Volunteer Work Fosters Friendship For Active Adults
“Seasoned volunteer” doesn’t even begin to describe Miriam Colimore. She has been on the volunteer circuit for more than 37 years. The wife of a macho Italian, who did not want her to work, and the mother of four, Miriam found her calling helping residents at a local nursing care center.
For the past two years, Miriam has faithfully visited Idella Nichols, a resident of Stella Maris, a nursing and rehabilitation center in Timonium, MD. Miriam visits Idella every Wednesday and offers assistance with various tasks. Idella has been a resident of the community for more than 10 years. Due to the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis, she has lost the ability to walk and can no longer use her hands. Miriam’s help allows Idella to complete tasks that would otherwise be impossible.
They were paired together when Idella requested assistance in writing her Christmas cards. However, Miriam’s help did not end with the holiday season. During her weekly visits, she writes letters and cards and runs errands for Idella.
A former elementary school librarian of 33 years and a mother of one, Idella is not accustomed to being idle. Upon retirement from the Baltimore City School System, she became the assistant administrator of a senior citizen housing complex, a position that she held for 14 years. Despite her demanding careers, Idella has always kept a busy social calendar and maintained a wide circle of friends.
She remains a member of the Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore and is also in contact with many of her friends from the past. Idella’s correspondence is voluminous. She is in contact with numerous high school classmates, fellow church members, and friends. Today, Miriam is her link to her past life and a world beyond the walls of Stella Maris.
As the months passed and Miriam’s visits continued, the women’s relationship grew into a beautiful friendship. Now, in addition to writing correspondence, they reminisce and share stories about their families.
“This relationship means the world to me,” says Idella. “Miriam helps me keep in touch with my friends, family, and contemporaries who are my age and can’t drive anymore. Her visit is the highlight of my week”
The feeling is mutual. Miriam says, “Visiting Idella means a great deal to me. It’s much more meaningful to me to do something for her than for myself.”