Here’s is the definition of the word, volunteer.
The noun form of the word means a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task. The verb form of the word means freely offer to do something.
Now meet Jay Benson.
Benson has been volunteering and participating in activities with the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) in University Place, Washington, for well over a year.
Benson takes the word volunteer to a whole new level.
For starters, Benson does not live in Pierce County. He lives in King County, specifically in the city of Kent. Getting to Our BEST Space definitely requires some transportation planning.
Benson takes a shuttle from Kent to the Federal Way Park and Ride and then waits for another shuttle to take him to University Place. There have been those occasional times where the trip has taken a total of over four hours of travel time.
Benson’s response to this?
“It’s worth it!”
Benson, who comes to Our BEST Space Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, became acquainted with BEST originally through the Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities (TACID). He knew right away that BEST would be a great fit for him.
“It was cool,” says Benson. “I love it. Their (BEST) is so neat and fun to work with.”
Benson also enjoys the people he works with at BEST and describes them as “…loving and sweet.”
And it’s that support and care that Benson holds near and dear to his heart, especially on tough days. He has cerebral palsy, a heart condition and other cognitive and mental health issues that he must deal with on a daily basis. It isn’t easy, but Benson has some strategies that work for him.
“On the tough days, I try to stay positive,” he explains. “I go for walks. I call people up and talk. I have professionals I can reach out to. I like to listen to relaxation tapes, like the sounds of the ocean and the water.”
The other thing that keeps Benson positive is his interest in horticulture. He builds inverted gardens from gutter materials and piping. They stand tall and slim and can be custom designed. The gardens are excellent space savers, practical and versatile. Reaction to the gardens has been great and Benson has carved out a small business for himself. He loves being a designer and an entrepreneur and appreciates the support he gets from BEST to accomplish these goals.
And speaking of goals, Benson has his vision already set for 2015.
“It (inverted gardens) keeps me busy and they are lots of fun to build,” shares Benson. “I see lots of possibilities. In 2015, I want to get (the project) going more and then selling more.”
Benson also wants to continue enjoy and participate in the activities at the Space while continuing his volunteer time for next year, too.
“I want to do a lot of volunteer time. Whatever I need to do!”
Spoken like a true volunteer.
To learn more about Jay Benson’s inverted garden projects or to order one, please contact Kim T. at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.