Volunteer of the Month: M. Queen Bailey-Brooks, LCSW
M. Queen Bailey-Brooks, LCSW, describes herself as a “born social worker.” Originally from Baltimore, she has been living and volunteering in Atlanta since 1995. To Queen, volunteering is not just something she enjoys doing on the side, it is her way of living. And while she has lent a hand to numerous organizations that serve various causes, older adults, or as Queen likes to say “my elders,” are her passion.
After working in a high-rise retirement home for almost eight years, Queen wanted to do something a bit more personal. “I’m always trying to find a way to stay connected with elders,” Queen says. “I wanted to expand my scope of support to give as many older adults as I could the absolute highest quality of life.” So she began volunteering full time with the Hands on Atlanta AmericaCorps SilverCorp program, which led her to the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). A larger than average population of older adults are members of the three NORCs in Georgia. Aviv Older Adult Services – Tools for Aging provides oversight for the Toco Hills NORC. Queen began to volunteer on Mondays and Tuesdays, teaching exercise and line dancing classes as well as leading a weekly walking group.
During her time volunteering for NORC, Queen developed a very close relationship with members of the community as well as a friendship with the NORC coordinator. The two of them became so close they often joked that they were sisters. Queen began to see NORC from a coordinator’s perspective and thoroughly understood the nuances and techniques needed in that position. From time to time Queen would even help out and stand in place of the coordinator on days she was not in the office. Their way of doing things was so similar and the NORC members felt completely comfortable with having Queen in charge.
A few months ago the NORC coordinator position opened up. Queen decided to apply and was offered the job! “The Toco Hills NORC is very special and has a personality of its own,” says Connie White, Director of Tools for Aging. “As with any position, the right fit is important and we feel strongly that Queen is definitely the right fit and the right person to grow the NORC and cultivate important relationships.” The transition has been as smooth as could be for the residents, as Queen was already so familiar. It really is a perfect fit! Even if she had not been offered the position, Queen had all intentions of sticking around as a volunteer. NORC aligns with her personal beliefs. “It is more than a job, it’s my calling and it’s about giving back. Whatever they need, I will do it.”
For more information on volunteering with these programs, please contact 770.677.9448 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tags: Volunteer Spotlight