This week, we celebrate the unwavering dedication of our volunteers. 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, including the Alzheimer’s Association, but so many of our volunteers stood by us and helped us through. Here are just a few of the amazing people that help us move our mission!
Denise Arribas – Early Stage Program Volunteer
What made you decide to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association?
I felt like my experience as a caregiver/child of someone with Alzheimer’s, plus my background as an actress and hospital clown with Humorology Atlanta, HA! could be put to use and help others along the way. Life after a diagnose can be lonely and frustrating, and I hope my work as a volunteer can lessen those feelings.
What makes you want to continue to volunteer, or what makes you happy about volunteering? Our Theatre Thursdays have exceeded every expectation I had! I teach basic theatre, yet the biggest lesson that we’ve all learned is how to allow yourself to have fun without judgment or expectation. Honestly, I’m just facilitating a moment of connection and happiness for these couples to enjoy each other without the world’s troubles. Yes, we have to deal with the challenges that come with dementia… but for that hour, we can enjoy each other, stay in the moment and forget about the diagnose. As for me, I’ve learned so much from these fantastic couples by witnessing the love they have for each other. No diagnosis will ever change that.
Other than the theater program, have you volunteered for us in other capacities? I haven’t, but I look forward to different ways to serve this wonderful community.
Camilla White – The Longest Day Committee Member
What made you decide to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association? This is near and dear to my heart, having a parent, uncles, aunts who have been impacted by his deadly disease in doing their day to day activities. My mom is one who is impacted by this disease and I’m here to help educate the population so no family will endure the pain that I did because I didn’t know.
What makes you want to continue to volunteer, or what makes you happy about volunteering? I’m happy to volunteer because I’m helping a person or family to make their lives better as they embark on this journey. A smile is worth a thousand words.
Other than the The Longest Day committee, have you volunteered for us in other capacities? I’m an Ambassador to Senator Ossoff, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) member, and most importantly a Community Educator in Douglas County.
Sher Renee – Dancing Stars of Atlanta Committee Member
What made you decide to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association? My dear friend Jerri Miller asked me to co-chair the Duluth Memory Walk with her from 2006-2009 to honor her mom. Our team was Pearl’s Girls. I was so inspired by the hundreds of families we met and the deep devotion they had for their loved ones afflicted by AD. My heart took hold and I wanted to help.
What makes you want to continue to volunteer, or what makes you happy about volunteering? I love being part of a team that is so passionate about raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association. Seeing the profound impact these donations have made in providing support to those afflicted, families so affected and funding for world-class research fuels my enthusiasm to work harder every year.
With a small team, minimal budget and a BIG DREAM, we began our work on the first Dancing Stars of Atlanta. When Mayor Andrew and Carolyn Young became our Ambassadors, celebrity stars and pro dancers joined in and on May 16, 2010, we the launched our first DSA. Over the past 12 years, has become one of Atlanta’s premier events, dazzling as many as 900 guests in attendance!
Working together, year after year, with such a dedicated, talented and enthusiastic team to orchestrate such a magical event has been such a joy! Our DSA community has grown so much and been overwhelmingly supportive in helping us reach our annual one million dollar goal. I am truly blessed to be part of such a dynamic initiative to help free our world from this devastating disease.
Diane Gasaway – Community Educator
What makes you want to continue to volunteer, or what makes you happy about volunteering? Educating people about the disease is what keeps me volunteering. I believe that most people have little to no factual knowledge about the disease. Without knowledge of the disease, they are unable to effectively help the person living the disease and may instead, make it harder for that person. Every person who attends a workshop and gains a better understanding about Alzheimer’s is someone who will be able to share that knowledge with their family and friends. Education makes a difference, one person at a time.
What would you tell other people about why they should volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association? I would say that volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Association is one of the most rewarding and satisfying ways I have found to help others. Not only has my life been enriched by volunteering, but I know from feedback of others that the information I have shared has made a lasting difference in their lives.
Ada Holley – Support Group Facilitator
What makes you want to continue to volunteer, or what makes you happy about volunteering? I want to give back to the organization and people who helped my mother and me so much as we navigated my father’s journey through Alzheimer’s.
What would you tell other people about why they should volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association? Yes. Volunteer! Find a job that suits you. It is so rewarding to help others and you learn a lot by helping too.
Diane Hett – Support Group Facilitator
What do you do for the Alzheimer’s Association? For several years, I have facilitated the Caregiver Support Group of St Luke UMC Respite Care. This group serves caregivers throughout the community. I have appreciated the collaboration with the staff of the Alzheimer’s Association. They provide not only a listening ear, but a wealth of information for caregivers.
What has it been like since COVID-19? During this past year, caregivers have lost many resources because of Covid. I am grateful that the Alzheimer’s Association continues to respond to their individual needs, including linking them with a local support group. Our group has met on Zoom each month, giving an important connection and relieving some of the isolation of caregivers. It’s a great privilege for me to share with these amazing women and men.
Please welcome one of our newest volunteers….
Heather Lathbury Seckman – Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Rome Committee
What made you decide to volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association? Two very dear friends of mine, Kim and Phil Wilson, are an inspiration of strength and love, so I wanted to help them like they help others!
How long have you been on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Rome Committee? Only a few months!
Our volunteers are passionate, inspired, and making a difference in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease. Whether you can spare a few hours a week or can make a more significant time commitment, please consider becoming an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer.
To learn more about the volunteer opportunities in your community, visit alz.org/georgia