Mary Harwood

Class of '06

Place of service: Friendsview Retirement Community

Why I Serve

I have a special place in my heart for the elderly. Many of my earliest memories are of accompanying my dad on pastoral visits to the older members of our church. It is a blessing that I now get to continue this ministry with my own little girl.

In a sermon, my pastor said, “Start somewhere. Look for those moments when you can generously give to someone else, where you can help someone in need.” Baby Therapy has been a blessing to me by providing an opportunity to give generously right where I am in this season of life as a mom. I am glad to be able to serve and bring joy to others as well as teach my daughter to make helping others a part of everyday life.

How I Serve

Each week, I bring my daughter Elizabeth, now age two, to a local retirement home to provide “baby therapy.” In the Memory and Health Care Unit we lay out a blanket and spread toys on the floor while the residents line up their chairs around us. We play, sing, and read stories, bringing smiles and laughter to everyone in the room. After baby time with the group, we visit with the residents in their rooms, giving us a chance to build relationships with them one-on-one.

We have been volunteering since Elizabeth was eight months old, so the residents have watched her grow and develop during this time. This is the highlight of the week for many of them. It is amazing to see how even a few moments with a child can lift spirits and bring joy.