Volunteering at Parkhouse
There are endless possibilities for Time Bank members to volunteer and get involved with the greater community. This issue features an exchange by Melinda Izzo, who has been involved in the Time Bank since 2015; she has helped the Time Bank as a former Board member, and by volunteering at many events. She now works full time for one of the Timebank’s member organizations, Orion Communities. Her background includes children’s mental health expertise and early childhood education.
Melinda started to volunteer at the Parkhouse Nursing and Rehabilitation Center about six years ago when she was looking for ways to help out in the community.
Melinda was matched with Linda, a woman who is confined to a wheelchair and has resided at Parkhouse for 16 years. Volunteers at Parkhouse are frequently matched with residents according to their needs. Their relationship has evolved into a friendship over the years.
Melinda assists Linda with a variety of tasks that Linda is unable to do for herself. As the seasons change, Melinda switches clothes for summer and winter, carefully storing them for easy access next season. When Linda first moved to Parkhouse, she said “the staff knew I was a secretary right away when they saw my clothes.” While working as a secretary, Linda said that her wardrobe was very important to her, so she appreciates the care that is taken by Melinda.
Linda has nine grandchildren, eight girls and one boy, ranging in age from 10 to 28. Melinda has been invaluable over the years in helping Linda purchase Christmas and other gifts for her family. Linda selects boxes, paper, and bows as Melinda wraps the gifts and prepares them to go to the family's traditional Christmas Eve celebration. Linda has also connected with Melinda’s son and extended family and friends. Visits and just talking are an invaluable part of their volunteering experience.
Melinda said, “One of my favorite times is helping at Parkhouse’s special events, transporting residents to the multipurpose room or outside for concerts, bazaars, and festivals. One time Linda and I even participated in ballroom dancing!”
Linda is proud to be a 7-year member of Parkhouse’s Peers Empowered Expert Residents Program. She said, “We provide support to the other residents. This (Parkhouse) is their home and we protect the residents’ rights and make sure they are treated with respect.” The group also helps new residents transition from home to Parkhouse.
“We need more volunteers,” Linda told us. “There are so many residents here who need help.” Sally Hawk-Jones, Director of Activities and Volunteer Services, confirmed this. Volunteers are needed to transport residents to special events from their rooms to other locations on the grounds. Additional ongoing needs are helping in the Craft Room, participating in Pinochle club, maintaining Parkhouse’s Native Plant gardens in the warmer month, and sorting in-kind donations.
Melinda posts volunteer opportunities on the Time Bank website. Parkhouse is a member organization so Timebankers can log hours for the services they provide. One-time volunteers can respond through the Time Bank website. Ongoing volunteers should fill out an application and find out more about Parkhouse by calling or emailing Sally Hawk-Jones directly. Her email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 610-792-2341.
Melinda Izzo and Sally Hawk-Jones, Director of Activities and Volunteer Services enjoying Parkhouse's Aeroponic Garden.