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$3 million and counting

How volunteer hours add up at Greenspring

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May 5th, 2017
Greenspring volunteers who were awarded gold Presidential Volunteer Service Awards for providing 500 or more hours of volunteer time in 2016.

Greenspring proudly awarded 66 gold Presidential Volunteer Service Awards to community members providing 500 or more hours of volunteer time in 2016.

According to the Independent Sector, a national organization that brings together a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations to advance the common good, the estimated value of volunteers’ time is $23.56 per hour. 

Last year, community members at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., volunteered a total of 145,000 hours, an equivalent of $3,416,200 worth of service time. 

“When I look at the monetary value of one year’s worth of volunteer hours, I can’t help but be amazed and proud of our volunteers,” says Greenspring Volunteer Coordinator Katherine Knoble. “Their service not only represents a high level of engagement, it also adds significantly to the fabric of the Greenspring community.”

These dedicated volunteers donate their time both at Greenspring and within the greater community. 

“I believe the many resident volunteers at Greenspring help build relationships and make Greenspring such a vital community,” says community member Leonard Kalkwarf, who volunteered more than 500 hours last year by engaging in a variety of charitable work. He lead Bible study classes, organized Greenspring’s horseshoe tournament, administered the Eucharist, and volunteered at Channel 6.

Charity begins at home

The abundance of clubs and activities at Greenspring provides numerous opportunities for volunteerism. Each of the more than 200 clubs and activities are completely resident-run and exist solely thanks to the work of dedicated volunteers.

Greenspring volunteers play an integral part in the running of the in-house cable television station, Channel 6, by serving as camera operators, lighting technicians, and program hosts.

“Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Channel 6,” says Station Manager and Producer Diane Gustis Havinga. “Almost no one arrives with any experience in television technology, yet everyone is eager to learn something new and help our station run in a variety of ways.”

“Volunteering my time at the studio gives me the chance to work with neighbors and professional staff whom I would probably not know otherwise,” says community member Carolyn Posey. “Their competence and dedication inspire me.”

Greenspring volunteers also help the community through English as a Second Language (ESL), a program designed to help foreign-born staff members learn the English language. More than 50 Greenspring community members are part of the effort to better the lives of the people around them.

“We don’t do what we do for awards and recognition,” says community member Hazel Poole. “There is immeasurable joy in helping people make changes that better their lives and the lives of their children.” 

Other community volunteer opportunities include providing assistance at Greenspring’s continuing care neighborhood, working at the Treasure Chest thrift store, serving on the Resident Council, and leading clubs, activities, and lectures.

Extending their reach

Greenspring volunteers also share their time within the greater community. For many, this work is in addition to the time they spend volunteering at home.

Community member Judy Molssed dedicates her time volunteering at Crestwood Elementary school as a part of GrandInvolve, a new Fairfax County initiative to recruit older adult volunteers to work in local schools with high poverty rates and minority students. 

She also works with Greenspring’s Catholic Council to supply these students with much-needed children’s books. To date, they have raised money for, purchased, and donated more than 2,000 books.

“We feel an obligation to give back to the community,” says Judy. “All of us are so uplifted by the children. They are a gift to us as much as the books are a gift to them. I believe that as long as there is a need, there will be people here at Greenspring ready to help.”

Community members also reach out to the local community by constructing care packages for the Food for Others program, knitting blankets and hats for infants in area hospitals and children in need, and volunteering at local hospitals.

Presidential approval

This past winter, Greenspring hosted an award ceremony to honor the 245 community members who received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Cumulatively, these volunteers served more than 145,000 hours in 2016. 

Since 2005, Greenspring has presented President’s Volunteer Service Awards to residents and staff members who volunteer both at Greenspring and with Greenspring-related service activities in the greater community. 

Greenspring also presented three President’s Lifetime Achievement Awards to seven residents who each served more than 4,000 hours since moving to Greenspring. Since 2007, 40 residents have received lifetime awards. This year, Mary Sue Garner, Alyce Chessnoe, and Marilynn Brahm received the award.

During the event, Patrice Winter, professor at George Mason University’s Department of Global and Community Health, addressed the volunteers on positive aging and volunteerism.

“We are proud to participate in the special national recognition,” says Knoble. “In addition to the many award recipients, Greenspring is home to many more volunteers who chose to remain anonymous. An important part of healthy aging is staying engaged with one’s passion, and volunteering provides this avenue. Those who volunteer tend to live longer and healthier lives. By supporting healthy aging, Greenspring helps residents live full, active lives.”

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