Resident and Volunteer Nazareth House, San Rafael, CA USA

Volunteers play a big role in the everyday routine at Nazareth House San Rafael.

Residents have come to know them as extended family members and that’s okay with Don Miller, friend to many. When he’s not making the residents laugh at his antics, the entertainer drafts a pianist and leads a songfest of old tunes.

Being here makes him happy, he says, whether it’s singing, conversing with residents or sorting the mail. He drops by several times a week and looks for someone or some task to make a difference. Don’s been around for four years and plans on dropping by for as long as he’s needed. And that, say staff, will be for a long, long time.

Joanne Testa joined the House’s Volunteer Auxiliary 11 years ago and gladly takes on any task that needs doing. Residents say they feel comfortable asking Joanne for help and sometimes they just want to sit and talk. She has a reputation as a great listener with a hearty laugh.

Give Joanne a job and know that it will be done with love, patience and care. “ I love volunteering, both staff and residents are so friendly and appreciative of everything I do for them." It makes her feel needed, she says, adding that it’s probably the best feeling in the world. 

An active Volunteer Auxiliary helps ensure that the day-to-day activities run smoothly; volunteers also sponsor and host a variety of  special events for the residents.

“There are many reasons behind my desire to volunteer at Nazareth House,” Claire Miller said, adding that the first and foremost reason was “to do His work and be His hands whenever and wherever possible.”

Volunteers can be spotted delivering mail to the rooms, answering phones, and directing visitors.  They enjoy running bingo games, the gift shop, engaging in conversation during hosted cocktail hours or continental breakfasts.

Have some place you need to go and no way to get there? Transportation to local appointments can be arranged through our Volunteer Auxiliary drivers program.