Submitted by: Kath Pengelly, volunteer and advocate coordinator at Lifeworks
Famous Civil Rights Activist, Cesar Chavez, once said, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him.” Well every other Wednesday, Theresa and John Dahlberg have definitely extended their friendship to Scott Strohman(Lifeworks client) as they meet for lunch on the second floor of the Securian Building in downtown St. Paul for lunch.
It isn’t exactly anyone’s house but instead a bustling gathering space on the second floor of a large corporation. A meal is shared, interesting conversation exchanged and absolutely friendship has occurred. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with Theresa, John, Scott and his job coach, Beth Coppock. Theresa and John have now been volunteering during their lunch time for one and a half years. I asked them, “Why do you do this?” Theresa was quick to respond,
“Scott is so friendly, fun and he amazes John and I with his knowledge of sports and music. This is an easy way for us to volunteer and give back to our community.”
Scott shares the same enthusiasm about the lunch time meetings. He said, “ It is so nice to have someone to talk to, and meet someone new. John likes sports too. I like having the company of others and finding out what they are like.”
Theresa added, “Recently I ran into Scott outside of work. We both went to the Winter Carnival on the weekend. What a nice surprise to see him there too.”
I asked if they would recommend this volunteer opportunity to anyone else. “Both John and Theresa answered at the same time, “Yes, this is an easy way to volunteer while you are at work- meet someone twice a month for an hour at a time.”
Scott’s job coach, Beth Coppock, said that Scott’s job as a Securian Mail Center Messenger requires him to be completely focused on his work. Having a scheduled day and time to meet with Theresa and John is an intentional time to make a friend. Beth went on to say that there are other people served by Lifeworks at Securian who also have Securian volunteers meeting them for lunch but she can certainly use more.
Having a friend is something we all want. Friendship expands our individual worlds. To have a friend and be a friend brings more meaning to our lives. If you currently work at one of our employers, contact me if you would like to schedule a lunchtime volunteer opportunity. If you would like to come to one of our centers for lunch, conversation and friendship, there are people waiting there too for a lunch time friend. Call me at 651-365-3720 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who knows where things will go over lunch? When I left Scott, Theresa and John they were heading toward the food court at the Norwest Center.