Providence Hospice Volunteer Offers Healing Hands Through Massage Therapy

“Sometimes you just need a human touch, and that’s where massage comes in,” Venisha Jones says, sharing a smile that can light up any room, and must certainly brighten the lives of all those she touches in her work. Venisha is a licensed massage therapist who volunteers her time to offer massage therapy to Providence Hospice patients. She’s seen the positive effects that this kind of therapy has on the typical person, but has found it even more rewarding to see the comfort it brings to someone facing a terminal illness Six years ago, Venisha left a job in retail to pursue her career in massage therapy. “School, financial aid—everything was way too easy,” she says. “I know I was led here.” Two years ago, Venisha had volunteered with Providence Hospice in a different capacity, helping with office work. But a little over a year ago, one of Venisha’s clients challenged her to volunteer her time again. “I immediately thought of using massage therapy for Providence,” she says. “This is how I earn my living, but why not share it with people who need comfort and relaxation the most?” The results of her efforts have been tremendous. “For many of […]

St. Liborius member brings communion to Village Woods

St. Liborius Eucharistic Minister Jeanette Dargett has been bringing communion to the residents of Village Woods for five years, all because someone asked her to. “Mrs. Kyle led the way,” Jeanette says of the Eucharistic Minister at St. Liborius who invited her to go with to Village Woods. “I watched her and I thought, ‘This is beautiful. I can do this.’” Jeanette was no stranger to volunteer work. She had already worked with adolescents and young children at her church. And she was also not new to working with older adults, either. When Jeanette’s mother died suddenly, Jeanette soon became her father’s primary caregiver. “I’m convinced God had a plan for my life,” Jeanette says. “I quit my job so I could be my dad’s full-time caregiver. It really changed me.” In her younger days, Jeanette and her father did not always see eye-to-eye. “But as I cared for him, I grew to appreciate him and what he stood for,” she says. “I saw him in a new light. That time with him was really a gift.” Jeanette thinks the time she spends getting to know the people of Village Woods is also a gift. “There’s inspiration, so much inspiration,” […]

Emerald Meadows Book Club highlight of volunteer’s week

Long before the Emerald Meadows Book Club, Michelle Oesch’s grandson had a kidney transplant in Chicago, and she and her family stayed at the Ronald McDonald House. She found out that it was staffed largely by volunteers, and that the company had to turn volunteers away. “That always stuck with me,” she said. “The importance of volunteering, and the dedication people have to something that matters to them.” Michelle’s volunteering is also a picture of dedication. She came to Emerald Meadows 14 years ago to ask about a receptionist job. The job had already been filled. “The administrator asked if I was interested in volunteering, and I said I’d love to.” At that point, Michelle already had a long history with senior communities. Her mom had worked in a skilled nursing community for 20 years, and Michelle’s first job was also in senior living. She was thrilled when the opportunity became available to volunteer for the Emerald Meadows Book Club. “Working with seniors and reading books? That’s my favorite combination!” she says. “It’s just what I need.”–Emerald Meadows Book Club volunteer Michelle Oesch In Book Club, residents choose a book, usually inspirational fiction with a touch of humor. Michelle will […]

John Klee celebrates 100 years of life and history

St. John, Ind.–John Klee, Hammond, Ind. native, former Highland, Ind., resident, and current ParkPlace Health & Wellness Center of St. John resident, turned 100 years old last month. He enjoyed multiple celebrations with neighbors, friends, and family at his residence at the senior skilled nursing community that he calls home. David Sadewasser and Carol Sadewasser, John’s beloved niece and nephew, wrote most of the following account about John’s life as it coincided with world events. Birth and Early Life in the Roaring 20s John Klee, Jr., was born to parents John and Sophia Klee (and older sister Anna) around 9 p.m. on March 18, 1919, at his parents’ home in Hammond, Ind. When Sophia began to go into labor, John, Sr., rode his motorcycle to the hospital to secure the services of a midwife, but by the time the midwife arrived, so had John, Jr. John was raised in a house on a dirt road surrounded by woods and shallow swamps, near a streetcar line that connected rural Hessville to downtown Hammond on present day 165th Street, while wild berries and asparagus were harvested in the woods a short walk from the house. Water was obtained from a pump well outside the […]

Zeeland resident Sprague gives back to community

After a teaching career that spanned almost 30 years, LaVerne Sprague tried her hand at a part-time job. “I was bored driving to my part-time job,” LaVerne says, “but I knew I wanted to do something.” Her neighbor volunteered at a local hospital, which made LaVerne think that maybe volunteering would be the right fit for her. She lived close to Royal Park Place and called to see if they needed any help. “Jeff [Zylstra, Community Manager] said he had two openings. One was for Bingo. And that’s what I’ve been doing for 14 years.” LaVerne’s heart is truly in Michigan and the surrounding community. After spending her youth in Michigan, the family moved to Texas due to her father’s illness. “I always wanted to come back to Michigan, and now that I’m here, I don’t ever want to leave.” In addition to her time at Royal Park Place, LaVerne’s generous spirit shines brightly in additional volunteering at Zeeland Hospital, and she also crochets afghans to give away. She hopes her love for Michigan shows through in her volunteerism. “I feel like I’m giving back to the community,” she says. LaVerne’s volunteer commitment at Royal Park Place is calling bingo […]