Five Reasons to Volunteer at the Well Community

Are you looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of individuals dealing with serious mental illnesses? Consider serving at the Well Community! Whether you’re seeking to volunteer on your own, with family or friends, or as part of a church or social group, there are numerous reasons to consider giving your time at the Well—including the five below shared by those who’ve given it a try.

You’ll gain understanding of the impact of mental illness.

So often, misconceptions shape perceptions of mental illness far more than facts. But spending time with people who live with these disorders is the best way to gain a better understanding. Margy Philips, who’s volunteered at the Well Community in numerous capacities and served on the Well’s board, shares, “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.”

It can benefit your family for the long term.

Opportunities to lend a hand at the Well include options for all ages, and numerous families have discovered the benefits of volunteering together, including some that last for a lifetime. Corrie (Coleman) Aune, whose parents brought her to the Well Community to serve with them when she was a young child, shares that being at the Well taught her to be at ease in a diverse community. “I remember thinking it was nothing out of the ordinary, “she recalls. “It really did shape the way I view the world.” She encourages other families to serve, explaining that the skills, such as empathy, that children develop through volunteering at the Well will benefit them for a lifetime. “It’s a really rich experience that will have a big impact on kids.”

Many volunteers like Carol Arbuckle have gotten multiple generations involved in serving at the Well. Each of Carol’s four grown children, as well as her grandchildren, have enjoyed joining her in preparing meals for Well Community members. “We feel like we’re teaching them that there are people out there who struggle, but they’re people just like us,” she shares. “That’s been a neat gift to our family.”

It’s an opportunity to give and experience God’s love.

Serving at the Well is a way to show love to individuals who often face unkindness and discrimination due to disorders they never asked for. And this love can be transformative, both for members and for those who volunteer. Pastor Nita Allen of Oak Cliff Christian Church, who’s given the message at Thursday Night Life, shares, “When we believe we are loved, we are capable of loving. … All people, no matter our age, see the hand of God in other people.” She’s witnessed this firsthand as members of her church have given their time at the Well Community. “There’s not a member of our congregation who’s served at the Well without being ministered to,” she says.

Rev. Dave Larlee, who’s also preached the Thursday Night Life message on numerous occasions, shares his similar experience: “When you go to the Well, they just love you. The love is so tangible … I walk away with such a sense of God’s love. I’m so humbled and glad to be there.”

You can make a real difference.

Volunteers come back to the Well time and again because they see the impact they’re able to have in the lives of people who are often ignored and stigmatized. That’s been the case for James Barclay, who began lending a hand at the Well Community after decades in law enforcement in Southern Dallas and has faithfully served ever since. “There was and is nothing like it around. It is hands-on and a place for personal relationships with the members,” he explains. “You never know when was the last time they had a positive interaction with a human. Not only are they getting food, they’re getting a safe place where they can socialize with like-minded people.” He adds, “With only three hours a week, you can make a pretty big difference in somebody’s life.”

You’ll gain more than you give.

Well Community volunteers often marvel at the blessings they glean from interacting with Well members. “It’s an honor and privilege to work with the Well,” James shares. “Sometimes I think I’m getting a greater benefit than [the members] are.”

Like many who serve at the Well, Rev. Larlee has been blessed by getting to know members. “Becoming their friend is a great thing,” he says, emphasizing his gratitude for members’ acceptance of him without judgement. “I thought I went to help them, but they help me. … I get so much more from them than I’ll ever give.”

Ways to Serve

Well Community volunteers repeat a common theme: Just give serving at the Well a try! Consider these opportunities to get involved at the Well Community:

  • Lead an activity, such as a craft, game or song time, at the Community Life Center.
  • Teach a life skill such as computer proficiency, money management or personal health care.
  • Bring a meal for the residents of Jacob’s House, the Well’s boarding home for men.
  • Assist with a spiritual retreat, including helping with snacks, song times, crafts or devotions.
  • Lend a hand with a holiday party or other special event for members.
  • Help to plan or host a fundraiser.

To volunteer for any of the above, contact us!

Also, consider helping with THURSDAY NIGHT LIFE, the Well’s weekly worship service for members:

  • Share a message or song.
  • Donate and prepare dinner.
  • Serve dinner.

To sign up for Thursday Night Life opportunities, click here.

As Suzan, who regularly prepares meals for Jacob’s House with her family, says, “It’s just a matter of dipping your toe in.” She adds, “This is bringing us such joy and there’s a real need.”

Learn more about volunteering at the Well Community.

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