2017-10-11 / News


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If this column makes it seem that all volunteers are in their “golden” years, this week’s nominee dispels that notion. Mountainside Residental Care Center was pleased to nominate Jacinta Updyke of Margaretville for volunteer honors and Updyke’s just barely out of high school.

Mountainside Residential Care Center, an 80-bed extended care facility built in the early ’80s continues to get five-star rankings from independent rating organizations every time a survey is done. And while Administrator Chris Esola is quick to credit his staff with delivery of exceptional care, he’s just as quick to point out that community volunteers enhance the lives of residents in many ways.

At a recent singalong with volunteer musician Rayla that concept was clearly demonstrated. Residents clapped, sang along and in one case, even got up to dance as they basked in the warm, sunny room where they had gathered. Other events of recent days included an annual classic car show in the parking area and a canned-goods drive to help others less fortunate.

The activities connect residents with each other and with members of the outside community and provide both physical and mental stimulation that helps keeps residents active and engaged. In talking about this week’s volunteer, Activities Director Donna Rossman told the News “she’s amazing. She loves our residents and they love her. When they see her coming, they just light up.”

Updyke, who graduated from Margaretville Central School in 2016, donates time nearly every day and is eager to assist in any activity that may be scheduled.

The daughter of David and Melanie Updyke, she began the effort as part of an educational project and loved it. So after graduation, she kept going. For nearly two years, she’s spent part of most weekdays at Mountainside. “She does it all,” said Rossman. “She sets up, she helps out during the events, she cleans up. There is nothing she won’t do to help our seniors.”

In an interview this week, the News asked Updyke about her efforts.

News: What do you do when you’re volunteering?

Updyke: I do whatever they want. I help out in activities helping residents play bingo, do arts and crafts, and other games. Sometimes I just visit with residents.

News: Have you done other types of volunteer work?

Updyke: Mostly I volunteer here but I have also helped to take care of animals on a farm.

News: Why do you continue to spend so much time volunteering here.

Updyke: Once I started, I got so attached and made so many friends that I didn’t want to stop. Seeing the residents smile and knowing I can make them happy, makes me happy.

News: What might you say that would encourage other people to volunteer as well.

Updyke: Helping like this really makes you feel good. It helps you forget about your own problems. It’s great to make other people smile and make new friends.

Mountainside welcomes all volunteers, no matter what their interests or how much time they have to offer. Anyone who wants to help is urged to call 845-586-1800 and express interest so needs can be matched to volunteer skills.

All non-profit organizations in the region are welcomed to nominate members to be featured in Volunteer Voices. To make a nomination, call the News office at 845.586.2601 or e-mail joan@catskillmountainnews.com

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