Judy and Jim Goodwin have been volunteers with the Southwest Interfaith Neighborhood Outreach Program for 19 years and 7 years respectively. Southwest Interfaith is a non-profit organization that provides services for older adults in need. The mission of SW Interfaith is to help older adults remain independent in their homes or apartments. Jim and Judy volunteer tirelessly three to nine hours a week escorting the elderly to their medical appointments, to the grocery store and helping with minor home repairs. Judy also volunteers in the SW Interfaith office twice a month answering phone calls and matching volunteers with elderly clients. Both she and Jim are always willing and ready to help when asked; no task is too great! Judy states that she has a desire to be “unselfish” and share her good life and Jim wants to help others and to get to know a variety of people.
Judy and Jim are members of Adoration Lutheran Church in Greenfield. They are involved with Active Adoration Angels Senior Group that meets once a month. Judy is a past president of the group and was instrumental in founding the group whose purpose within their congregation is to socialize with members by organizing trips and entertainment events, to donate SHARE baskets to shut-ins during holidays, and to prepare meals for those who are ill or have been hospitalized. Jim and Judy are also involved in the different ministries at Adoration Church. Judy is a member of the Parish Council, Social Ministry Committee, and represents her church as a Board member of SW Interfaith. Jim is active on the Buildings and Grounds committee, which maintains the property, and the Evangelism committee where he is involved in fund raising to support the various outreach programs in the congregation.
The Goodwins have been members of the Habitat for Humanity program for the past 5 years. They have participated in local and national projects where they assumed many different duties that resulted in the construction of new homes. In 2006, they spent 2 weeks in Kentucky where they joined groups from across the country to build homes. Through the Lutheran Relief Services/ELCA, Jim and Judy were part of team that went to Biloxi, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. They spent five days at Camp Biloxi helping to repair, reconstruct and provide support for the victims of the disaster. Their duties varied from sorting clothing to preparing food to putting a new roof on the kitchen to cleaning away debris. They are interested in going back to help those people who are still working to get back into their homes.
Judy also volunteers at the 3rd World Shoppe, which is located at 5305 W. Capitol Drive in Milwaukee. The Shoppe has items that are for sale from over 42 countries. The proceeds go directly to the participating countries. Judy has a set shift once a month does presentations at sites all over the metropolitan area and helps with inventory as needed. For the past 2 years Jim and Judy have participated in Make A Difference Day coordinated by the Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee. The day is set aside to help seniors get their homes and yards ready for the winter. Jim and Judy spent the better part of a Saturday raking and/or mowing lawns, and washing windows for seniors in their area.
Through the Elder Hostel Service Project in the Little Rock, AR area, the Goodwins volunteered for a week working on a Heifer Project ranch. It was a week of hard, physical work building and repairing fences, landscaping and caring for herds of horses. The Heifer Project is a global movement of people taking action to end hunger and create sustainable communities around the world giving families a source of food rather than short-term relief. For the past five years, Jim and Judy have been part of the group that answers phones and takes pledges to support the Public Television Channel during the Channel 10 Auction.
Judy and Jim have helped deliver meals on major holidays to apartments of low-income elderly people through a program sponsored by Community Projects. As the Volunteer Coordinator at SW Interfaith, I am addressing the following categories with Jim and Judy’s involvement with our agency.
With 415 active older adult clients there is a great need for volunteers. There is no public transportation in the southwest communities that SW Interfaith serves: Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners and Franklin. Thus, the biggest need in the area is transportation. Judy and Jim Goodwin are retired, active and are in great physical shape. They are able to fulfill the greatest need of our clients, which is transportation to medical appointments and they are available during the day when they are most needed. They are always willing to take on the most difficult and challenging assignments. Jim is skillful with minor home repairs and Judy is always ready to lend a hand with fundraising and special projects.
Jim Goodwin, nicknamed “Goody” during his high school days, approaches each and every one of his volunteer opportunities with a positive, caring, and friendly manner. The seniors he transports to their various destinations are treated with respect, a sense of humor and genuine concern for their well-being. He talks with them, helps them in and out of the car, accompanies them to their appointments and gets them safely back to their own homes. If they need any extra service, Jim will provide it or get someone else to help them.
Judy is able to anticipate the needs of the seniors she helps by the open line of communication she establishes with them. She is very aware of their needs and keeps in touch with the director of the program when there is a concern. She has been a volunteer with SW Interfaith since it was established in 1988. Judy started as a volunteer while working full time and continued after she retired from her career. She views the clients as an extension of her own life, and treats them as part of her family. In her volunteer work in the SW Interfaith office she is caring and helpful with the elderly who call for services and is competent and accurate in her record keeping.
Jim and Judy have made a major difference in the lives of the people they have served and continue to serve. Their outgoing personalities, positive attitudes, willingness to help and caring way boost the spirits of the elderly in need. Because they treat people like members of their own family, clients ask for them again and again. We would not be able to provide services for as many people as we do without the help of the Goodwins. They have made and continue to make a great impact in the SW Interfaith Program.