Life Care Centers of America recognized the contributions of volunteer Greg Stuart during the company’s annual management meeting awards dinner on Sept. 13, 2010.
Stuart, 16, received Life Care’s Youth Volunteer of the Year Award, presented to one young person each year for extraordinary volunteer service, in honor of his involvement with Life Care Center of Pueblo, Colo. A crystal sculpture of a shooting star commemorated the honor.
“Our residents are energized by the involvement of young people in the activities and services of our centers,” said Beecher Hunter, Life Care president. “They love youthful enthusiasm, helpfulness and courtesies, and the boys and girls gain wisdom from their newfound friends.”
Starting as a volunteer in his junior year of high school, Stuart more than met his school’s requirement of 100 volunteer hours. He has spent more than 2,000 hours at the center.
Stuart helps out in many ways, from scooping ice cream in the ice cream parlor to calling bingo to delivering and reading mail to the residents. Though at first the nursing home environment took him out of his comfort zone, by the end of his senior year, he had developed personal friendships with many residents.
One resident Stuart bonded with loved keeping in touch with family and friends via e-mail. Stuart not only helped her with the computer skills to continue e-mailing but used his own camera to take her pictures for her. The responses to the e-mailed photos have helped her social life remain vibrant.
Stuart’s example also led other students from his school to volunteer at the center.
The Youth Volunteer Award is presented annually to a volunteer age 18 or younger. Nominations from every region and division of Life Care are considered. Criteria include contributing a significant amount of time to a specific activity or service, initiating a new program or activity, serving as an excellent example for other individual youth or youth groups and producing positive changes through the volunteer activity or service.