Celebrating National Volunteer Week!


April is National Volunteer Month, and this week is National Volunteer Week! Each Tuesday this month we have highlighted on social media a volunteer who is making a difference at Brio Living Services. Today we are pleased to feature Mary Robertson, Volunteer Coordinator at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC), and to thank all our Brio Living Services volunteers!

Mary began her work with older adults ten years ago as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at CRC’s Kresge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. From there, she became the receptionist at Dancey House, then the unit clerk at Kresge Center, before taking the role of volunteer and independent living services coordinator in April 2022. Although she describes her work as a CNA as being “the most rewarding and gratifying,” she says she very much enjoys her new position. “Now, instead of being the helper, I’m asking others to help,” says Mary.

There are approximately 100 volunteers at CRC—both resident volunteers and members of the community—and volunteer opportunities abound, says Mary. “Everything from helping with birthday parties and reading to residents or playing games with them, to accompanying residents on outings to restaurants. It’s quite a list! All volunteer opportunities are based on the individual volunteer’s abilities. They really enjoy it—volunteering is just as rewarding for themselves as for the residents they’re helping.”

Mary says her favorite part of working with older adults is “just putting a smile on their faces and sharing their lives and experiences. CRC is a great place to be. I like to be of service to people.”

Today, CRC is honoring its volunteers with a cake and ice cream reception. The theme is “Making a Difference.” Mary shared the story of the many starfish that had washed up on the beach and the little boy who tossed them back into the ocean. A man said to the boy, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and thousands of starfish? You can’t make a difference!” The boy listened and smiled at the man, picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the surf. “I made a difference for that one.”

You can make a difference in an older adult’s life! Learn more about volunteering at our Brio Living Services communities and PACE centers.