Every April, we celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Week. We recognize and celebrate the generosity and commitment of the volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to our nonprofit agency and to many others in our community. Their support is critical to our mission to improve quality of life for all Northwest Colorado residents by providing comprehensive health resources and creating an environment that supports community wellness.
Northwest Colorado Health has a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. Hospice volunteers, like Lois Stoffle, provide direct support to families with a loved one with a life expectancy of six months or less.
“I enjoy helping a family care for their loved one by giving them some time to recharge their emotional well-being,” said Lois Stoffle, a volunteer with Northwest Colorado Health’s Hospice program. “I like seeing them smile when they welcome me into their home. I enjoy listening to their loved one and sharing my time with them. I enjoy doing little things to make their lives a little easier.”
These volunteers spend time with Hospice patients and families, whether it is preparing meals for them, running errands, providing comfort over the phone, or simply sitting with a patient so that a family member can take a break. They play an important role alongside the Hospice staff in ensuring patients receive compassionate, end-of-life care.
“It’s very important for me to give back because so many people assisted me when my husband was on his journey to Heaven,” said Stoffle. “The gracious caring of others helped me cope during a difficult time and I think that they, in turn, gave me the ability to understand how to help others in hard situations.”
In addition to Hospice volunteers, Northwest Colorado Health also relies on volunteers in our bereavement program, in supporting our fundraising events such as the Rubber Ducky Race and the Hospice Daffodils, and in volunteering time to share with residents at The Haven Assisted Living Facility. Throughout the pandemic, volunteers have continued to stay involved, shifting from providing direct service to finding ways to connect and support our programs and events safely. This was done in a variety of ways, from calling patients for support and developing virtual friendships, grocery shopping for Hospice patients unable to leave the home, writing letters to patients in care facilities, and much more.
“We are extremely appreciative of our volunteers for their dedication to our patients, families, fundraisers and programs,” said Kyleigh Lawler, Special Events & Volunteer Manager for Northwest Colorado Health. “Even through the uncertainties COVID-19 presented, our volunteers were able to stay dedicated and involved through virtual support. Volunteers are integral to our agency and make a huge impact on those we serve.”
Volunteering can also make a huge impact for the individual. Many studies have shown that giving back through volunteering is good for your own health. Health benefits of volunteering include lower blood pressure, less stress, longer life and greater satisfaction and happiness in life.
This is something that Lois can attest to: “I would encourage others to volunteer because you are not only helping other folks but you are helping yourself also. Helping yourself to become a better, more caring person and even getting a feeling of satisfaction from performing an act of kindness for others.”
Help us celebrate the many contributions of volunteers in our community. Thank those you meet who are sharing their time to help local nonprofits, or find ways to give back yourself. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with Northwest Colorado Health, please call 970-871-7609 or visit northwestcoloradohealth.org/volunteer.