“I’m always being asked when our next volunteer meeting will be. What projects will we be working on? Who will we be helping next?” For the almost two decades Carolyn Kettle has called Abbey Delray her home, she has grown an unwavering passion for volunteering her time and services to those in need within the Delray Beach community.
Carolyn, who attests to the benefits of volunteering, believes that giving her time and service is not just a hobby, but a way to extend her life. “These are my golden years,” Carolyn says, “and spending my time giving back to others ensures that these years are less tarnished. I feel younger than I have in the past, as crazy as that may sound.”
Despite retiring at the age of 84, Carolyn now spends her days coordinating several volunteer opportunities for herself and over 40 other residents within the Abbey Delray community.
“There are a lot of people in the community who want to give back, to do something meaningful with their time. So, I thought, why not create a space for people to gather and do some good, together,” Carolyn says.
Through her partnership with Encore – Palm Beach County, a local organization that assists adults over the age of 50 with finding new job and volunteer opportunities, Carolyn and her group have taken on multiple volunteer projects, such as organizing care packages for CROS Ministries and putting together book kits for children through Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County.
Carolyn likens their volunteer sessions to small parties and cannot overstate the amount of joy these projects bring to the volunteers of Abbey Delray. “These projects allow us time to connect with each other, all the while helping others in need. It has become a favorite past-time here and the staff have been so supportive with our efforts.”
Carolyn is also working on future plans to extend these volunteer opportunities to Abbey Delray’s sister senior communities: Abbey Delray South and Harbour’s Edge. “My goal is to have all three communities working together to give back to our beautiful community.”
Future projects will include stocking the summer food pantry for Achievement Centers and having retired teachers living in the community teach students with disabilities how to read as part of American Heritage’s programming.
“Volunteering supports such a great quality of life, for yourself and for others,” says Carolyn. “Why stop when we can do so much for others? My days are full and rewarding, and I am motivated for what is to come.”