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Get to Know a Volunteer: Alevtina Rakhalina

Alevtina Rakhalina is a clerical volunteer with Circle of Care.

1) What inspired you to begin volunteering for Circle of Care?

I heard that Circle of Care needed Russian-speaking volunteers, and thought to myself, “Why waste my skills when I can use them to help others?” There is no better way I can think of to spend my free time.

2) Is there a specific moment you recall while volunteering that made you feel like you made a real difference?

During my time calling and surveying the elderly, I had a conversation with a lonely woman who was happy just to tell me about her day and how she appreciates the help she receives from Circle of Care. I felt like I brought joy to someone’s day just by talking and that was humbling.

3) Has volunteering changed your outlook in any way?

Yes, I realized how disconnected we are from each other and how precious human connection and time are. Also, many women I spoke to or that I interacted with in the course of my volunteering had led difficult lives, but still kept their positive outlook and never gave up hope for a better life. I was surprised to see how pure their hearts remained even through the horrors they lived through, and it gives us an excellent example to live by.

4) What makes a good volunteer?

A good volunteer has to be invested and able to empathize.

5) What advice would you give to someone who is considering a volunteer position?

Just start giving as much of your free time as you can, any little bit helps.

6) What are your interests outside of volunteering?

I love reading (I have quite a library in my house!), travelling, hiking and exploring our beautiful country.

7) Do you have any words to live by?

“It’s better to regret what you have done than what you haven’t.”

8) What is the most recent book you read?

“My Secret Sister” by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith. Based on a true story, this book is a pure example that sometimes life can be more fascinating than any book’s plot.

9) Where is “home”?

My mom’s kitchen in Moscow.

10) Chocolate or Vanilla?

Neither! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth…