Why I Volunteer

In April, community-based organizations across the country celebrated National Volunteer Week as a way to recognize “the power of volunteers to tackle society’s greatest challenges.”

In the spirit of National Volunteer week, we asked volunteers across Lutheran SeniorLife why they volunteered. Here are their responses:

Lutheran SeniorLife Foundation

Foundation Group

Row 1 (L-R)
• Elaine Muirhead – “It gives me great satisfaction helping so many people out.”• Marie Schuster – “I just enjoy helping and being with others.”Row 2 (L-R)
• James Fister – “The satisfaction of helping others and helping the community. It is a way to give back to Passavant (Community).”• Pamela Fister – “Helping out, especially if I can benefit someone else. It’s great to give a lending hand to others.”• Jan McGee – “It’s given me a purpose in retirement. Reaching out, helping others and giving back is a special feeling.”• Ed McGee – “I really enjoy giving back to so many. When you volunteer, you do your part to help out the community.”
Jane Bittcher, Foundation president, is beyond thankful for these wonderful helpers. “The Lutheran SeniorLife Foundation Team loves our volunteers,” said Bittcher. “We are blessed with a wonderful group that helps us prepare for our mailings and other activities. More importantly, they share their friendship, joy and laughter with us.”
Lutheran SeniorLife thanks each of them for selflessly giving their time and energy, as they play an important role supporting the mission of the Foundation.

Passavant Community 

Nancy Fleming, Manages Gift Shop


“When I first came to volunteer I had a very different reason, but I continue to stay because I Love the residents and I love when they share their stories with me. When I shop for the Gift Shop, I think of them. And, I truly love getting them their favorite things. The residents are like family that I get to see almost daily.”
–Nancy Fleming, Manages Gift Shop



Thelma Jacobs, My Day Out volunteer


‘I love the participants and have learned to be thankful and count my blessings while volunteering with them.’
–Thelma Jacobs, My Day Out volunteer




Gently Used Shop Volunteers“Being a Volunteer at the Gently Used Shop, provides an amazing opportunity to interact with residents, provide a service and to be creative… more importantly it is a way to give the gift of time so that others in need may benefit. At the end of each day, I leave this campus with a great sense of accomplishment in serving.”
–Linda Shonka, Gently Used Shop Volunteer

“I believe sharing time and talents is a natural human character.” Why I volunteer at Passavant, “I had a wonderful role model in my own grandmother. She was widowed at a young age with a son, my dad. She took in laundry to pay bills and her widowed sister helped so she could keep her home. I spend a good bit of my childhood at her house helping her with chores, she “farmed” me out to some of her elderly neighbors to weed gardens, sweep porches and sidewalks and even work on housework. If I got a quarter for the day, she knew I would be heading for the candy store for my reward. On Saturday, we made two or three lunch plates and went to visit shut-ins in town. We would visit and share local happenings and gossip while they ate. I loved carrying the basket full of wonderful meals and desserts. She was a wonderful role model. So, I like to volunteer because it is in my personality now.”
–Blanche Lozar, Gently Used Shop Volunteer

Judy Kravec and her therapy dog, Casey



“As soon as I dresses Casey she know she’s ready to work. We both love visiting the residents!”
–Judy Kravec and her therapy dog, Casey, who have been visiting residents for 5 years.




Penny Clayton, Passavnat Library


“I volunteer because I just like to give back to the community. I help out at the library because I like to read and helping others pick and choose books makes me hope they are going to enjoy their books as much as I do.”
–Penny Clayton, Passavnat Library



Jan Eicher, Gift Shop Volunteer


“I enjoy volunteering at Passavant Retirement Community, especially the Gift Shop, where I can greet other residents and help them with their purchases.”
–Jan Eicher, Gift Shop Volunteer




Executive Director of Passavant Community, Laura Roy is beyond thankful for everyone who has given their time to Passavant Community.

“Passavant Community is deeply grateful for our volunteers and we recognize that our community is profoundly blessed because of them,” said Roy. “Regardless of the many ways they serve, they are incredibly selfless and generous with their time and talent.  I am always humbled as I interact with them as I never see an unhappy volunteer—they are always smiling.  That’s because they are filled with joy in service to others. To all of our volunteers, thank you for giving of yourselves and for making us a more beautiful community.”


LIFE Programs 

Deacon Mitch Natali


LIFE Lawrence County recognizes the volunteer efforts of Pastor Joel Benson from Trinity Lutheran Church, Pastor Kimberly Van Driel from First English Lutheran Church and Deacon Mitch Natali (Pictured) from All Saints Parish. Deacon Natali was LIFE Butlers’s first volunteer 14 years ago and conducts monthly communion services. “LIFE Butler County is a special place to me” said Deacon Natali. “They are all like family.”



Kierstin Bennett


Kierstin Bennett, a Junior at Slippery Rock University studys psychology and serves as an EMT in her spare time. Kierstin has been giving her time to LIFE Lawrence County for a few months now and says “I am motivated to volunteer at LIFE Lawrence County because I get to engage with older adults in the community.”




Mickey and Jane Mickey and Jane


LIFE Armstrong County recognizes the efforts of Mickey and Jane who have both given their time for the last 7 years to the Recreation department.


Mickey volunteers every Tuesday, leading an exercise program for participants as well as assisting in that day’s activity.
Jane uses her creativity to come up with the crafts and leads paint class each month, serving as wonderful advocate for the participants.


Visiting Nurses Association 

Janie McFarland and Bernie Carr


Collectively, Janie McFarland and Bernie Carr have volunteered at the Visiting Nurses Associate (VNA) hospice program for more than 15 years. They are an integral part of the volunteer program working countless hours in the office performing clerical duties and taking on special projects.