Margy was already a regular volunteer at The Well Community, but she knew she wanted to do more. She first heard about the numerous ways The Well serves those living with serious mental illnesses at church as Vickie Fisk, who would eventually found The Well Auxiliary, regularly shared the need for donations and volunteers. Several times Margy answered the call as she joined others from the church to serve dinner at Thursday Night Life, The Well’s weekly worship service for members.
When Margy learned that The Well needed someone to shop for groceries each week, she offered to take on that responsibility. Still, after a year of making regular treks to Walmart, she craved a more meaningful way to help. “I was more interested in The Well and wanted to find a deeper way to be involved,” she recalls.
She soon was offered a position on The Well Community’s Board of Directors and accepted. In early 2018, at the request of The Well Auxiliary President Vickie Fisk, she joined the auxiliary, and became part of the Auxiliary Board in the fall of that year.
The Well Auxiliary was formed in 2016 as a means for volunteers to serve The Well in a more structured way. Throughout her first year as part of the organization, Margy has been involved in numerous fundraisers, including a “Kendra Gives Back Party” and raising money to buy Christmas gift cards for Well Community Members. She has also continued her other volunteer services at The Well. Of particular interest has been her recent work related to the Founder’s Award, an honor bestowed on someone in the community who has made a difference in the area of mental health. “I like that kind of work and I think it’s going to be very rewarding,” she says.
As part of the Auxiliary Board Margy has been actively involved in planning the upcoming WellSpring Luncheon. This board has been busy coordinating the many details of its inaugural fundraising luncheon, including securing a speaker: Dallas Cowboys legend and Hall of Famer Charles Haley. “It will be wonderful to have someone respected in the community talk about their personal struggle, and hopefully put a face to mental illness,” Margy says.
Giving mental illnesses a face is key in increasing awareness of the challenges those struggling with them face on a daily basis. “[Those living with mental illness] tend to find that empathy and compassion are in short supply in our world,” Margy explains. “People so often think of mental illness in a way that’s just not true at all—that it’s a scary thing or that [someone dealing with a mental illness] is a person you don’t want to be around at all. If you volunteer at The Well, you find out really quickly that the way to dispel all those myths is just to get to know people.”
Margy emphasizes that members of The Well Auxiliary play the vital role of ambassador, increasing the public’s understanding of mental health and persuading them that mental health should be an integral part of health care. “Those who join the auxiliary are those who go out into the community and spread the word. … We want to create an awareness of mental illness.” She adds, “I’d love to see the stigma of mental illness be gone. I think everyone has been touched by it in some way.”
Although Margy knew a good deal about mental health challenges thanks to a career in health care and a mother who was a psychologist, her own understanding of those who live with these issues has also expanded as she’s served at The Well. Margy has been deeply impacted as she’s observed Well members develop lasting relationships that they aren’t able to elsewhere, and says the way they care for one another has surprised her the most. “They have so little, but will offer what they have to a friend. … They’re just so generous with one another,” she shares. “To see the friendships develop and the things they’re willing to do for each other is remarkable.”
As she’s gotten more involved through the board and auxiliary, Margy has continued to serve members of The Well in less formal capacities as well. She and her husband, Dale, also an auxiliary member, aim to go to The Well at least two Thursday evenings a month to have dinner with members and get to know them better, and over time they’ve seen some members become more comfortable around them and willing to open up. “You become a familiar face,” she explains.
Making connections with those struggling with mental illnesses is often a long process, but one Margy insists is worth the effort. She shares about a man who, when he first came to The Well, couldn’t make eye contact or talk to anyone. As she regularly dropped off groceries, Margy became a familiar face. Now, he’ll smile and make small talk with her. “It feels so good to make a connection with someone who didn’t want a connection with anyone,” she shares. “It’s just rewarding.”
Margy encourages anyone who cares about what happens in their community to consider joining The Well Auxiliary “to see the difference you can make in the world one person at a time.” She adds that auxiliary members themselves benefit as well. “It offers us a chance for personal growth and fulfillment from helping those in need, and you meet some really interesting people.” And, she assures those who get involved that they’ll be on the receiving end of blessing. “I don’t care what you give to it. You get more back.”
“I really believe in what the Well is doing, the ministry they have,” Margy adds. “I’m glad we can make a small bit of difference in a few lives.”
The Well Auxiliary is always open to new members! Annual dues are just $50 for an individual and $75 for a couple, and membership provides numerous ways to get involved. Learn more.
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