Specialized Services in Craig seeking volunteers for 1-on-1 mentorship
For more information on volunteer opportunities in Moffat and Routt counties with Horizons Specialized Services, call volunteer coordinator Rebecca Hanson at 879-4466.
Craig resident Tom Beachman did not intend wordplay when he described the personal impact of his volunteer work for Horizons Specialized Services in Craig.
“It’s an expanding experience,” Beachman said of his personal growth as a mentor.
Horizons Specialized Services, works in partnership with families and communities to expand opportunities for individuals with, or at risk of, developmental disabilities, according to the agency’s mission statement.
The organization is seeking volunteers in Moffat and Routt counties to fulfill that mission.
Horizons Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Hanson said she is looking for adults to provide at least three hours per month of mentorship for Horizons clients who are ages 21 and older.
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“Generally speaking, our clients need one-on-one mentors because a lot of them don’t have the ability to get out in the community as much as they’d like,” Hanson said. “They’re really looking for a buddy.”
Hanson said volunteers could share activities such as hiking, bowling, bicycling, board games, puzzles, movies and more with Horizons clients.
While Horizons needs volunteers in both counties, the need is greatest in Moffat County.
“We don’t have many volunteers in Craig,” Hanson said.
Beachman volunteered with Horizons during the organization’s ski program last season. He recommends getting involved.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone because the individual who volunteers walks away with a sense of worth and reward by having done something that is appreciated,” Beachman said. “And, the clients absolutely love it.”
However, Beachman cautioned that volunteering is a big step.
“When people do make a commitment — and it is a commitment — you can’t just fly in and do a one-day thing because these individuals, they attach to whoever is volunteering,” Beachman said. “You can just feel that they want to continue with the adventures and they become friends — instant friends.”
Hanson expressed similar thoughts on client-volunteer relationships.
“That’s what happens with people in our community who become mentors for our clients. They become friends,” she said.
Beachman, a retired Moffat County High School librarian, said working with Horizons changes volunteers’ perspective on life, especially for newcomers.
“For someone who has never dealt with handicapped individuals, they owe it to themselves to understand and learn what these individuals are faced with and are challenged with,” Beachman said. “I think there’s a built-in thing — you want to help when you see the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.”
Above all, Beachman said working with clients is fun.
“These individuals will entertain you with their joy and experiences,” he said. “They get so excited about what they’re doing, especially when you can introduce them to something new.
“They are so grateful.”
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