“I am so very happy that after each visit, life is even more beautiful.”
This line comes from a participant of Caring Callers, a program through Wilshire Health and Community Services that connects seniors with community members who dedicate just one hour per week to visit and chat.
Wilshire Health and Community Services is a nonprofit organization based in San Luis Obispo. From medical care to hospice to good neighbor programs, the services they offer are varied in scope but singular in focus: Wilshire is here to meet local needs.
Wilshire began as an acute care hospital and over the years, they developed more and more ways to meet the community needs that came into view. Wilshire operates with unmatched heart and a relentless desire to help however they can.
They seek volunteers who share that heart and want to learn how to help their neighbors in real and meaningful ways – individuals, families or groups are all sure to find a volunteering position that matches their passion and schedule.
Currently, Caring Callers is Wilshire’s biggest volunteer need. After a brief training and orientation, these callers dedicate one hour per week to make a visit to a senior in their community, helping seniors remain in their residences and feel remembered and cared for.
Eighty-eight-year-old Lorraine sought out Caring Callers when, as a homebound senior, she looked around and realized much about her life had changed.“All of my friends that were visiting with me… All of a sudden, one by one, they moved into a facility or they weren’t driving anymore.”
“All of my friends that were visiting with me… All of a sudden, one by one, they moved into a facility or they weren’t driving anymore.”
Lorraine was matched with Jaymi, a Cal Poly student who was initially as nervous as she was. They found themselves talking more and more each week, connecting on deeper issues and finding commonalities they never expected.
“Jaymi has restored my faith in the fact that there are good students at Cal Poly doing wonderful things with their lives. If there are more Cal Poly students like her, we are lucky,” says Lorraine.
Jaymi returns the positive sentiment, sharing, “When I come here, it’s always a story about finding the good in everything, and to stay optimistic… Those types of stories, and that kind of advice, is the best. I don’t have a lot of family around, so now, Lorraine feels like family.”
Although this need is a priority, there are many other volunteer opportunities at Wilshire, too. Whether you’re an individual, family or group looking for a good volunteering fit, you’re sure to find one. Click on the title of each one to learn more!
Hospice In-Home: After a 20 hour volunteer training, in-home volunteers experience the impact that comes with providing support and companionship for a hospice patient and his or her family.
Hospice Office: For volunteers who want to support the hospice program but would prefer to not work in a patient’s home, there is opportunity to assist with office tasks.
Creative Mediation: Wilshire looks for volunteers who can deliver professional, high-quality mediation services to SLO County residents in conflict. Mediators must be certified through their Conflict Resolution and Mediation Skills Training program or a comparable course.
Senior Peer Counseling: Volunteers age 55 and older can serve as peer counselors, visiting a senior one hour per week to build connection and support. This position requires an initial free training, followed by weekly supervision meetings to help counselors build skills and confidence.
Good Neighbor: There is always a need for individuals, families or groups to rise to the occasion and assist with basic needs for seniors or adults with disabilities, whether that be housework, yard work, minor home repair, meal preparation, transportation or running errands. All volunteers must complete a screening process and those providing transportation must be at least 21 years of age and have possessed a valid driver’s license for five years.
For more information about Wilshire Health & Community Services, visit wilshirehcs.org. From there, you can navigate to the individual program sites to learn more about the services that peak your interest.