Volunteering for Marklund has been a part of my life for over 22 years. During these years, I have received much more than I have given. There are many ways to volunteer for Marklund and I have done most of them. Whether the task is helping at a Fund Raiser, decorating for Christmas, going on an outing, coaching at summer games, attending a meeting or, my favorite, rocking a baby, the reason is the same. I leave feeling relaxed and peaceful, knowing that I have made life a little brighter for someone. I give my time and in return I receive a smile or a giggle from a resident, this is the best reward possible.
--Judi Mroz, Wheaton, Illinois
Friends of ours have a Son at Marklund. I was asked by them to “help” with a baseball game… How? I did not know, but I was willing to give it a try! My wife and I met the team of volunteers on a Saturday morning, were instructed what to do and then met the players in their homes. Everyone had a great time! Absolute… pure joy and appreciation was exhibited by the players AND the volunteers. What a fulfilling experience! Driving home after the game was one of the longest rides of my life (even though it’s only 15 miles from Marklund)! Neither my wife and I spoke in the car. Once home, we had a conversation and I decided I wanted to become a Marklund volunteer. I thought I had something to offer! That this was a good opportunity for me to “give back”! I’m sure all of that is true to a degree, but I have found, I get so much more back as a Marklund volunteer than I could ever possibly give! Join us! You’ll be happy you did and you will make a huge difference in so many people’s lives… including your own!
--Jack Wainwright, St. Charles, Illinois
Being a volunteer at Marklund Home has changed my life both personally and spiritually. The clients have truly touched my heart in an almost undescribeable way. The smiles are many and the response to a warm greeting can completely turn a person inward to realize how thankful and grateful to God we should all be for the everyday blessings we take for granted. I realize what a special person it takes to work with the clients on a daily basis and everyone I have met has had that special "something." I have personally witnessed the great care taken to wipe a runny nose, comfort in time of distress and to be certain that each client participates and has fun to their individual capacity.
I have been a volunteer with Marklund Home since December, 2011. I was a regular Friday Night activities helper and participate through my church, Christ Community, on occasion for its 2nd Sunday monthly volunteer program, as well as attending occasional baseball games.
Cathy (volunteer manager) and her staff demonstrate true love, dedication and commitment to these individuals and I am certain God has chosen exactly the right individuals for this particular mission.
--Patty O'Hara, Batavia, Illinois
I lead the youth choirs at Naperville Presbyterian Church and for several years we have had the privilege of leading a worship service for the residents of Marklund. This is one of the highlights of our year. Each year, Marklund client Jack sings the Old Time Gospel Medley with us on microphone. The residents are quite excited when Jack joins the choir.
For my choristers, it has been a way to share life with these folks for a brief time. When the children first meet the residents, there is a moment of shock and insecurity due to the often unusual facial shapes and disabilities. The most amazing part of it all is how quickly the young ones assess the situation, realize it is life as usual for the residents, and relate to them in a normal, natural way. Many of the older choir members have ministered to the residents for several years and look forward to the event each spring.
I thank the Lord for the opportunity to spend time with the residents of Marklund Home each year and I look forward to seeing many of them in heaven without their wheel chairs.
--Pam Shortness, Youth Choirs Director, Naperville Presbyterian Church
I volunteer because my brother is a resident at Marklund. I think it is so good that the clients can go out and have fun!
--Beth Lederer, Geneva, Illinois
I have been a volunteer with Marklund for quite a while, not sure the number of years. My highlight is playing Santa Claus every year at the Children’s home. I love when I first walk in and see the smiles on the faces of the clients.
Being a Marklund volunteer is a very rewarding experience, the feeling you get when you put a smile on the clients’ faces is really indescribable. After you have been there a while you see how the residents grow and progress. The employees of Marklund are remarkable, and along with the clients and volunteers, it’s one big family.
--Joel Santi, Oak Park, Illinois
Let me share what I have come to know about Marklund - it is a warm and caring place. The atmosphere is like one big happy family with a warmth and coziness felt throughout the home and in every staff member and volunteer. Marklund defintely knows how to treat and appreciate volunteers.
Zurich will be back and I personally will be leading the pack as this is one of the greatest agencies to volunteer with. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity.
Z100 - 100 Ways New Project Coordinator, Zurich North America, Schaumburg, Illinois
I was a shopper at the Marklund Resale Store on Lake Street and was disappointed when they were closing several years ago. Theresa and Katie were always there to greet me when I did my looking around the store. When I saw they were looking for volunteers for the Wood Dale store, I thought I can do this one night a week. It’s right on my way home from work. John and I have worked together since the store opened. I really enjoy my time working at the store. We have many laughs and many tears together.
Even though I do not get out to the schools or home I know that I am part of the Marklund Family. I cannot donate money but I can always donate my time to the Marklund Family.
--Frances Seibel, Bensenville
We have been volunteering as a family at Marklund since Thanksgiving. It was my husband who “felt the calling” while out of work and wondering what to do with himself. We were a little apprehensive at first, not knowing what to expect, but fell in love with some many clients on our very first visit. It is now the absolute highlight of our week to spend time with our new friends. We go on outings most of the time and have so much fun. It is also very rewarding as a parent to see my 15-year-old son being so loving and patient. He talks about the clients as he would a friend. I am sure that they bring more joy to our lives then we do for them. It’s a definite win/win for all involved!
--Cathy Cozzi, & Clem and Dominick, Sugar Grove, Illinois
Why do I volunteer at Marklund . . . it's easy to state why! I am the chairperson of Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy and I visit along with my husband, Rick, and our other volunteers. . . Marian, Donna and Arlene. I have been a volunteer at Marklund for approximately 8 years.
The residents just "know" when we walk into the room with one of our dogs . . . they love having the opportunity of "walking" a dog by holding a leash while we push them in their wheelchair and we hold another leash. My husband and I have two small dogs, Rambo and Scooter . . . The residents love to take one of the dogs for a "ride" on their wheelchair while Scooter and Rambo sit on their tray. We have our own special "conversations" with the residents. An example of this is with TC. TC is an avid Cubs fan, so my husband always talks to him about the latest Cubs game . . . He kids around with Jimmy and Jack and all the residents when we visit. I like to visit with Mitch and Duance, who are blind. I place Scooter in their lap and they smile from ear to ear while "petting" Scooter. Rambo is 13 years old and Marklund truly is her life . . . everyone knows Rambo!!!!
Marian's dog is Flash . . . Donna's dog is Charlie . . . and Arlene's dog is Terra. These dogs are larger and they, too, go for "walks" with the resident's. They also sit on chairs next to the resident's and "prop" themselves on the resident's trays for a great visit.
They also "fetch" articles, which is great "dexterity" practice for the residents.
Why do I volunteer at Marklund, with my husband Rick, with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy? Simple…it is my life work :-)
--Laura Albanese, North Riverside, Illinois
High school and college students from our church have been volunteering at Marklund for several years now, coming to decorate resident doors at Christmas time and assisting with the summer softball games. These experiences, especially the softball games, have been wonderful ways for our students to be introduced to the idea that though limited in some ways, Marklund’s residents rise above challenges to engage in fun activities in unique ways. We had a lovely evening playing Bingo, one-on-one with student and resident. There was also an evening where we went for a walk on the lovely path surrounding the facility, and concluded with a water balloon toss. We are learning that even those who have trouble communicating or functioning still enjoy eye contact, a gentle touch, conversation, AND- fun stuff to do. We enjoy our time at Marklund.
--Marcia Schneider, Director of Youth and Young Adults, Congregational Church of Batavia, Batavia, Illinois
Our family has volunteered at Marklund for almost 6 years now. We really enjoy our friendships at Marklund and feel fortunate to be included in this family. Our family tradition is to assist with gift opening on Christmas Eve. My kids especially enjoy seeing old friends and making new ones. We've also been fortunate enough to participate with the Friday night baseball games for the last two years. My kids, 9, 7 & 5 all take turns playing catcher and "throwing" the ball around. My kids always look for Clint and hope to play on his team. We feel our Marklund friends are great additions to our neighborhood and enjoy being a part of residents' lives.
--Michele & Shawn Stobbe & family