Marie Matsukawa wears many different hats. Most days, she is a popular and effective teacher at Woodstock Elementary School. She teaches sixth grade and is a music teacher as well. She also takes students to a science camp at Mill Hollow each year and teaches special classes at summer school.
Quietly, Matsukawa cares for three elderly friends, whom she calls her "little people." The statement brings a smile to people's faces because she is a tiny person herself, just a bit over 5 feet tall.She is a friend to the 82-year-old farmer whose acreage abuts her back yard. He checks in with her by telephone each day so she will know he is OK. If she doesn't hear from him, she telephones. She sometimes fixes special dishes for him and he reciprocates by giving her fresh vegetables.
Matsukawa cares for an 87-year-old woman who lives alone. The woman has fallen and broken several bones and has difficulty getting around. Matsukawa goes shopping for her and helps her with meals. She also shops for and visits with another woman, 84, who lives alone. She praises the woman for her clarity of mind and her spunk.
A widow, she knows about being alone. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she reaches out to these three - and others - allowing them some independence.
She also directs her church choir. She cares for friends' pets when they are gone. And she is there to baby-sit for her two adult children.
"Marie is a teacher, a caregiver, a musician, a friend, a shopper, a cook. She is a quiet volunteer in our community who has volunteered to do these things without a formal program," said Rita Inoway, Volunteer Center. "All who know her praise her. She would be the last person to ask for recognition. She is my friend and I am proud to tell others about her. I am constantly amazed at all she does for others."
Flu season is upon us. Low-cost flu shots are available for senior citizens at various valley locations. To find the nearest site, call the Information and Referral Center, 487-4716.
If you'd like to inquire about, or volunteer for, any of the following requests, call the Voluntary Action Center of the Community Services Council, 212 W. 1300 South, 486-2136.
Perform basic office tasks. Four hours a week.
Tutor elementary-age children. Training. Needed during school hours.
Help out at city library.
Assist in Head Start classrooms.
Sort clothing for homeless and needy people. Flexible hours.
Do basic office duties.
Play piano or organ at care center. Once a week, 12:30-3 p.m.
Small group with a truck needed to help elderly couple move.
Play piano for sing-alongs at care center. Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. for an hour.
Conduct Bible study class at care center.
Visit patients, help with activities.
Answer phones, help with fund-raising for drug-free youth organization.
Help compile clippings, certificates and other memorabilia for New Hope Center's scrapbook.
Help American Cancer Society with basic office duties. Flexible hours, training.
Coordinate volunteer help. Schedule training sessions and volunteers.
Visit work sites with health fair. Daytime hours. Training.
Coordinate health fair volunteers.
Read to a blind student. Once or twice a week.
Help older residents with letter writing and reading personal mail.
Tutor school-age children. Training provided. Two-hour shifts.
Be a "special reader" in high school English department.
Help parents who call about child care. Training, one to three hours a week.
Match special needs children with new parents. Training. Volunteers needed Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Work in Birthright office. Training, flexible schedule.
Donate sewing machine, kitchen chairs and desk.
Provide twin strollers.
Give riding toys to shelter care program.
Give a portable radio/cassette player to YWCA.
Provide cribs and car seats to teen home.
Donate light-colored yarn, material and batting for quilts.
Give new towels, blankets and socks to YWCA.
Provide beds, kitchen tables, pots, pans and dishes for refugee families.
Provide living room and office furniture.
Give sheets, furniture, pots and pans, etc., to family leaving homeless shelter.
Family of six need beds, crib or bassinet, couch, chairs, table, dressers, curtains, etc.
Donate bassinet or crib, diaper bag and small diapers to new mother.
Provide winter clothing for three boys, 8, 4 and 2. The boys are small for their ages.
Give a kitchen table, double and twin bed to family leaving homeless shelter.