Getting Involved is Good For Your Health

By Tanya St. John

Arundel Lodge is a nonprofit organization located in Edgewater. It provides treatment services and programs for men, women, young people and their families living with mental health and substance use disorders — serving about 3,000 community members.

Volunteers from the community provide an essential boost to Arundel Lodge programs. For example, local sculptor Brian Kyhos shares his expertise with the art program staff, Kris Bennett provides tutoring and enrichment and Jody Lacey advocates for Arundel Lodge, spreading the word about access to behavioral health services. Groups from local civic and faith-based organizations, like Blacks in Government and Woods Memorial Episcopal Church have provided much-needed help painting and renovating some of our residential program homes throughout the county. Without these volunteers, the organization could not be as effective.

Volunteering Champions Our Cause

Cindy Garmoe is Arundel Lodge’s volunteer coordinator. She connects with new volunteers and maintains relationships with current volunteers. “The key is to provide worthwhile and rewarding opportunities for volunteers. Also, making sure that volunteers know they are appreciated, because they really are!” Cindy says. The work of volunteers makes a big difference in the lives of the people we serve at Arundel Lodge, “I think the simple idea of someone giving their time says that there are people in the community who care, Cindy continues. “Because here’s the thing … mental health and substance use disorders affect the whole community. These are real people who need connections and support just like anyone else. Volunteers are well poised to provide that support,” she adds.

We love hearing from volunteers about what they might be able to offer. Some examples of Arundel Lodge volunteer opportunities might include:

•Gardening vegetables that feed residents or planting flowers.

•Painting the residential program homes.

•Sharing creative and fine arts talents.

•Writing articles for our newsletter.

•Providing enrichment opportunities for residents.

•Doing hospitality

•Offering skilled trades.

A Volunteer Shares Her Thoughts

Ellen Thayer has been volunteering in Arundel Lodge’s Open Eye Gallery and Studio Program for several years. We asked Ellen about what volunteering means to her.

Arundel Lodge: What is a typical volunteer day like for you?

Ellen: First, I get greeted like a rock star when I walk into the art studio. I help with project setup, and ask specific questions about each person’s art. On Mondays, I deliver homemade bread that my husband makes. That makes me real popular with members and staff.

Arundel Lodge: What do you find most gratifying about your volunteer experience, and why?

Ellen: Getting excited about the artists’ work, and helping to show the art in different community venues.

Arundel Lodge: How do you think volunteering has improved your daily life?

Ellen: It makes me thankful for so many things in my life, particularly that I have the time to participate in this awesome therapeutic art program.

Arundel Lodge: Why would you recommend volunteering at Arundel Lodge?

Ellen: You get back way more than you give.

In fact, Ellen is right. Volunteering improves physical and emotional health, reduces stress, helps create community connections and opens up opportunities for learning new skills and even finding jobs. Several studies describe the benefits:

•In a study by UnitedHealth Group, 94 percent of people who volunteered within 12 months said that this activity improved their mood, while 78 percent of them said that it lowered their stress levels.

•One analysis found “statistically significant, positive relationships between volunteering and lower levels of depression” in older adults.

•A study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2013 found that people who volunteer have a 27 percent higher chance than nonvolunteers of finding a job after being unemployed.

•Several studies of older adults have found that volunteering can provide a greater sense of purpose.

How You Can Help

Join us for an evening of food, drinks, live music, great art and a chance to meet inspiring artists. Plus win your bid at our silent and live auctions at $40 per person or $75 per couple before Nov. 1. This event, which benefits Arundel Lodge Behavioral Health Services, the Open Eye Gallery and the studio programs for mental health and wellness, and will be held at Arundel Lodge’s Open Eye Gallery at 2600 Solomons Island Road in Edgewater. Purchase tickets online now at

or call 443.433.5928.

Tanya can be contacted at [email protected] To learn more about volunteering, contact Cindy Garmoe at 443.433.5928 or email [email protected]


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