Community Living is lucky to have many stellar volunteers - learn more about them below!
Cort, a member of Community Living’s Professional Advisory Network, has been volunteering in the community since his time in the Kappa Alpha Fraternity as an undergrad at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Cort quickly learned that volunteering gave him a sense of satisfaction and balance in life.
An attorney with The Barklage Law Firm, LLC, Cort learned about the Professional Advisory Network through Todd Gentry, another Professional Advisory Network member. The Professional Advisory Network assists Community Living in raising awareness and increasing donations by opening doors in the community, networking and providing advice in areas of expertise. Getting the chance to volunteer, he was thrilled at the opportunity to join the network in 2008.
Cort enjoys sharing his ideas and working with the diversity of professionals that are on the Professional Advisory Network. As a member of the Professional Advisory Network he also loves getting the chance to volunteer at fundraising events for Community Living, especially the Big Kahuna Bartender Challenge for Disabilities where he has been a team leader of the Professional Advisory Network and the Young Professionals team.
“The Big Kahuna is a fun event. It gains momentum every year and is a great fundraiser for Community Living,” says Cort.
While he loves being involved with Community Living, Cort enjoys his time as a lawyer and helping out the community with his law practice. Cort’s practice focuses on estate planning, trust work, guardianships and conservatorships for adults and minors. His practice also assists with estate planning for individuals with special needs, including special needs trusts, Medicaid planning and asset protection.
Outside of working and volunteering, Cort likes to spend outdoors and with his girlfriend. He’s also working on renovating a home that was built in 1880 in downtown St. Charles.
To say that Mary Jane is a committed volunteer is an understatement – she has volunteered for Community Living’s Adult Recreation Services program for over 25 years! Mary Jane started volunteering after her son, Glenn, enrolled in the Adult Recreation program. Over the years she’s assisted with trips, arts and crafts, and a variety of other activities. Today you can find the avid bowler helping participants master the sport every week.
“I help them with whatever they need,” said Mary Jane. “If they are having a problem, I try to show them how to improve.”
Working with so many Adult Recreation Services participants over the years and helping them learn new skills has been extremely rewarding to Mary Jane. “It always makes you feel good knowing that you can help,” said Mary Jane. “And they get a kick out of it, too, when they do good at what you are trying to show them.”
Mary Jane was honored with Community Living’s Adult Recreation Services Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009 and received the Sports Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011. It’s no wonder since Adult Recreation Services staff really depend on Mary Jane!
Lori and Fred
Lori started volunteering for Community Living in 2001 after reading an article about volunteering opportunities in the community that referenced Community Living’s Adult Recreation Services program. The variety of activities offered by the program matched Lori’s interests, so she decided to give it a try. After volunteering for a few activities, Lori was hooked.
Over 11 years later, Lori still loves to volunteer and many of Community Living’s participants have become lifelong friends. “The participants are always so happy, which makes me happy,” said Lori. “I really enjoy their company.”
Lori has assisted with the program’s aerobics classes; snow skiing; day outings to Grants Farm, St. Louis Zoo, and Six Flags; craft classes; dances, and more. A few years ago, Lori got her husband, Fred, to join in on the fun. He volunteers with snow skiing as well as softball, basketball, and the fishing derby. “He just loves to see the joy on their faces when they hit or catch. He gets a big thrill out of seeing them doing well and having so much fun,” said Lori.
If you think it’s hard to find time to volunteer, don’t say this to Lori and Fred. The couple runs a local auto repair business, so they definitely have their hands full! The number of activities offered by Adult Recreation Services and the variety of times allows them to fit volunteering into their busy schedules.
“Lori and Fred are a great asset to the Adult Recreation program,” said Jodi Darrohn, Director of Adult Recreation Services. “They are always willing to help out when they can. They don’t just sit back and watch when they volunteer. They are amazing with the participants. They interact and take time to get to know all the participants, and they are great role models for other volunteers in this program.”