Of all the things we do with time — earn it, spend it or save it — one of the most precious things we can do with time is gift it!

Each week, more than 300 individuals come through VMRC’s doors to volunteer — giving the precious gift of their time and talent. Their reasons for volunteering are myriad, but one thread runs through their stories.


Whether it’s a love of humankind, love of community, love of doing or all three, volunteers at VMRC willingly roll up their sleeves, help fill voids and help solve problems. They tackle their duties with agility.

At VMRC, volunteers are cherished.

“I get queries every day,” said Emily Shickel, Volunteer Services Manager at VMRC. “I make connections to volunteer opportunities for residents inside our community and in the greater Harrisonburg community. I find areas that align with who our residents are and what they like to do.”

Emily also develops relationships with groups and organizations wishing to volunteer on VMRC’s grounds. From school groups to corporate volunteers, she places people across generations with opportunities that match what they can offer.

To demonstrate how much the VMRC community appreciates all that volunteers do, we observe Volunteer Appreciation Week, which began Sunday, April 16 and runs through Sunday, April 22. The theme this year is United We Serve.

Serving as a volunteer is good for the soul and provides purpose.

People are living longer and more active lives. As such, more resources will be needed to support older adults during their retirement transition. Volunteering with older adults enables individuals to learn and grow—especially interns and students.

Madison Ashbaugh, a junior at James Madison University, has volunteered at VMRC since the fall of 2022. She’s a busy full-time student who plans to become a doctor. Volunteering with residents in our community helps Madison understand the kind of future physician she aspires to be.

“It really shows me how much older adults need to be cared for and having this interaction will eventually help me as a physician when I’m older,” Madison says.

Madison has also spent time working in centers devoted to older adult care in her native Maryland community.

Abigail Allen, who started at VMRC as an intern while attending Bridgewater College. She found that the experience tapped into her sense of purpose. She came back to VMRC as an employee and has grown into an advocate for the needs of older generations. Watch Abigail tell her story below. To learn more about becoming a volunteer, visit our volunteer webpage, or call Emily Shickel at 540-564-3524.