Volunteers Giving Newborns a Great Start!
April is National Volunteer month – thirty days to recognize and celebrate the work that volunteers do all year long. At Good Beginnings, Inc. in the Upper Valley, every month is volunteer month. With a small staff of part time employees (together totaling approximately 1.5 FTEs) they depend on their 107 volunteers to carry the load. "Good Beginnings would not exist without its volunteers!” said Program Director, Denise Gariepy, “Volunteers have been the driving force responsible for Good Beginnings’ success, carrying on the mission of serving local families with new babies by providing hands-on support, education and community outreach."
Having a new baby in the house is a joy but it can also be a real struggle – even for the most well-equipped parents. Late nights, early mornings, and fussy evenings can leave new parents at their wit’s end. Add to that families with multiple children can feel an extra burden when the new baby comes home. The volunteers at Good Beginnings are there to help and take a bit of the strain out of those first twelve weeks. Whether it be holding the new baby while mom showers, playing with the three-year-old big sister while dad gets some bonding time with the baby, or even just being a willing ear to an overwhelmed parent who needs to talk – these volunteers are a valuable resource for families across our region.
One family recently shared their gratitude for the work of their volunteer, Kris Pekala, who came into their life at just the right time. Having recently moved to the area from out of state, the mom was feeling pretty isolated and alone when her baby was born. With family far away, a husband working full time and few close friends to count on, it was a rough time. “From the minute she walked in the door, Kris erased all concerns I harbored and then some” said new mom, Sarah D. “I know I don’t need to remind anyone of this, but Kris is fabulous—whip-smart, funny, and intuitive. Not only did my three-year-old adore her, but I did, too, and came to look up to her as a mother and a friend.”
The time the volunteer is in the home is invaluable, but their impact lasts long after they leave. While helping with immediate needs with the newborn, they also help parents learn more about helpful resources in the area. Learning the ropes at home is one thing but learning to navigate outside of the house with little ones in tow is another. “As I slowly acclimated to the area, Kris was there to guide me, offering advice about this or that kids’ program, activity, etc.” said Sarah D. “Through her eyes, I was able to deeply appreciate the Upper Valley and get to know both its individual and collective character.”
Volunteers are making a difference in every community. If you are a volunteer, we thank you for your service. If you’d like to get started, we encourage you to look around your community and find a need that you can connect with. There’s a lot of work to be done out there – and many lives to touch!
Would you like to learn more about making a difference in the life of a family? Visit Good Beginnings, Inc. to learn more https://www.gbuv.org/