for the residents who attend.
“When the music’s playing, I’ll hold their hand and swing their arms to get them involved and moving,” Carmel said. “If I see someone who’s sad, I’ll take the time to see if I can get the person to smile. I love it.”
Bored with staying home and watching TV, Carmel decided to become a volunteer three years ago. She found St. Ann’s Community in the phone book: “It’s five minutes away from my home, so I thought it would be ideal.
“When I walk in this building, it makes me feel so good,” Carmel said, holding back her tears. “I didn’t think I was that sentimental.”
Now 16-year-old Ada Reeg likes to accompany her grandmother to St. Ann’s Community. “There’s always something new going on, and when I come home there’s always a story to tell,” she said. “There are so many interesting characters, and I like being able to make them all smile and make them happy. It’s fun.”
“My chest just bursts when she comes with me,” Carmel said. “She makes me so proud!”
Although Carmel admits that she is probably older than a lot of the residents, she does not let her age slow her down: “People try to get me to sit down, but I’m not here to sit down. I have to keep moving!
“If I’m not doing anything with my grandkids,” she added, “I’m happy to come in almost every day.”
The hours of service given to St. Ann’s Community by volunteers translates to over $2,000,000 annually.
For information on volunteering at St. Ann’s Community, contact Barbara Joyce at (585) 697-6523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.