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More than a volunteer… a friend.

May 27, 2013

morethanafriendFor the past five years, Paul K. has been driving twice a week to Rebound. His “third life,” as he calls it, where he not only volunteers and helps the staff, but makes true friendships with the youth clients.

Rebound Adolescent and Family Treatment Center is a residential treatment program for boys age 13-18. Residents typically have behavioral or emotional problems and are recovering from substance abuse. At Rebound, they get a chance recover and learn about addiction and relapse. And with volunteers like Paul, they also get to make a friend.

“I see myself in the kids” Paul says. “I’ve been where they’ve been and I treat them how I want to be treated,” he continues, noting how he struggled when he was their age. “They can tell me things they don’t tell others,” saying how he wants the boys to see him as a friend, not a clinician trying to evaluate them.

Paul came to Volunteers of America Massachusetts in 2007 after he retired from his successful business of 33 years. Throughout his career, he gave second chances to at-risk individuals by employing those in need. After retiring, he realized he still wanted to help others so he became certified in substance abuse counseling and reached out to Volunteers of America to mentor and tutor in our Rebound program. Some consider him practically staff; you can find Paul answering phones, tutoring, or helping the boys cook in their newly remodeled kitchen.

“I don’t want a job. I would rather volunteer – I get the same satisfaction” he says. Paul has a great relationship with the kids and spends time with each one throughout their stay. He remarks how Rebound is a break from addiction but when a client leaves, they’re often put back into tough situations. He tells each boy to be comfortable with the daily decisions he makes to truly overcome addiction.

Paul is reminded of the saying, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” and thanks to Rebound, he can finally relate to that.

To learn more about the Rebound or helping any of our programs, please contact Stephanie at 617.390.0228 or spaauwe@voamass.org.

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