Watson Institute Celebrates National Volunteer Week

In the words of Elizabeth Andrew, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.” In celebration of National Volunteer Week, the Watson Institute is sharing the stories from student volunteers in our CareBreak respite program, to recognize the amazing individuals who dedicate their time and efforts to helping children with special needs and their families.

The CareBreak program matches compassionate volunteers with a child with special needs and his/her family. Volunteers offer their time, a few hours a week, to provide the family with a much needed break with the comfort of knowing their child is in the care of a competent, caring person.

As one CareBreak parent put it, “We appreciate that our volunteer knows exactly how to ‘read’ our son and provide him with what he needs.”

Through this program as well as through our special education programs, Watson has had the opportunity to partner with PittServes and the students from the University of Pittsburgh, providingĀ field placementsĀ and volunteer opportunities. In celebration of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to highlight a few of these compassionate volunteers as they shared with us the impact their volunteerism has had on them personally as well as on their match family.

“Once a week I get to leave campus and spend time with a wonderful family who have only treated me with kindness and response. I appreciate every moment I spend volunteering for CareBreak and I am so happy that I made the decision to sign up.” – Kait Gallagher

“CareBreak makes a difference by providing a unique respite opportunity that allows the volunteer and child to create a relationship with a lifelong impact.” – Ryan Varian

“CareBreak makes a difference by creating the perfect match. As a volunteer, we want to be the familiar face that supports and forms bonds with children with special needs. With time and energy, long lasting relationships are shaped with the children.” – Mark Markosyan

“Volunteering for CareBreak has provided me with a lifelong friend. I do not see the experience as volunteering, but rather spending time with someone I truly enjoy.” – Danielle Farrand

CareBreak volunteers like these students are the backbone of the program, offering compassionate care to children with special needs and giving their child’s parents the gift of free time without worry. Watson extends its sincerest appreciation for these dedicated volunteers who make the CareBreak program possible in celebration of National Volunteer Week.