During National Volunteer Week, we celebrate all of the wonderful volunteers who give time to support Places for People’s mission.
Please meet Meredith. For the past 10 months, Meredith has volunteered her time every other Saturday morning leading a wellness group at Places at Page. In the group she discusses nutrition, exercise, healthy choices, and anything else that might come up. The experience has inspired her to pursue a master’s degree in social work at Washington University in St. Louis this fall.
Why did you choose to volunteer at Places for People?
I have always been passionate about mental health and wellness. I had just moved to St. Louis (almost exactly a year ago) and was looking forward to serving individuals with mental illnesses, both because of my interests and because I wanted to get to know the St. Louis community better. Honestly, I did a quick google search for “volunteer opportunities + mental health” and Places for People was one of the first agencies that popped up! I liked the organization’s mission, so I contacted Jen about volunteering and started last June.
What have you learned from your experiences as a volunteer?
I have learned some incredible stories about the residents of Places at Page and how they came to live there. They are resilient and they are eager to learn about health and wellness! Their struggles have put mine in perspective; I have a lot of respect for the residents in my group.
What has your experience been like?
My experience has been great. In the wellness group we discuss whatever aspects of wellness the residents are interested in. We frequently talk about nutrition and exercise, but sometimes we just chat about whatever is going on in their lives or whatever they want to talk about. Sometimes we cook a healthy meal together. In addition to getting to know the wonderful residents and the community, volunteering with PfP has helped me decide to pursue a master’s degree in social work at Washington University this coming fall. I am committed to serving others and promoting social justice, mental health and wellbeing. Places for People is a community jewel.
What is the most rewarding part of being a volunteer?
I just enjoy talking with people and hearing their stories. Knowing that I might have influenced someone to eat a little healthier or exercise a little more is also rewarding.