Volunteering has enriched my life in more ways than I thought possible

May 29, 2024

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Marie Brigante was the primary caregiver for her mother when she started thinking about volunteering at Valley View. “During the few occasions when she needed in-house rehab, I was so impressed with the compassionate care that she received. That planted the seed to want to volunteer here,” she says. 

A lifelong resident of Morristown, New Jersey, Brigante discovered Valley View while visiting her sister, who lives in Belleville. When it came time to retire from working as a speech pathologist for 29 years, she and her mother decided to live in a cottage together in Valley View Village. 

“My wonderful mom and I were very happy moving here,” she says. And when Connie passed away at age 97, Marie suddenly found that she had time to fill. “Our CEO Nicole Sarver heard that I was interested in volunteering and talked to me about some of the opportunities here,” she remembers. “I am so thrilled that she did! After thinking about the different places where I could serve, I thought that Memory Lane would be a good fit and a good way to honor my mom.”

In the two years she has served, she says that she is so happy with her decision. “I love the residents and look forward to seeing them every week. Memory Lane is a busy place with many activities happening throughout the day. Drex Treaster, Director of Memory Lane, and the dedicated staff create an atmosphere where all voices are heard and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

One of her favorite memories is of the Longest Day event — an event recognizing Alzheimer’s Research that takes place on the longest day of the year, June 21. (In 2024, the event takes place on Saturday, June 22.)

“It was awesome seeing so many of our Memory Lane residents participating,” she says. “It was a sea of purple T-shirts and balloons. The local paper and radio station interviewed participants and many volunteers, both family members and members of the community, were on hand to help make the day a success.” 

She encourages others to volunteer. “There is great joy in serving. It has enriched my life in more ways than I thought possible. Whatever contribution I make, I get back ten-fold. Plus, it’s not a huge time commitment — it fits nicely into a schedule. Having the opportunity to make someone’s life just a little better is so worthwhile.”

“Volunteering at Valley View lets me give back in some small way to a community that I care deeply about. Moving to this beautiful campus four years ago was one of the best decisions I ever made. I am especially impressed by an administration that cares about villagers’ opinions and concerns. Valley View is a great place to live and volunteer.” 

To find out more about The Longest Day, and how to get involved, go to act.alz.org/goto/vvrc. You can find more information about volunteering here.