I recently came across The Starfish Story, by Loren Eiseley, while cleaning out leftover files from my predecessor. This story shows how just one person doing a good deed can make a difference in someone’s life. It reminded me how on a daily basis the volunteers at Senior Services make a difference in clients’ lives. From a Meals on Wheels driver calling 911 for a client that was in distress, a transportation driver volunteering through the pandemic to ensure a client got to their dialysis appointments, a handyman volunteer installing a railing so a client who has Parkinson’s can get up his stairs without his wife worrying that he will fall, or a Health Benefits Assistance volunteer saving a client over $400 a month after reviewing their Medicare plan and assisting them with getting qualified for assistance programs. I could go on and on filling up the newspaper with so many more examples of how the volunteers at Senior Services continue to change the lives of the clients we serve, however, I won’t, I will just say thank you!
The Starfish Story
Adapted from “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977)
Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so he walked faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.
He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”
Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”
At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”
If you weren’t already aware, April is National Volunteer Month, a month to celebrate volunteering and to express appreciation to those that volunteer. As the new Manager of Volunteers at Senior Services, I am in constant awe of how our volunteers step up daily to assist clients. Please know that each life you touch matters, even if it is only one! You make a difference and we would not be able to fulfill our mission without you. Thank you for all that you do, not only this month but every month throughout the year!!
by Allison Rossi Utter, Volunteer & Community Outreach Manager