By 1988, I had friends who were testing positive for HIV, which was a death sentence back then. Worried for my own health and safety, I decided that volunteering for the Action AIDS (now Action Wellness) buddy program would be something positive I could do to “address” the virus. What has kept me involved over the years since then has been the many lasting friendships that I have made, with both clients and volunteers in the buddy program.
I was motivated to get involved when I found out that some people with HIV/AIDS were being abandoned by their family and friends. Knowing that people were in some cases spending their last days alone nearly broke my heart. I knew I had to do something. As fate would have it, around that time, I heard about Action AIDS. And I decided to volunteer.
During my years of service, I have been assigned to many really great buddies. Some I knew only a few weeks and some for many years. In either case, I have been honored to play a small role in helping them to know that they were not alone and that they had someone to lean on. Volunteering here for the past 35 years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
My name is Jeff and I started as a Buddy volunteer 20 years ago and have had the pleasure of serving as Treasurer, Vice President, and President of the board of directors. The staff, volunteers, clients, and Buddies at Action Wellness, all fuel my passion for helping others and doing great in the community, I’m honored to be a part of this incredible organization and hope to continue volunteering for another 20 years
I have been a volunteer with the agency since I was 19 years old. I can’t imagine not giving back to this agency where I did so much growing as a young adult and where I have made so many life long friends. The Buddy Program is a second family to me.
I have had the privilege of volunteering with Action Wellness for the past 15 years, and the journey has been nothing short of transformative. While I was initially drawn to the organization to enhance my graduate studies application, I quickly developed a profound appreciation for its mission. In my role as a volunteer in the Buddy Program, I serve as a liaison between case managers and clients, offering not only practical support but also a crucial emotional anchor. I’ve had the honor of helping severely isolated individuals navigate through challenging times, providing them with a sense of connection and understanding. Additionally, I’ve taken on the role of a team administrator, fostering motivation and support among my peers in their activities with Action Wellness. The more I invest in this community, the more genuine the experience becomes. I’ve built lasting friendships, and the individuals I serve continually inspire me, keeping me grounded with gratitude on a daily basis. Action Wellness has become a significant part of my life, where I not only make a difference but am also profoundly enriched by the talented and diverse individuals I encounter.
Volunteering helped me give back and build a community around me.
I became a buddy to reach out into the community and meet other like minded individuals.
Upon moving to Philadelphia after college, I began volunteering at Action Wellness in the buddy program in order to give back to the city that had become my home. Through both the regular volunteer meetings and the relationship that I cultivated with my first and most enduring client, I was able to connect with, learn from, and assist new friends and neighbors.
My client was a firecracker of a woman, retaining her strong spirit while living with chronic illness and limited mobility. I can think of few better introductions to Philadelphia than being regaled by her stories of growing up in the South Philly neighborhood where she still lived and where I visited her to commiserate over slices of tomato pie.
Action Wellness provides an incredible degree of structure and support not only to its clients, but also to its volunteers, and I feel lucky to have joined this group of dedicated people
It’s been a joy working with Action Wellness for the last five years. I’m glad to be a part of the team. Thank you for having me.