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VOLUNTEER

One of the most precious and valuable gifts we can give is time. The COA has volunteer opportunities to suit most needs and time constraints whether they be once a year or once a day! No matter your interests, location or availability, come talk to us… we know that YOU can make all the difference!

Click on the button below to download an application that you can fill out and email to Amy Leach, the COA Volunteer Coordinator, at aleach@stjohnscoa.com.  Or, you can print it and either fax to 904-209-3654 or come by 180 Marine Street. Existing volunteers can now also download their time log below to fill out and email to aleach@stjohnscoa.com.

Download New Volunteer Application

Download Volunteer Time Log

Volunteer Spotlight! 

Mercedes Vidal- Coastal Community Center, Development, Administration, Events, Sunshine Center, Spanish Teacher

For how long and why do you volunteer at COA?

I have volunteered for two years now! I love people and love to help others. At COA I meet lots of different people, many who need a little help. I work in several different departments and help in a variety of ways which keeps me learning new things. I love COA because here we have fun and we understand that it is never too late to learn. We have fun while we learn!

What did you do before you came to COA?

I was born in El Salvador and came to the U.S. in 1966. I have lived in CA, NY, NJ, KS, and now FL. I worked for Texas Instruments as a Quality Control Inspector then as a Human Resources Assistant and finally a Certified Trainer.

What do you like to do outside of COA?

I love to sew, read history, self-help, and spiritual books, and listen to soft music. I have one son and one daughter and five grandsons and one granddaughter. I just adore my grandchildren!

Volunteer Spotlight!
We so appreciate our COA volunteers!
Name: Amber Leffingwell 
Integrative Memory Enhancement Program (IMEP) at Anastasia Baptist Church
How long and why have you volunteered at COA? 
I started volunteering in the summer of 2015. I knew how much COA does for the elderly and our community and I wanted to give back.
What brought you to St Augustine? 
I love the people here- the sense of community is wonderful! I worked in accounting near Philadelphia, PA until 1995. Then, I vacationed to St Augustine and fell in love!
What do you like to do outside of COA? I enjoy the beach, caring for my plants, and my pet parakeets, Scooby and Cricket. I adore my birds so much I handmake their toys!
What is IMEP to you? 
I enjoy IMEP so much that I volunteer extra days, as needed. We interact like a big family. The music we do makes it nice to talk about memories when we grew up. Laughter is a big part of it. IMEP is such a positive thing- and we learn something new every time we come. The environment is peaceful and safe. It impresses me that even transportation can be provided!
Name: Patrick Fagan Integrative Memory
Enhancement Program at Anastasia Baptist Church & Meals on Wheels
How long and why have you volunteered at COA?
I have been a volunteer for 5 years. COA had a diverse set of needs that I felt like they could use me.
What did you do before you became a volunteer? 
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. I worked as an accountant for numerous companies. I moved to St Augustine in 2006 and found a job with Orion Energy- it was the best job I ever had!
What do you enjoy doing, besides volunteering?
I love to travel! I just returned from a river cruise on the Danube River, which included side trips to: Iceland, Barcelona, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and Copenhagen. I enjoy building chalupas (little boats) and sailing around St. Augustine with the Maritime Heritage Foundation.
What is IMEP to you?
It is an extremely worthwhile program. I get as much out of it as the clients. IMEP includes not only memory classes, but exercise, socialization, and a helpful community. There is a great bunch of volunteers now who are ideally suited for IMEP. It is a privilege to work with Bruce (Bruno)!

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT-Tom Kelly

Tom Kelly volunteers with the COA Care Connection doing minor home repairs & admin/computer data entry.

How long and why have you volunteered with the COA? I volunteered since 2013. I chose the COA because I have experience with handicap access compliance and thought I could assist with COA goals and objectives. It is so important for seniors to have a great quality of life by remaining independent for as long as possible.

What kind of experience have you had? I was in the building materials industry for over 30 years. My career was in contract negotiations, labor relations, and human resources. Also, I had the responsibility of implementing human relations and computer programs across the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. I am very familiar with computer programs, as well as minor home repairs and tools needed to get specific jobs done.

What do you do at the COA? I help Michael Large, Care Connection Coordinator, with client data base computer process and programs, so he has time to meet the ever-growing number of requests for services. I love working with Michael and the other COA volunteers!

What are your interests outside of the COA? I love to get together with my family. I am so thankful that most of them live near me in St. Johns County! I have a wonderful wife, two beautiful daughters, one awesome stepson and three sweet grandchildren. I also enjoy bicycling at least 10 miles per day, reading mystery novels, and garage sales.

Parting words? If you are 60 or older and need minor home repair or other assistance, give Care Connection’s Michael Large a call at 904-209-3648. We would love to help however we can!

VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT ARCHIVES

 

KATHY GRIGGS Mobile Manicurist at THE PLAYERS Community Senior Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When and why did you begin volunteering here? I began volunteering in 2015, so about two years ago. I enjoy lifting other’s spirits, especially seniors. I feel like I give more than a manicure or a pedicure, I give a friendly, interactive experience that makes their day better, even if just a little bit.

How did you learn to do manicures and pedicures? I went to school for radiology, nursing, and cosmetology. Then, I combined my training and experience to obtain a Master Pedicurist Certification. This helps me care for chronic feet problems, which, unfortunately, is common in seniors.

What are your interests outside of COA? I provide manicures to men and women in Palm Coast to Jacksonville. Outside of work and the COA, I enjoy my family; I have two boys and two girls. Three of my four kids still live here in Florida! The other lives in California. I am a “people person.” I love meeting new people and making friends. That is why I love the COA. I get to meet so many new, wonderful people!

What was your most memorable experience? Once, I gave a manicure to a 103-year-old woman. She thanked me with her smile- it was so bright it lit up the room! I will never forget her, she reminds me why I do what I do.

Any advice? I know there are a lot of gardeners here in St. Augustine, so here is one for you: Scrape your nails over Ivory soap before gardening; soap under your nails helps remove soil quickly and easily.

 

Marcia Rector

COA Development – Administrative Assistant Volunteer

You have been volunteering at COA since 2005. Tell us why you began volunteering here: I felt the need to do something meaningful after my husband died

Have you always lived in St Augustine? No, I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Providence, RI. We moved to NE Florida from RI in 1973 for my husband’s work. Over the past 45 years, I have seen the Shores neighborhood grow from small to HUGE! I began working with Kay Green at COA. When Becky Yanni began, we began using a new software program called Donor Snap, which I loved – absolutely loved it!

What are your interests outside of COA? Spending time with my family- I have 2 sons and 1 stepson, 3 (blood) grandkids and 1 adopted grandchild, 5 great grandchildren. My husband and I were a demonstration couple for square and round dancing, that was so much fun! I love to crochet and embroider and do lots of fiction reading. For at least 10 years, I’ve been secretary to the Board of Directors for Temple Bet Yam, which means “Temple by the Sea.” I had two beloved cats named Tabitha and Samantha both of which lived to be over 20 old.

What was your most memorable experience? COA gave me a purpose in life – to be able to help people who needed it more than I do. I made so many friends here at COA.

Parting words? I have enjoyed every minute of volunteering at COA. It is a VERY special place and I will miss everyone very much.

Meet Joyce Vikes, volunteer at River House (Line Dance instructor and Administrative Assistant) and Coastal Community Center (Advisory Board President and Event Coordinator)

Joyce began volunteering with COA in 2009. When we asked her why, Joyce said “COA selected me!” She was teaching line dancing at River House when someone gave her name to COA staff. She began by holding night classes in the exercise room.

Joyce is originally from Quarryville, PA where she worked as credit manager for both Spiegel and Sears in addition to helping on the family dairy farm. Joyce and her husband raised four children (2 girls, 2 boys) and in 1972 they relocated to St. Johns County for work. Today, Joyce has 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

This year Joyce established the “Sunshine Fund Dinner and Dance.” The idea came to her while serving as treasurer of the Coastal Community Center Advisory Board. The Sunshine Fund supports programs at COA senior centers. According to Sue Richerson, Senior Centers
Program Manager, “Joyce totally took the reins and coordinated the whole event. Fun was had by all and it was a huge success.

Hopefully, the Sunshine Dinner and Dance will become an annual fund raising event.” Joyce thoroughly enjoys line dancing and watching her students progress. They call their troupe “St.
Augustine Line Dancers.” The music is selected by mutual collaboration. Some music is found on YouTube or Radio 99.9. The group loves performing at local events, nursing homes, and senior centers.

bill and grace

 

Meet Bill and Grace Bothe who have been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for 16 years!

The COA was highly recommended by their Coquina Crossing neighbors.

Background: Grace worked for oil companies in both Miami and St. Augustine in marketing and bookkeeping. Bill retired from a career in finance and bank management. Grace was born in Leon, Nicaragua and moved to the U.S. in 1959. Bill grew up in Harrisburg, PA. They have two sons and four grandchildren all living in the Atlanta metro area.

Special Interests: When Bill first retired, he mentored at-risk students in the Take Stock in Children program at Otis Mason Elementary and St. Augustine and Pedro Menendez High Schools. Grace loves to read especially biographies and religious books. Bill has always been athletic, playing basketball, baseball and tennis. Both are members of the St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Elkton.

SOMETIMES LOVE LOOKS A LOT LIKE…A WHEELCHAIR RAMP??

Page 6 David Nguyen-Tran MSU       Page 6 MSU student                                               Page 6 Don Ausman                                                                                                                   Don Ausman

This Valentine’s Day, our collective COA heart goes out to all the wonderful MSU students who spent their school breaks building wheelchair ramps and tidying up the yards of St. Augustine’s elder residents.

Their efforts are funded in large part by “The Don Ausman Alternative Break Endowment”, an initiative created by Renee and Jim Wauldron as a way to honor their son Don (pictured above, center) who passed away in 2009 when he was just 22 years old.   During his time at MSU, Don participated in the Alternative Spring Break program – often traveling to other countries bringing joy – and a helping hand – to those in need. Through his foundation, Don continues to set an example for students everywhere.

But Renee, Jim – and Don – don’t stop there! One source of financial support for the “Don Ausman Alternative Break Endowment” comes via proceeds from the “Endless Summer 10K Cross Country and 5K Beach Run/Walk.” These runs are presented by Don’s Friends, and benefit not only the foundation but the Friends of Anastasia State Park as well. This year, the runs are scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd.

Please visit www.donsfriend.com or www.endlesssummerrun.org for more information.

Once again our thanks – and our hearts – go out to the fabulous students at MSU, to Renee and Jim Wauldron
and, of course, to their son Don.

Please click here to read the entire article and download your copy of Gus! magazine.

page-3-gus-vol-spotlight-jennifer-fender

Say Hello to Jennifer Fender

Jennifer Fender has been volunteering with the COA Memory Enhancement Program at Fruit Cove Baptist Church
for almost 1 year now.

After a 23-year career as a Computer Aided Drafter (CAD) in Transportation Engineering, Jennifer was afforded the opportunity to take early retirement. Before long, she could feel her sharpness slipping away – the result of too much time spent on the sofa watching television!

When Jennifer began driving her friends’ mother to and from Memory Enhancement Classes, she decided that, instead of driving back and forth, it would be easier to just stay and volunteer! And that’s when Jennifer rediscovered the love of learning she thought she had lost! She explains: “We draw, sing, dance, tell stories and use words and numbers creatively during these classes. I finally got to use all those lost gifts and help someone else at the same time. I feel the members and teachers are my friends and I look forward to our meetings: Seniors tell the best stories and have so much to share. The truth is that I benefit from these classes! I only hope that I am a comfort and encouragement to others and that I can continue to serve.”

Thanks, Jennifer, for all you do for all of us!