The Center for Volunteer Caregiving in Cary garners praise

aspecht@newsobserver.comDecember 12, 2013 

  • Want to help?

    Go to www.volunteercaregiving.org to learn what it takes to be a volunteer and to get started with online orientation for The Center for Volunteer Caregiving.

    The center gets a large portion of its budget from corporate and private donations. The center is located at 1150 SE Maynard Road, Suite 210, Cary.

— Few appreciate Elliot Pauli’s volunteer work more than Chris Tobin.

Tobin, 58, had a stroke a few years ago. He can still get around and take care of himself, but he needs help with more intensive household chores like moving the microwave or nailing the mailbox to its post.

That’s where Pauli comes in. He’s one of about 500 people who help senior citizens and the disabled through The Center for Volunteer Caregiving, a Cary-based nonprofit.

“It’s a lifesaver, and I’m not exaggerating,” Tobin says.

The center and its volunteers gained new admirers earlier this month. GlaxoSmithKline and the Triangle Community Foundation awarded the nonprofit $40,000 through the GSK IMPACT award.

The award was given to nine organizations for their work in building healthier communities. A national panel of health experts chose the winners after evaluating more than 60 applicants.

“There is an important connection between our health and our community,” said Katie Loovis, director of U.S. community partnerships and stakeholder engagement for GSK. “The more we understand this connection, the more we can improve it. And The Center for Volunteer Caregiving shows us how it’s done.”

The center, which has six employees, has an annual budget of about $300,000 and serves clients anywhere in Wake County.

It offers three types of caregiving: transportation services; caregiver support, where volunteers pitch in for those who treat people with Alzheimer’s disease or dimentia; and in-home connections, where volunteers stop by clients’ homes to make sure they’re living in a healthy and safe environment.

The award money will help the center buy software for building a better database that connects volunteers to clients, said Lynn Templeton, the center’s director.

“We’re trying to address that 30 percent (of volunteers) finding us online and make it easier for staff to manage our matchups,” she said.

The database will pair up nicely with the online training the center recently set up for its volunteers. Training takes about an hour, and asks applicants to provide a Social Security number for a background check.

Templeton said the center is devoted to protecting its clients while also trying to make volunteering as easy as possible.

There are no fees for the center’s services – a main reason why it consistently has more clients than volunteers.

“We constantly have a wait list. We’ll get the list down under 100 and we’ll get five more referrals the next day,” Templeton said.

Pauli, 34, works in global health with the Research Triangle Institute. He signed up to volunteer a couple months ago because it’s spiritually fulfilling.

“There are people that need help right in my backyard,” he said.

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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