Kerry Higgins first started volunteering with Furnishing Options two years ago. Since then, she has come to love helping out this program and really believes in its mission. Furnishing Options, which is run by Employment Options, a Marlborough-based agency, collects furniture, linens and household goods in good condition that people aren’t using and gives those items to people in need. As Higgins explains, when she first got on her own, “it was all hand-me-down furniture” and she sees her participation in this program as a way of paying it forward.
Employment Options helps people who have experienced challenges in life and are on the road to recovery. Having a place to call home and an independent lifestyle is a huge step in this process and provides a true sense of dignity. She goes on to say that “Everyone is always in a good mood. People are happy to donate and people are happy to find things they need or find things to give to their kids.” She loves the people she works with and the giving and grateful environment she enters every Saturday morning.
Higgins loves to volunteer in her community. She cooks for soup kitchens at Grace Baptist and she helps out at Employment Options during the holidays. Explaining her desire to reach out to the young adults in the program, she volunteers through the Marlborough Junior Women’s Club, gardening for local families and working on projects such as a Linens Drive for Furnishing Options. When Higgins got laid off from her job, she turned to volunteering as a productive means of fulfillment. “Volunteering gave me a place to go and I always leave feeling good,” she said.
So why is Higgins so dedicated to her work for Employment Options? She likes their philosophy that each person should be supported to maximize their own potential. It is “respectful yet helpful” Higgins explains. And Higgins goes on to say that Employment Options itself is a beautiful space, always clean and decorated. She enjoys both helping out and simply being there. Everyone has their own relationship with mental health challenges but Higgins explains that she likes Employment Options’ recovery model—doing what you can to move in the right direction.
To Higgins, volunteering means making a contribution and it means making friends in the community. “Those of us who grew up thinking we could change the world, volunteering lets us do that in a concrete way.”
Furnishing Options is always looking for new volunteers. Current needs are Store Crew Leaders/Assistants, especially on Sat. from 12-2. Individuals needed, or a group can sign up to “own” one shift per month. Also needed: transport volunteers to donate 3 hours a month to pick up donated items. Crew leader needs access to a pickup (or larger) truck or van; assistants needed too.
To find out more, call Furnishing Options at 774-248-4922.