The Phoenix



a hiccup and someone can’t come in, I call them and they say, ‘Where are we going today?’”

“There’s a lot of reward in assisting people in need,” Jim Bahn said.

“Meals on Wheels gives you the opportunit­y to interact with people who are lonely,” Sandy Bahn said. “They like to chat. It’s interestin­g and rewarding. Being out and about with people uses your brain, and when more in-person volunteeri­ng programs open back up, I’m confident I can find additional ways to help out.”

Maxine Topping, a retired nonprofit staffer, works with Mitzvah Circle in Norristown to provide non-food items to people in need.

“I select and pack requested items such as clothing, diapers, school supplies — essential daily items,” she said. “When I arrive, one of the volunteer coordinato­rs says, ‘Hi Maxine, Thanks for coming today. It really makes a difference.’ I certainly didn’t get that when I was working!”

Topping authored a selfhelp book, “U Owe You: Taking Responsibi­lity for Creating the Life You Decide.” She credits Mitzvah Circle clients for “taking the initiative to seek help and not giving up on the possibilit­ies for a better life.”

Volunteeri­ng, she says, “allows me to savor the senior season of my life and play a small role to make a difference for those in need.”

It’s a pleasure

Perky Cohen, 91, was a longtime English as a second language (ESL) volunteer before she and her late husband moved to the Rydal Park senior living community in Jenkintown, Montgomery County. There, Cohen, a wood carver, volunteere­d to create an art program that now includes two galleries.

“I get a lot of pleasure from volunteeri­ng,” she

said. “It enriches the community. It’s very important to volunteer.”

As for her nickname, “When I was on my bassinette, my mother said I was a perky little thing.”

Le Chang came to the U.S. at age 15 as a refugee from Vietnam. At Drexel University, where she studied software engineerin­g, she met her husband and returned with him to his native city, Hong Kong. There, she learned three Chinese dialects and taught English, setting the stage for her current volunteer work as an English as a second language volunteer with the Chester County Opportunit­ies Industrial­ization Center.

“It’s a great joy, being able to help others,” she said. “It makes me happy that I can contribute. Helping others helps yourself. It helps you to be happier and healthier physically and psychologi­cally.”

Data from the Corporatio­n for National and Community Service confirms “an associatio­n between volunteeri­ng and mental and physical health benefits. In particular, older volunteers report lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitation­s, and higher levels of well-being.”

Nonprofit RSVP connects volunteers to dozens of community service opportunit­ies. Its programs improve the lives of vulnerable population­s by focusing on education and wellness. For informatio­n on volunteeri­ng, visit rsvpmc. org, email volunteer1­23@ or call 610-8341040, ext. 123.

 ?? ?? Le Cheng
Le Cheng

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