Volunteering for IHC New Zealand has enriched Glennys McFelim's life.
For the past nine years, Mrs McFelim has been spending a few hours each week with Karen Thompson, who she says has become a part of the family.
February through to March is the organisation's annual appeal. This year the focus of the appeal is on the importance of the friendships that are made through the IHC volunteer programme, and the value of those friendships to people with intellectual disabilities.
Mrs McFelim contacted the Oamaru office after a friend suggested she would be a great volunteer.
"I didn't see any reason why I couldn't. It would give me something to do and get me out of the house," she said.
Mrs McFelim also wanted to give something back to the organisation which had helped her for many years. "I had a disabled son and they supported me a lot," she said.
Mrs McFelim's visits Karen's home once a week and enjoys their time together. "She loves me reading to her and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it too," she said.
Mrs McFelim includes Karen in her normal daily activities, whether it be heading to town for a coffee, or sitting in the garden.
Mrs McFelim said society had become a lot more accepting of people with disabilities. "Years ago when we had Mark we were asked to put him away but I refused," she said.
Like Karen, Mrs McFelim is in a wheelchair after a crash in 1991. The two have a bond that Mrs McFelim cannot describe. "It is just absolutely enriching my life."
Mrs McFelim feels privileged to be spending time with Karen and encourages others to become volunteers.
If you want more information on volunteering, contact the IHC local volunteer co-ordinator, Pip O'Connell on 434 5653 or 021 821 638 or visit Abacus House.