Volunteer of the Week: Helen Keeler, of Galien

Helen Keeler, of Galien, is a volunteer at the Buchanan Area Senior Center. She also volunteers in hospice care. With a background in nursing and massage, she has been volunteering at the senior center for several years.

What do you do at the senior center?

I’m retired now from massage, so I just do it here at the senior center on a volunteer basis. I also do an eight-week meditation class in the summers.

Helen Keeler

How did you get involved at the senior center?

When I moved here, I used to do massages here in the area. When I volunteered, I found that I really missed it, and with Buchanan being kind of progressive place and open to new ideas, I offered my services and they took me up on it. When I first offered my services, I was a little worried about how the seniors would respond to receiving massages. But ever since I started I have gotten a tremendous response; my “dance card” is always full and sometimes there is a waitlist. The Buchanan Area Senior Center is a great place to volunteer and they always make me feel so welcome. I much enjoy being here.

What do you like about volunteering?

I find that, for me, being a very busy person in my career, it helps me stay in touch with things that I enjoy doing. It’s a way for me to give back and it’s good for me, emotionally and spiritually, to stay involved and active and pertinent.

Why do you think volunteering is important?

I think volunteering is important for anybody. I find that, especially for myself, it makes me feel like I still have something to offer my community that is a health benefit and a general benefit. People tend to open up [during a massage], and lot of seniors benefit just from touch therapy. Being touched in a therapeutic way is beneficial both physically and emotionally.

How would you encourage others to volunteer?

You still have something to offer. Volunteering is rewarding, fulfilling and it helps you to give back and keep things moving. Sometimes, we don’t realize what value we can be to others. It doesn’t matter what you have, you still have something to offer.

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