City volunteer program supports a healthy community
April 11, 2012
Some time ago two members of the City of Carlsbad’s Senior Volunteer Patrol were making their daily phone calls to city residents who had signed up for the city’s “You Are Not Alone” program, which checks in on elderly residents who have placed their name on a list for a morning phone call.
Usually the calls last a minute or two, as volunteers chat with residents to make sure they are okay.
But on this particular morning, when the senior volunteers called their client, no one answered. The volunteers followed procedure and visited the home, where they saw the woman lying on the floor. They called paramedics, who arrived within minutes to administer lifesaving aid.
You Are Not Alone is one of many volunteer programs
the City of Carlsbad provides to support strong community connections.
In preparation for National Volunteer Week starting April 16, the City Council recognized the important role of volunteers with a proclamation at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Volunteer accountants who recently helped residents prepare their taxes at the Carlsbad Senior Center were featured as part of the presentation.
In 2011, 2,604 volunteers contributed 109,000 hours of service to the city, valued at $2.1 million.
“Volunteers contribute so much to the city,” said Sue Irey, the city’s volunteer coordinator. “It goes far beyond the monetary value of the hours spent. City volunteers help strengthen the city’s connection to the community.”
The Senior Volunteer Patrol is one segment of a larger volunteer force assisting the Carlsbad Police Department. A total of 154 volunteers helped the department last year, donating 26,662 hours of service. Their efforts ranged from helping Carlsbad police officers at traffic accidents to assisting at the department receptionist counter.
“Over the course of the five years I’ve been involved with YANA (You Are Not Alone), we’ve handled five situations where we called and people were down,” recalled Glenn Peterson, a senior volunteer who oversees You Are Not Alone for the City of Carlsbad.
“They had had a heart attack or stroke, a broken collarbone, an overdose of medications, and if they hadn’t been in the program, who knows what would have happened?” Peterson said.
Peterson signed up for the Carlsbad Volunteer Program in 2005. When the You Are Not Alone coordinator stepped down about five years ago, Peterson was asked to take over and he took up the challenge. Like most of the city’s volunteers, he applies skills and experience he developed in the workforce — in his case, his business management experience — to his volunteer work.
Volunteers also play an important role in helping to maintain the city’s 45-plus miles of trails, providing homework help at city libraries and assisting with special events, like the city’s signature Triathlon every summer.
“The city’s volunteer program is a great partnership with the community,” says Irey. “We are so lucky to have so many talented local residents who are interested in giving back in this way.”
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