Louise – Making An Impact In The Community
April 27, 2022
April is volunteer appreciation month, and here at Sunflower Hill we are inspired by the efforts of our dedicated volunteers. One such volunteer, and the focus of this month’s Volunteer Spotlight article, is Louise Hail.
Louise began volunteering for Sunflower Hill in 2021 when she and her daughter were looking for a way to spend time together while giving back to their community. With a mutual love of plants and being outside, volunteering at the Sunflower Hill Garden was a natural fit for them both. Her daughter is now off at college studying Environmental Studies and volunteering at the farm at her college, while Louise continues to volunteer at the Garden each Friday. “It’s my ‘me’ time,” she said. “I don’t have a big garden (at home) and I enjoy it.”
Louise, a lover and rescuer of ladybugs, enjoys watching things grow in the garden, feeding the chickens, and making flower bouquets in the summer. She loves Lupine flowers and after planting an entire patch of zinnia flowers, is learning to love them too. “Every day is a great day,” she smiled. “I love just laughing alongside Kyle S. (volunteer), and listening to (him) quiz us or sing songs; it’s just such a pleasure.”
Louise volunteers at the Garden because of the wide array of people in the community it impacts. “I love organizations that are actively engaged in and supporting their community,” she said. “(Sunflower Hill) impacts (Irby Ranch) residents, (and) also the garden provides programs to different (adult) day groups, schools and it donates organic food to the greater community.”
Volunteering at the Garden has also provided ample opportunities for Louise to learn more about organic gardening, become a better gardener, and incorporate fresh produce into her home life. “I grew kale (at home) and actually cooked collard greens from the Sunflower Hill Garden the other day,” she said. “It gets me cooking different things, and I get beautiful bouquets from the garden in the summer.” Her favorite items to grow and harvest are strawberries and goji berries.
In addition to volunteering at the Garden, Louise and her dog, Penny, participate in the Pet Therapy program at Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch, which is run through the Valley Humane Society. “My dog loves it, she’s older and she’s the perfect canine comfort,” said Louise. The Pet Therapy program offers residents of Irby Ranch an opportunity to engage with both Canine Comfort dogs and their owners. Louise shared that she has been brushing up on her sign language so that she can communicate with residents who have a hearing impairment. “Everyone (is) so engaged and loving there,” she said.
As a dedicated volunteer, Louise is reliable, consistent and always willing to help out with anything we need. “I enjoy meeting new people and giving back to my community through my time and effort,” she said. We love interacting with Louise and celebrate the powerful and inspiring contributions she makes all year long.
Story by: Andrea del Rio, Sunflower Hill Garden Manager
Contributing Writer: Rachel Clark, Sunflower Hill Communications Manager