What would happen if the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley had no volunteers? Not much of anything. Sports, theater groups and music, community events and celebrations, help for homeless, food for the less fortunate and homebound citizens, church activities, tutoring, clubs and organizations, parades, scholarships, safe places from violence and grief counseling for children all rely heavily — some exclusively — on volunteer labor. Without them, what a bleak place this would be.
According to a news release from philanthropy newsdigest.org, the estimated value of a volunteer hour in the U.S. reached $25.43 in 2018. Some 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours yearly, with an estimated value of approximately $203.4 billion to nonprofit organizations of all types.
Society benefits from volunteer work, and so do the volunteers. In her article “Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy,” Dr. Barbara Edwards, an internist at the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center in Princeton, N.J. writes that volunteering “has the ability to improve the quality of life and health including longevity of those who donate their time. Research has found that older adults will benefit the most from volunteering. Physical and mental ailments plaguing older adults can be healed through the simple act of helping others; however, one must be performing the good deed from a selfless nature.”
Cathy Robinson, the executive director of the WA-ID Volunteer Center in Lewiston, which sponsors the national Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, invites people of all ages to get involved in their community by volunteering. (See related story on Page 12 for contact information.) The center matches each volunteer’s skills, talents and preferences with the needs of area nonprofits. The center’s volunteers are covered by excess liability and accident insurance while on the job.
Here’s what Lewiston-Clarkston Valley residents said about their volunteer experiences.
Hazel Christensen, 76, of Lewiston
“Volunteering has helped me learn new skills, hone my own and make new friends. I’ve run a golf tournament, coached softball and basketball and groomed dogs from the shelter. I learned to write news releases, set up meeting space, do public speaking, use diplomacy and make worldwide friendships. Giving always brings its own reward.”
Alyssa Hopkins, 68, of Clarkston w/archive PIC
Volunteers as an art teacher at Valley Art Center in Clarkston in the hopes of bringing art awareness to the community.
Charlene Olson, 72, of Lewiston
Helps children in the Lewiston-Clarkston area improve their math and reading skills.
“The reward is smiles of thanks for caring. They made a quilt for me one year.”
Kay Williams 77, of Lewiston w/PIC
“I volunteer all year. I work the NAIA (college baseball tournament), American Legion Baseball and (Lewiston High School) football, selling their gear at the games.
“I have a full life with my volunteering and love being with the young people of our valley.”
Pat Hanson, 70, of Clarkston
“I volunteer for Wreaths across America on Dec. 14, which is National Wreaths Across America Day. It’s purpose is to remember, honor and teach respect and reverence for those who have given their lives to protect freedom.”
Tammi L Smith, 59, of Clarkston
Volunteers at the Lewiston Civic Theatre, Clarkston High School Drama Department, the Clarkston High School music department, the Parkinson’s Resource Center and Rock Steady Boxing, which helps L-C Valley Parkinson’s patients.
“These kinds of groups can’t do what they do without volunteers.”
Marie Marran, 57, of Lewiston
Helps with advertising and fundraising for the Lewiston Civic Theatre.
“I volunteer so I can put my experience and talents to use to serve others in need, as I believe God intended us to do, as well as experience joy that comes from being part of a team effort to produce something greater than I could do on my own.”
Angie Derting, 55, of Clarkston
Director of Homes of Hope, which serves and supports area foster children and the families they live with. Marran also volunteers as a board member. Both encourage volunteers to join them in creating a better life for children.
Illa Smith,70, of Clarkston
“I’ve volunteered at Tri State Hospital for 15 years. There are over 40 volunteers, and almost all are over 55 years old. Volunteering keeps you going and going.”
Linda Beck, 72, of Clarkston w/PIC
“I keep the pantry organized, cook and serve at the Red Door Kitchen in the First Christian Church in Clarkston. We serve free lunch and supper every Monday through Saturday.”
She also sings with the area’s Sweet Adelines Group which pulls volunteers from the quad cities and surrounding smaller communities. The group practices Mondays in Genesee.
Linda Storey, 61, of Clarkston
Volunteers for the Clarkston High School Marching Band.
“My granddaughter is in the band, and I love being with the kids.”
Jacky Forsmann, 71, of Lewiston
Is active judging arts and crafts at the NezPerce County Fair. She also is involved Old Time Fiddlers group and delivers Meals on Wheels.
Carol Ohrtman, 69, of Lewiston
Repairs books at the Lewiston City Library.
Louise Shaner, 80, of Clarkston w/PIC
“I was very active in Helping Hands Rescue until health problems developed, and now I foster little dogs.”
Mike Steigers, 61, Lewiston w/PIC
“My sister and I volunteer, turning negative photo images into positive memories for the L-C community; 2000 hours this year.”
Anyone who believes there may be family photos in the Steiger Studios archives may contact him at email@example.com.
Audrey Sinner, 78, of Lewiston w/PIC (Audrey is on the left front)
Organizes senior ladies once a month to play bunco at the Nez Perce Masonic Lodge in Lewiston. Sinner took over the group 11 years ago. The game is preceded by a potluck, and members eat as they play.
“It’s a social time for these ladies.They need to get out of the house, visit and have fun. It’s a great way to develop friendships.”
Carol Horlacher 72, of Clarkston
Reads to children at Grantham and helps them develop reading skills.
“I enjoy the little guys so much and I want to help them become good readers.”
Ella Mae Wilson, 94, Clarkston w/PIC
She has volunteered with Tri-State Hospital’s Ladies Auxiliary since 1982 in many different functions, currently in filing in the emergency room department.
“I’d been working at Montgomery Wards when the store closed. I decided to volunteer. … I chose Tri-State Hospital because both of our boys were born there. As the hospital grew, I just grew along with them. There have been lots of changes in the 37 years I’ve been here. I’m glad I got to be a part of them.
“My husband also helped with the foundation until his death. Our son Rod, retired from being an administrator at ATK, volunteers for the foundation and Holy Family Church and School.”
“Our whole family has thrived on being volunteers.”
Jim Lusby, 81, of Lewiston w/PIC
He has volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America since the sixties in Kansas, Colorado, Oregon and then Lewiston, starting in 2002. He joined the leadership of CrossPoint Charter Troop 122, where he serves as chaplain, guiding troop members through earning their religious emblems awards.
“Volunteers are taught and trained once a month. If you have a yearning to work with youth, come. It’s an experience that is passed on through example and training. Adults are always two deep. That means there is always another adult in the room.”
Jim is part of a five generations family that has devoted time and experience to the Scouts.
Lloyd Wallis, 70, of Clarkston w/PIC
Volunteers with Meals on Wheels, which he describes as easy and rewarding.
“We serve meals to housebound clients 365 days a year on seven different routes. It’s a hot meal and a sack lunch. It also provides personal contact and a wellness check.”
He also gives time to TLC (Tender Loving Care) sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church in Clarkston. This after-school program helps children in first and second grades with homework and provides a listener for children practicing reading. He also volunteers at the First Presbyterian Church in Clarkston.
Janis Wallis, 67, of Clarkston
Also volunteers for the TLC program.
“I love helping with the preschoolers in the MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers). It’s is a support group for mothers. I’m also an artist and I donate pieces to auctions and rocks to hide. They bring delight to people’s lives.
“It’s important to have a plan when you get ready to retire. You have things you love to do, and you need to find a way to continue that passion. Christians are called to reach out to the community, and it doesn’t stop with retirement.”