It was January of 1985 when Joann Kloos started visiting a blind friend at Good Samaritan Society – Ambassador in New Hope, Minnesota. The more time she spent at the center, the closer she grew to the other residents and staff there, until they finally asked her to formally become a volunteer. “I did and I loved it,” Joann says.
I love this place. I love what they're doing for the residents. I try to bring a little ray of sunshine when I come.” – Joann Kloos, Good Samaritan Society – Ambassador volunteer
Thirty-five years later, Joann still volunteers every week and now serves on the center’s advisory board as well.
Over the years, Joann has helped residents with crafts, cooking classes, dining and outings around town. But it’s spending one-on-one time with residents where Joann feels she’s most called to serve.
“I'm very comfortable in that setting. It's not always easy to recognize people are hurting, but a smile and a pat on the back and just a listening ear make all the difference.”
Ambassador Activity Director Jackie Dale has worked with Joann for 13 years. She sees the connections Joann makes with residents. “Joann is just a special person," Jackie says. “She's quiet, she's gentle, friendly, caring, and she just truly loves our residents.”
Volunteers make a difference
Jackie and the other Ambassador staff members are grateful for the time Joann donates to the center.
You just have to be caring and compassionate and just want to help somebody.” – Jackie Dale, Good Samaritan Society – Ambassador recreation director/volunteer coordinator, on what it takes to be a volunteer
They say it takes an entire team of volunteers like Joann, so they’re always looking for people willing to serve.
Often, people want to volunteer but don’t think they have the skills to do it.
“We can train you. We can tell you what you need to do, show you what you need to do. You just have to truly want to help other people.”
“It gives you the greatest reward,” Joann says of volunteering. “So go for it, jump in and take a chance. Give it a try, see if you like it. It can make a difference.”
Are you ready to share your love and compassion with our residents?