An Amazing Volunteer - Nora!
By: Jerry Rhoads ~
There are times in the life of an organization when something just happens and it changes ones perspective. What one thought was probably a burden becomes a blessings. At KC Help, we are always looking for volunteers and have many ways we can put them to some amazing work.
Can we define the ideal volunteer? Should we have limits on age, size, skills, availability, and on and on these questions flow. How much effort from existing volunteer staff will it take to bring the new person up to a self-sufficient status? How much mentoring is needed? Everyone is different and so there must be some limits. Then along comes an experience that totally blows away all those questions.
Pat, a brother knight, called us and asked if he could bring his granddaughter who needed some volunteer experience as part of her American Heritage Girl Explorer level requirements. After some thought, we said OK, but if she is under 18 a parent or an adult family member will need to be there to monitor and approve the activities she gets involved with. Pat showed up with Nora on a Thursday and proceeded to integrate into the flow of the day. While Pat, her Grandfather, watched, Nora simply took over.
Clients came and orders for equipment parceled out to the volunteers to bring from the storage areas to the clients in the waiting room. While our volunteers watched, Nora took to the task with ease. Delivering walkers, commodes, and yes, even delivering a motorized wheelchair through the warehouse with ease. Our experienced volunteers couldn’t believe her energy and her ability.
One of our volunteers, who had been tasked with getting a walker, realized the one retrieved needed the brakes reset and on closer inspection saw that one brake needed a cable replacement. Nora was all into this repair and asked questions with an intensity that amazed us. She was eager to learn and we thought that maybe she could do some types of the repairs, so why not give her a trial run.
Since there were a number of walkers in line requiring checkout and repair, our walker repair technician let Nora try her hand. Five walkers were repaired that day; Nora did four of them with minimal coaching. She did the last couple by herself. Checking the wheels rolled freely and turned correctly, assuring the walker was mechanically sound, and the seat was secure. Verifying the brakes locked correctly to the manufacture required ¼” to 3/8” indentation in the wheel and finding the correct basket if the client needed one. And, yes she changed out some brake handles and cables. She then took a knee scoter and did a through checkout, identifying that the rear brake needed adjustment and did the repair herself. She only needed someone to pull the cable taunt, but then even we older folks need that extra set of hands.
Nora is only 10 years old. Yes, we said Nora is only 10. Did that that change our perspective, you ask? What do you think? When ask if she thought she had a good first day, she smiled and gave us this fist bump.