Get to Know: Eileen Kelly

Eileen Kelly has been a dedicated volunteer with Southern Rhode Island Volunteers since 2016.  She volunteers in the SRIV office helping out with clerical work twice a week.  Chances are if you call the office on a Monday or Wednesday, Eileen is the person you are talking to!

Eileen helps with scheduling client medical appointments, finding volunteer drivers for clients, answering the phones, data entry and other office tasks.  Eileen helps keep the SRIV office running smoothly!

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Eileen volunteers because she likes the interaction with the clients and volunteers and at the end of the day she feels as though she has helped someone else have a better day.

Previously, Eileen was an administrative assistant for forty years and after retiring, she felt like she needed something to do outside of her home and family. 

If you are thinking about retiring, Eileen says she would advise everyone to volunteer. 

She says "You are sure to find something that would be a good fit for your schedule because there are several agencies in our community with urgent needs to be fulfilled.  You can volunteer as many or as few hours as you feel comfortable doing."

Volunteering has helped Eileen realize that there is always someone out there that needs a helping hand. Working in the SRIV office, you interact and communicate with several different types of clients and individuals in need.  Eileen says:

"Until I started volunteering for SRIV, I did not realize the urgent need for services for the elderly in our area.  There are many people in our area that need help in order to continue to function as independent people."

SRIV's Retired Senior Volunteer Program is the perfect opportunity if you are looking to add meaning to your life and a way to give back to the community.  Just like Eileen, it can quickly open your eyes to the needs of our community and your skills and knowledge will be of great use. If you are interested in signing up as a volunteer, you can get started HERE.

Contact the SRIV office with any questions (401) 552-7661 or email ndelaney@southernrivol.org.

Paying it Forward: Kerry Strickland

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It Takes a Village

Kerry’s inspiration for volunteering began when she managed a local nonprofit organization.  The organization used SRIV to find volunteers for hands-on support.  She viewed those volunteers as role models and set volunteering as one of her retirement goals.

After retiring, she feared a decline in abilities so she ultimately chose to begin volunteering with Southern Rhode Island Volunteers.

Kerry has been a volunteer with SRIV since 2014 and has put several hours into driving local seniors to their medical appointments.  This is currently a critical need in our community and Kerry recognizes this, being one of the reasons she dedicates her time to local seniors.

As a senior herself, Kerry understands the realities that many people face as they age.

“Most of the people I drive have no other way to get to their necessary care.   Some are isolated, especially in the Western areas of South County.  Some are very lonely and longing for social contact”. 

Kerry referenced the old saying “It takes a village”, because it’s true.  SRIV wouldn't be able to provide all of our services without the help from the community and our dedicated volunteers.  Kerry says “It feels really good to be a part of the village”.

Paying it Forward

Kerry views this volunteer position as “paying it forward” because “we will all probably need this service eventually”. 

Kerry chooses to volunteer because “it feels good to be helping others, feeling useful, and you meet a lot of very nice people along the way”.

She often finds inspiration in the clients that she drives.  Kerry describes them as being "powers of example" when they are still vital in their 80's & 90's.  Last year she drove a 91 year old woman who was nearing the end of the estimated time she had due to battling a terminal cancer diagnosis.  She told Kerry her wish was to make it to her 92nd birthday, and as she was getting out of the car Kerry wished her luck.  Kerry says the woman "looked up at the sunshine, gave a beautiful smile and said, "Today is a beautiful day!". 

 If you are thinking about volunteering, Kerry encourages you to try it!  She gave herself six months to think about which area she wanted to help in and chose to drive seniors because “when I have to stop driving, it will be a freedom that I miss dearly." 

Let Southern Rhode Island Volunteers Find You the Perfect Volunteer Opportunity to Fit Your Schedule!