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CLINE: Snellville's Young has a volunteer's spirit

Snellville Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Platt, from left, Wanda Young and Senior Center supervisor Kathi Garguilo are pictured after Young was honored as Volunteer of the Year at a luncheon at the Senior Center. (Special Photo)

Snellville Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Platt, from left, Wanda Young and Senior Center supervisor Kathi Garguilo are pictured after Young was honored as Volunteer of the Year at a luncheon at the Senior Center. (Special Photo)

When she was office administrator for the United Way of America’s Southeast region, Wanda Young wasn’t sure about volunteerism. She said her thought at the time that it was more about filling time than anything else, so she concentrated on her job and left the volunteering to others.

But things changed at the United Way and then in her own life when she retired in 1997. From there she jumped straight into the deep end when it came to volunteering and discovered it’s a two-way street — as much as she helped others by donating her time, she also helped herself.

“It’s great to use the skills we’ve had all of our lives,” the Snellville resident said. “It’s great to be needed. That is a real blessing.

“As we get older there are so few things we feel like we can do any more. (Volunteering) helps keep us going, it really does.”

Young, 78, is a fixture in the Snellville area. She volunteers for Eastside Medical Center’s Health to You program and is a mainstay at the Snellville Senior Center, helping man the front desk and organizing the monthly bingo game. She also continues to be part of the Bob Barr Community Band, playing alto saxaphone and making the trip once a week to her former hometown of Columbus for practices and events.

She keeps every bit as busy in retirement as she did when she was working full time. And the lady who once didn’t think much of volunteering has received multiple honors for her work, being recognized on three occassions with a presidential citation for logging more than 500 volunteer hours in a year. Recently, Young was also honored as Volunteer of the Year by Snellville’s Park and Recreation Department.

“Words cannot do justice enough to the amount of help she gives and we want to express our sincerest level of gratitude for all she has done and continues to do for the city of Snellville residents and visitors alike,” Parks and Recreation Department Director Lisa Platt said.

“On such a tight budget, we are often faced with choosing what services we can provide for our citizens and visitors to the Senior Center, and which ones must be delayed. Because Wanda so very graciously gives her own time, staff can concentrate their time to duties that would otherwise have to be delayed. Mrs. Young is always cheerful and ready to serve anyone who enters the center.”

Young said she enjoys the fellowship of working at the Senior Center, and has simple advice for fellow retirees who may be considering volunteer work.

“Staying involved is probably the best medicine any of us can have,” she said.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.