By Julianne LaSmith
The saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is a proverb that means the entire community must provide for and interact positively with its children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment, especially if we wish for them to be productive and responsible adults in our community when they grow up.
For Elizabeth Lindbom, this meant teaching kids about Volunteerism. Elizabeth is the Volunteer Service Coordinator at Northern Montana Health Care (NMHC) in Havre, Montana. She has around thirty adults in her Volunteer organization.
In the summer she runs a “Volunteen” program which has 12-14-year-olds try out volunteering for a healthcare organization, most for the first time.
“While we’ve had good numbers the last two summers, we started brainstorming ways to grow these numbers, essentially creating a pipeline of students into our organization,” stated Ms. Lindbom. “Quite a few of these kids join us as Summer Interns when they turn 14, and we have a great track record of retaining them as volunteers for several years.”
So the idea of teaching a class on “Volunteerism” was brought up. Classes are held on Fridays for the fall semester, and meet at the Northern Montana Care Center (NMCC), the long-term care facility at NMHC. The residents of the facility benefit from the efforts and attention of the students.
“We currently have nine kids enrolled,” Ms. Lindbom added. “We started out focusing on the kids’ talents and how they could use them to enrich the lives of our residents. Our days start out with a lesson on volunteerism. We follow that up with an activity that they can do with the residents.”
“General etiquette and manners involving the elderly are of course paramount to the success of this endeavor. The residents at NMCC enjoy the company of the students making it a win- win situation,” concluded Ms. Lindbom.
For more information on this course, please contact Ms. Lindbom at 406-262-1330.