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Rachel Sanborn has been brightening days here for decades. Come meet one of the volunteers that make Circle Center such a special place.
What do you do at Circle Center?
I am what the participants call the “Dear Abby Lady” … I go in every Wednesday at 3 pm … Read the past weeks’ Dear Abby columns, but with a twist. At the end of every letter that’s been written to Dear Abby, I ask the participants what they think … what advice would they give the person writing in. Sometimes, the answers are better than Abby’s answers! Often, we conclude Abby was off base. At times, opinion is split, so we take a vote.”How many of you think the wife is right?” for example and “How many of you agree with the husband?”
How long have you volunteered here and why did you start?
My mother attended the Center for 12 years prior to her death in 2000; I’ve been volunteering ever since … so 18 years as a volunteer and 12 years before that for a total of 30 years of being involved with the Center. I started volunteering because my mother attended and it was such a part of her life and my life that after her death, I couldn’t fathom not seeing the staff and interacting with the participants. The faces have changed … all the staff except one is gone and there are no participants left who were there when my mother attended, but the Center’s the same … all the things my mother and I loved about the Center are still in place.
What is your favorite thing about volunteering here? Any favorite stories?
My favorite thing about volunteering is interacting with the participants. They constantly surprise me (sometimes shock me) with their reactions and comments. For those who don’t read Dear Abby regularly, the topics are cutting edge … the letters range from concerns about tattoos, body piercings, drug abuse, all our modern day issues up to and including transgender concerns. I don’t usually read the columns beforehand, so there are times when I’m ready to read the column, sneak a look and go “oh, no, maybe we better skip this one”; that usually elicits a “NO, read it, read it” … and I usually do. These older adults are still adults; I think we tend to forget that sometimes. Some of these issues were unknown in their era, but as one participant put it just last week, “We have to live in today’s world.” This coming from an eighty-some year old. I love it.
And a little about yourself – what would we find you doing in your spare time?
I love genealogy research. Love to spend a whole afternoon getting lost in one of these searches. There’s so much on the internet now, I can do most of the research at home (unlike the old days when you had to hoof it to the courthouses and libraries).
Also love reading biographies. I just finished Mrs. Ike (Mamie Eisenhower) and am re-reading Personal History (Katharine Graham). Just got Bunny Mellon and started it today.
Do you have a pet? If so, tell us a bit about it.
Have an orange tabby … Skittles. She’s 10 yo and still “skittles” when she’s not doing the mad dashes.
What is your idea of a great celebration meal or treat?
Hmmmmmmm appetizers and salads I guess are my favorite foods … calamari … Oysters Rockefeller … a good Caesar salad. These are things I don’t make at home (except occasionally, a Caesar salad) … so they’re real treats …
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