Even when it’s about just enjoying a specific activity here at the Abbey CC, I can see that every man gives a great attention to the others and doesn’t lose sight of the fact that here we’re doing something inherently social. Here volunteering is spread and comes natural through participation. I would say that most men at the Abbey CC are in fact volunteering while they’re offering their support to others, giving their opinions, helping to plan the activities and events, even writing bids to achieve funds or organising successful shows. We are all very thankful for that.
I have little story about volunteering that I would like to tell.
In the latest two months I’ve been visiting Mark almost every week. He lives just round the corner and he’s very lonely since many years. He’s almost 95 and quite fit for his age, but very depressed. He was referred to me to see if he would like to join our CHAPS social activities, but for now he is not very much interested in being in groups. As anyone he has very interesting stories to tell. They are especially about his past. I tell him my own stories, that are mainly about the present: my family, my work, the little things that I do. It took some time, but now he alway asks about my children and my wife. I can see that when we’re together he’s more and more able to move his attention from thinking of death to thinking of the little things of everyday life. Together we sorted some small but important things, like repairing a door or going to the GP (after 3 years!). Last Monday we did something that
I believe will bring a great improvement to his life: a hearing assessment. Mark’s earring is really bad, but he didn’t know it! That makes it difficult for him to make friends, and the volume of his television is a matter of quarrel with his neighbour! Next week he will have hearing aids. After his appointment we went out for lunch together. On they way back he said: “You know, Gianluca, I think that I should go out more”. That was the first time he talked about the future in a positive way with me. I can’t tell how happy I was.
I haven’t done much for Mark, but without false modesty I think that the little I’ve done is having good effects on his life …and on my life as well: I’m happier!
My story is not different from the story of many volunteers. I’m telling it just to let you know that if you want to try to get more involved in volunteering for other men in the neighbourhood, here at the Abbey Community Centre we can offer all the support you need.