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Volunteer Finds Fulfillment Serving Older Adults

 “I have found my calling.”

These are the words of Jonathan Teachman, who has been a volunteer with the Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan’s Adult Day Health Services (ADHS) ministry for more than 28 years. He currently volunteers 15 hours a week at the center on Adams Road next door to Sacred Heart Catholic Parish in Auburn Hills.

At the age of 19, Jonathan was hit by car while riding his bike.  He spent two years in the hospital recovering from his injuries, and had to go undergo extensive therapy. That therapy eventually included job placement therapy, which led him to the ADHS program. His involvement in the ministry continues to this very day.

“It is very therapeutic to me,” he said. “I fell in love with [ADHS]. It has made me a new man. I love volunteering here and helping out. I have found something I am going to be doing literally forever.”

Jonathan looks forward to Mondays when he volunteers. “There aren’t many people who look forward to Mondays. It’s not just a center – it’s a family. We are all a family and that’s what I really love about it.”

CCSEM’s Adult Day ministry is a dementia specific program that provides cognitively impaired adults with social enrichment and supervised assistance during the day. The program gives caregivers the ability to go to work, run errands or take a well-deserved break, while offering their loved one person-centered activities tailored to individual capabilities.

When asked what it is like to be an ADHS volunteer, Jonathan said, “You instantly make friends. If you love to sing, you get to do that. I have a group of gentlemen who I play cards with. We break into groups and play different games. Everyone is comfortable and happy.”

Jonathan assists the ADHS staff in finding ways to get participants active and involved in daily activities. Aware of his gifts to inspire people, he said, “I get more people to participate. If I do (the activity), then they will participate too. It makes the project that much more fun by doing it together.”

Holly Snodgrass, ADHS Auburn Hills Site Coordinator, said Jonathan is beloved by program participants. “They often ask where he is on the days he isn’t volunteering. His love for the older adults shows every day he is here. He has such a kind, gentle spirit, and the participants are comforted by him.”

Jonathan admits the clients enjoy being with him. “Often when a participant introduces me to his family members, they say, ‘This is my best friend, Jonathan.’”

ADHS has immediate openings for new clients at the ADHS Auburn Hills location. Contact Holly Snodgrass at 248-537-3300 ext. 3803 or ADHS also has an east-side location in St. Clair Shores. Contact Nikki Harvey at 586-412-8494 ext. 4014 or

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