Karen Abramczyk began her volunteer experience with Wayne County Adult Day Center (WCADC) in the spring of 2002. She continues to give of her time during each school break. This past summer she volunteered 200-300 hours at WCADC, working directly with the participants and their caregivers.
Karen is entering her sophomore year at Lake Superior State University. Because of the time she has spent with seniors, she changed her major from education to the field of human services. Each day Karen welcomes the participants into the program offering comfort and a cup of coffee. Karen listens to her senior friends, always seems to hear everything that is asked of her, and more importantly hears what her seniors are incapable of asking. She instinctively knows when someone needs to use the restroom and will guide the participant through the necessary task, all the while allowing the participant to maintain their dignity. Karen is tuned in to every participants need and makes every effort to meet their request. It is her pleasure, to serve her “friends”. To Karen it is a privilege just being with the seniors of Wayne County.
Karen’s volunteer service is not limited to WCADC; she also participates in fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association and the Wayne County annual senior picnic. Karen often says, “Because of them [participants of WCADC] I am a better person”. When Karen’s friends and relatives ask how she is spending her summer, Karen lights up and begins to tell about her time spent with the seniors. More often than not Karen is met with the reply of “Ewe! How can you stand that?” or “It must be so sad and depressing” or “I could never do what you are doing.” On the contrary, Karen states she has “never had so much fun in my life.”
Caregivers are even surprised to learn Karen is not paid for the work she does and yet she continues to show up with a smile. Karen believes she is lucky to know the senior participants for who they are. Karen takes delight in getting to know the person.