Friday’s Volunteer is Learning and Giving

You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “when God closes a door he opens a window,” but here at TSCOR we like to keep the door open – especially the door to learning.

Like many things at TSCOR, our lifelong learning program, Open University, would not exist without volunteers. They’re involved in every aspect. Volunteers plan sessions, recruit instructors, find speakers, teach courses, do administrative housekeeping, get the word out, greet students and run a/v setup. At lunch they even serve the cake! A pandemic didn’t even slow them down. They took to Zoom and kept going (except for serving cake!). It is yet another example of how much our volunteers give back – to the individual and the community.

Hal, a volunteer instructor, says, “One of the things I enjoy most about teaching at Open University is seeing all the wonderful people attend with their sense of enthusiasm for learning a variety of subjects – history, languages, current events and more. They are always appreciative of the work the instructor has committed to presenting her or his subject. And speaking of work, personally, I learn so much more than any of the students by the interesting process of developing a class.”

But the most important thing Open University volunteers do? They keep the door open.

Happy National Volunteer Week, TSCOR volunteers! You make a difference. Thank you.

Thursday’s Volunteers Have Cars That Go

If the doctor telling you to “use it or lose it” doesn’t quite inspire you, then follow the lead of TSCOR’s volunteer drivers – though you’ll have to get in your car to do it – because they take that theory to a whole new level. Their theory is “move it or lose it!”

Part of TSCOR’s mission involves service to our peers and TSCOR drivers have it down. They had to adapt during the pandemic, but still they serve.

Driver, Daymond, says, “Grocery shopping for our clients has indeed had its challenges during the pandemic. In my case, I have been shopping for one of our clients who happens to be sight impaired. He is very appreciative of this service which gives him a chance to socialize and provide him with a sense of routine. I call him the day before I shop, and he dictates his grocery list. On the day I shop, we meet in the lobby of the building in which he lives. He gives me his shopper’s card and an EBT card, so no cash is exchanged. I shop solo per the Shepherd Center’s current protocols and return with the groceries to the lobby. Upon returning his cards and receipt, I use the hand sanitizer provided. I know he would like to accompany me on a shopping trip, but current protocols prevent that. Grocery shopping for this client has been successful, not just in providing the food he requests, but also in the friendship that it has created between the two of us. He always calls me later in the day to tell me that he has put everything away, thanks me for the shopping, and says how he appreciates the friendship. This leaves me with a good feeling and a sense of accomplishment, two ingredients of volunteerism.”

Now that, folks, is inspiration through motion. How do you like them apples, doctor?

Happy National Volunteer Week, TSCOR volunteers! You make a difference. Thank you.

Wednesday’s Volunteer is Well-Disposed

Well-disposed? Maybe that’s not a trending word, but it definitely applies to TSCOR volunteers in that they have “a positive, sympathetic, or friendly attitude toward someone or something.” And that “someone or something” is TSCOR’s mission and the community it serves.

The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond’s mission – older adults staying active and independent through lifelong learning and service – is brought to life by its volunteers. This past year, volunteers moved our lifelong learning programs online and organized over 100 classes, lectures and speakers (though feeling well-disposed towards Zoom is a horse of a different color), and provided nearly 600 service calls to their peers including rides to medical appointments, friendly calls and no-contact grocery delivery.

Our volunteers often say they get more out of it than what they put into it, but their efforts have a ripple effect. Students and clients benefit, too, as do their neighbors, friends and family. In short, volunteers benefit not only the individual but the community around them. That’s not just well-disposed, that’s exponentially well-disposed.

Happy National Volunteer Week, TSCOR volunteers! You make a difference. Thank you.

Tuesday’s Volunteer is Full of Grace

When TSCOR temporarily suspended client transportation services due to the pandemic, drives were replaced with friendly calls. These calls kept clients in touch with TSCOR and gave drivers a new way to volunteer. Here’s one of these “grace-full” connections:

Volunteer, Beth, says, “My first friendly call was to Libby, whom I have never met. We talked for half an hour. She was most appreciative of the call. And what an amazing lady! She’s 94 years old, lives independently in her own home and loves to garden. In fact, she had ordered plants from Strange’s, which were to be delivered in the next few days, and she would be planting by herself! I learned she has five children and I wish I could remember how many grandchildren. In fact, I figured out that I went to high school with one of her sons! Our conversation certainly put a smile on my face! And I can’t wait for our drives to resume, so I can actually meet her in person and take her to her next appointment!

Happy National Volunteer Week, TSCOR volunteers! You make a difference. Thank you.

Monday’s Volunteer is Fair of Face

COVID-19 changed the face of everything. Including TSCOR. But thanks to our volunteers, we found a way to go on. The client services and education committee members along with the board and COVID-19 task force met many times to forge the path ahead. Everything had to change: how volunteers drove clients to medical appointments; how clients got groceries; how students attended Open University; how teachers and speakers connected with students. Everything changed and we adapted because TSCOR’s volunteers made it possible. They are the face of TSCOR and it is indeed fair.

Happy National Volunteer Week, TSCOR volunteers! You make a difference. Thank you.

National Volunteer Week Starts Today

Today, Sunday, April 18, is the start of National Volunteer Week. The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond is powered by volunteers. We have a small staff of 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees. The rest of it runs on volunteer power. To celebrate and thank TSCOR’s many volunteers, we’ll be making a weeklong series of posts about what our volunteers do and the difference they make in our community. Happy National Volunteer Week, TSCOR volunteers!

Ready to get out of the house?

This winter provided us with a case of cabin fever like no other (even snow in RVA doesn’t keep us housebound for so long). Thankfully spring has sprung and the travel committee has a blooming good reason for you to get out of the house. Find those sneakers and go with TSCOR on a guided walking tour of Shockoe Bottom! We’ll cover approximately twelve blocks – about 1.5 easy walking miles with no hills to climb. See Lumpkin’s Slave Jail, City Planation, Mason’s Hall, The Old Stone House and the Kanawha Canal Walk. As a special welcome back promotion, the tour is $15 for TSCOR members and non-members. So come on out, bring a friend and breathe some fresh spring air. See those friendly faces and interesting places in person!

A Walking Tour of Shockoe Bottom, Tuesday, May 11 at 10 am. See complete details here.

Register by Tuesday, May 4. Register and pay online here.

The Spring Open University Schedule Is Here!

Spring doesn’t officially begin until Saturday, but we’ve already set our clocks up, the birds are singing and the daffodils are coming up, so what better way to help things along than by announcing the arrival of the spring Open University schedule?

Classes begin Monday, April 5. See the schedule here. Register online here.

And please take some time to share the Open University schedule with friends and family near and far. Let’s all spring forward together.

Open University Starts This Monday

Hope you didn’t put those thinking caps too far out of reach, because OU starts this Monday, Jan. 18. To see the schedule visit

Lunch & Life begins the following week on Wednesday, Jan. 27, in order to allow everyone time to watch the presidential inauguration on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Monday is also Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Perhaps it is fitting that OU begins in conjunction with this day as Dr. King valued education and believed in its importance for the individual and for society.

We hope to see you Monday at the OU!

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

TSCOR Bids Adieu to Lifelong Learning Coordinator

We are sad to report that Erin Reibel, Lifelong Learning Coordinator for The Shepherd’s Center of Richmond, will be leaving us on Friday, Jan. 15 to accept a position with Union Presbyterian Seminary, where she will be leading innovation hubs for children’s spirituality research.

Erin would like all of you to know that she truly enjoyed her time working with everyone at TSCOR. And we would like Erin to know how much we value her contributions to Open University and Lunch & Life – especially during the pandemic. Our ability to continue these programs online is due in large part to her expertise, patience and perseverance.

Congratulations to Erin on her exciting new opportunity! We wish her all the best.