To celebrate 2020 National Volunteer Appreciation Week we are shining a light on the people that inspire us every day through their devotion to the DHR mission. Follow along to hear Genie’s story…
What motivated you to volunteer with Down Home Ranch?
I was lucky enough to have a great sister, Margaret, who had Down syndrome, and we found Ranch Camp in the summer of 2006. She loved coming to Ranch Camp, and it was often the highlight of her year! The first year she attended, I dove head first into various volunteer opportunities and I was soon invited to join the Board of Directors. Serving on the Board allowed me to see the extent of the programs and the dreams of those at the Ranch, both the Ranchers and staff. I felt determined to be a part of the success of the Ranch.
What makes volunteering at Down Home Ranch a meaningful use of your time?
The atmosphere of the Ranch is always ‘Can Do!!’ and ‘Lean Forward!’. A message that’s positive and uplifting, both qualities that I hope we can all find in our everyday lives. I always feel that I am doing something useful when I volunteer at DHR, whether participating in the Annual Texas Chainsaw Manicure or working in the greenhouses. Most importantly, I always enjoy working alongside the Ranchers.
What is the biggest personal benefit that you’ve received as a volunteer?
Beyond a doubt, it’s the friendships I have made over the years with the Ranchers, staff and other volunteers. It’s a blessing to come to the Ranch and always feel the warmth and love of people who have happy lives and are doing valuable work. It’s quite amazing to feel part of the DHR Gang!
What do you wish other people knew about working with individuals with disabilities?
Courage, motivation, persistence and joyfulness are a few of the admirable qualities I see each time I am at the Ranch. So many attributes that make me proud of the Ranchers, inspired by them and grateful that they are part of my life. The Ranchers are a special group of people. ‘Able and willing to work on the Ranch’ sets them apart, and they live up to their potential in this supportive environment. My sister Margaret was my best friend, and I see so much of her in many of the Ranchers.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at the Ranch?
You will come away from the experience feeling positive, uplifted and amazed at what a wonderful life the Ranch provides!