Kerry Schafer – From RN to Consistent Volunteer 

It takes a village, literally, to keep operations moving forward here at Neighbors Who Care and our volunteers are absolutely our super power. Each week, scores of our clients get the extra help they need to enjoy an independent lifestyle at home. But did you know volunteers also help with many other functions that do not include specifically driving our clients or providing another of our direct services to clients? The talent in our community is rich and when someone tells us how they would like to help us with operations or other functions, many times it is because they arrive with special skills accumulated during their working years. 

Kerry Schafer is the perfect example of a volunteer who assists us with a special function that really helps us aim for delivering excellent services 100 percent of the time.

A former RN, Kerry worked with patients in Sun Lakes prior to retiring back in 2018. Already a person with a heart for volunteering, Kerry reached out to us after moving to Sun Lakes in 2021 to see how her background could be put to use toward our mission of helping people age in place. That’s when our resident talent scout Verna encountered Kerry and believed she could help Bonnie Kosar, our social worker, to be certain to help new clients find what they need and share any questions as they are getting started in our program.

“Often the clients will answer and say they are good to go and no further check-ins are needed, while others really like to have a little chat and get to know me,” Kerry explains, adding that on a few occasions, something was not quite right in a conversation with an elderly client. When that happens she refers them client back to Bonnie to check in on them and possibly stop by for a visit to see that they are OK. Kerry is one more “touch” to our clients allowing us to oversee their ongoing wellbeing whenever possible.

When Verna pitched the idea of a job that comprised checking in on clients by phone during the first four weeks after being onboarded as a new client, Kerry agreed and joined us in 2022. She had worked with hospitals in recidivism programs before that were designed to help patients from re-entering hospitals after a discharge. Neighbors Who Care currently interacts with Dignity Health in this same way by agreeing to receive referrals from the discharge staff at Chandler Regional Hospital to navigate any immediate needs after a discharge to help keep them on the path to recovering, avoiding potential relapses and readmissions.

Kerry was an RN for 40 years and likes continuing to give back now that her nursing days are over. She enjoys traveling to visit her grandson in Florida and her Dad in Iowa as well as other travels to visit friends across the country. When she’s not volunteering or traveling, she is an avid pickleball player and enjoys connecting with others to play. She likes the flexibility she enjoys in volunteering this way with NWC especially the part of making her own hours and doing the calls from home. 

If you would like to explore volunteer opportunities with our clients or others that are more office-based or home-based, call us today at 480-895-7133 X170 or email us at info@neighborswhocare.com.