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Got a minute--or a couple of hours?

Now that you are retired or are working part time or are off work for summer break, you might be wondering what you are going to do with all of those extra hours. Among Friends Dementia Social Respite Program needs you--especially since we are adding a second day of service starting June 13th.

You can volunteer only in the mornings from 9 to noon or only in the afternoons from noon to 3 or for both mornings and afternoons. You can come on Tuesdays only or on Thursdays only, or you can come both days if you wish. If you can only volunteer one day a week for two weeks a month, that's fine also. If you are going to be gone on vacation, we can accommodate your plans. If you have a hobby or a pet that we would all enjoy, come once a month or every so often and share it with us. If you want to help us serve lunch and guide participants from our activity room to the dining room or move tables and chairs in the morning or afternoon, we are always looking for a friendly volunteer willing to help us. We will gladly accept volunteer help in whatever length of time or type of help you can offer.

The best part about volunteering at Among Friends is that you don't need special skills. We provide an orientation and training for all new volunteers so they will feel comfortable with individuals experiencing dementia. What you can bring is your talent, your kindness, and your sense of joy.


Bob has been a regular volunteer with Among Friends since we opened our doors in 2017. His favorite activity is sharing a daily poem that he carefully selects and reads to the group. Bob has a background in economics and spent his career in sales, but he is helps with any challenge whether it is creating an autumn table decoration, playing a game of dominoes, participating in chair yoga, or having a laugh with participants.

Deb grew up on a farm in Hudson and returned there after her retirement from a 40-year career as an elementary teacher in central Wisconsin. Now she is sharing some of her teaching skills and knowledge as well as her attentive care to our participants.

One day Deb may be helping Emma stain pieces of wood for the iPad/tablet stands that we made. Another day she may be supervising cookie decorations or helping participants in a game of tabletop hockey.

Deb also plays a mean washboard when the occasion calls for it. She is ready for anything our participants might want to--a cup of coffee in the morning, a quiet conversation, or a song that they can share.

Julia is also a longtime volunteer. She spent her working career as program assistant at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, interacting with administrators, professors, international graduate students, and homegrown undergraduates. Now she brings her broad interests and conversational skills to Among Friends.

Julia is as comfortable serving high tea to participants on one of our special days as she is singing showtunes.

Martha has been our primary music maker since Among Friends welcomed its first participants. Her repertoire includes songs for every occasion. On July 4th, she leads to the group in verses of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "It's a Grand Old Flag." At Christmas, all the favorite holiday songs are played and sung with joy. Just for fun, some days might feature a cowboy theme, another might include theme songs from old tv shows and movies. Martha has even included tributes to Elvis, Frank Sinatra, and Harry Belafonte.

Martha has also recently served some months as program coordinator before returning to her true passion, music director.

Patti spent many years as a nurse. After retirement, she and her husband moved to River Falls to be closer to family. Shortly thereafter, her husband passed away. Not knowing many people in the area, Patti found Among Friends a good way to meet new people, spend time creating positive relationships with our participants, and having a good time in the process. Here she helps Delores package dog food to be distributed at the food pantry, one of our monthly service projects.

Patti's energetic nature allows her to jump in wherever needed. String painting? She's on it. Tabletop bowling? She's there to help. Guiding participants into the elevator for lunch or a little sun in the garden or to meet baby goats? Patti is right there.

Karen, retired speech pathologist and hobby farmer, brings her baby goats every spring to everyone's delight. Phyllis, grandma and homemaker, is Grace's daily jigsaw puzzle partner as well as one of our most valued lunch servers. Retired St. Paul safety supervisor Marshall uses his woodworking skills to help our participants create beautiful iPad stands and other craft and art projects. He also helps set up games and activities, chats with "the guys" in the program, and does whatever needs to be done. Our new volunteers Marg, whose working life was in behavioral health, shares her love of the guitar and singing with our participants, and Donna, whose background is in finance, is rolling up her sleeves to help with art projects or games, lunch, moving participants from one location to another, or anything needed.

Retired UWRF agronomy professor Lou Greub visits Among Friends once a month with his concertina. Having taken up the instrument after age 50 and teaching himself to play, Lou belongs to a musical group, the Polka Notes, that plays at nursing homes and other venues to share his love of the concertina and polka music. He has also brought an Alphorn (also known as an Alpenhorn) and demonstrated how it is played. His lively tunes are always a hit with volunteers and participants alike.

If you have some time to spare, a hobby or skill to share, a wish to serve, and a desire just to have some fun, contact us at or (715) 293-2561. We are open on Tuesdays 9 am-3 pm, and we will also be offering services a second day of the week beginning on Thursday, June 6th.

Right now we have two special volunteer needs:

  • men who would like to volunteer since we have a good number of men in our program

  • someone who likes to dance and would lead our participants in a little bit of rhythmic movement


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