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.”

volunteer LaVerne Sprague sits

LaVerne Sprague has been a volunteer at Royal Park Place (and also at Royal Atrium Inn) for 14 years.

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 2-3 times a month. “The schedule works for me because it’s first thing in the morning, and then I have the rest of the day to run errands.”

She wishes that others realized what a small commitment of time could do to help enhance the lives of the residents at Royal Park Place. “I wish we could get more volunteers,” she says. “There’s so many people who could volunteer and who would get so much out of it.”

When LaVerne briefly considered retiring from her volunteer work, the residents begged her to stay. “They said, ‘Oh, no! Please don’t!’ And I won’t. As long as I’m able and healthy enough, I’ll keep volunteering.

“Someday I may be in a senior community. And I would want someone to call bingo for me.”

For LaVerne, it’s something she looks forward to. “I enjoy working with Paula [St. Amant, Life Enrichment Director]. She’s such a likable person. And the residents always come by after to say thank you, and I like meeting people. I’ve made some wonderful friends over there with the ladies, and now the gentleman who come with their wives.”

She also understands why people might be nervous about volunteering, but she thinks you should give it a try. “I was nervous and wondered if they would like me,” she says, “but they all seem to like me. They like everyone, and they would love to see some new faces.”

And for LaVerne, it’s about doing for others what you’d like done for you. “Someday I may be in a senior community. And I would want someone to call bingo for me.”

We’re thankful to LaVerne Sprague and appreciate her commitment to our community. If you would like to look into volunteering opportunities at Royal Park Place or any of our Providence Life Services communities, click here.