During the month of April we recognize the dedication and commitment of our amazing volunteers who make such a difference in residents’ lives. St. John’s Home Volunteer Coordinator Sandy Ferguson is also worthy of recognition–for making sure those volunteers are connected to our residents so that they can create special and lasting bonds.
Sandy has been in this important role for the past four and a half years. During this time, she says her passion and appreciation for working with seniors has deepened. After being the primary caregiver for her parents for six years, Sandy realized how much she loved the older generation. Sandy went through the process of moving her parents from their hometown of 50 years downstate to Rochester and has seen firsthand how transitions affect older adults. Her personal experience enhanced her desire to keep residents engaged with volunteers in several different ways, which is the reason the volunteer office is always abuzz.
Every day is different in Sandy’s world. “There is no typical day in the volunteer office. Every day is exciting and a little bit different,” explains Sandy. She consistently interacts with over 100 volunteers to setup times for volunteers to visit residents and assist them in making the most of their experience with St. John’s. Volunteers are scheduled to assist residents with transportation to and from activities, friendly visits, share musical talents, and others bring in their pets for a visit. She also manages the buying and daily operations in the St. John’s Home Gift Shop. Volunteers are often scheduled for shifts in the shop to help residents and family members with their purchases. Sandy says that through these interactions with both volunteers and residents she has made many very special memories.
“There was a resident who lived here for many years and she welcomed me with such love. She always said St. John’s was her family and I quickly became a part of it. We discovered we had a lot in common, one of which was a mutual love of pizzelles. One Saturday afternoon I came in and we made pizzelles together! I felt like I was baking with my mom again.” Working with seniors has also shifted Sandy’s perspective on aging, she explains, “working at St. John’s has shown me to embrace each stage of aging. The residents are a joy to connect with.”
Outside of work Sandy enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren. Married to her high school sweetheart, she relishes quality time with her family. Her three children have lived in several places outside of New York including Peru! Sandy is not much of a traveler, but says she has enjoyed visiting the various places her kids have lived.
Bringing those stories to work, Sandy loves chatting with residents at St. John’s Home. “I enjoy talking to the residents at the ice cream shop and when they come to visit the gift shop. My office is close to both locations and the afternoons come alive when the residents come down to happy hour.” We are so grateful to have Sandy a part of the St. John’s team. Her drive and consistent excitement for working with seniors makes our community a better place.