RESPITE VOLUNTEERS of Shiawassee Case Manager, Denise Temple, volunteer, Diane Horn and client, Joy are shown here before having tea and a pastry.

(Independent Photo/Melissa Shepard)


  Respite Volunteer Diane Horn was matched with client Joy about 6-7 years ago after Joy’s husband passed away. Joy’s husband had Parkinson’s Disease and he had a Respite volunteer for two years. “His volunteer helped me so much because I was able to go to the store and I didn’t have to worry about him being alone,” said Joy.

  Joy and Diane have become very close since they were matched. During the two and a half to three hours that Diane is there once a week they have multiple things they may do, including arts and crafts, painting, puzzles, watching tv, talking and having lunch and tea. Respite really does a great job matching people. Diane and I get along great,” said Joy.

  During the Covid19 Pandemic, the duo kept in touch with phone calls and after that they wore masks so Diane could visit in person. And even when Diane goes south for a couple months in the winter the two keep in touch with phone calls. Joy gets a replacement in-home volunteer during those months.

  Diane is a Durand Middle School retired teacher of 32 years. She said, “the best part is helping someone else, giving back and making a difference in someone’s life. That’s the biggest payoff of volunteering.”

  Although Joy’s daughter visits her a lot and takes good care of her, she lives an hour and 20 minutes away. “Having someone come to visit me, whom I call a friend is so nice. Diane cares about me. Most of my friends have passed away so it makes me so happy to see her walk through the front door,” said Joy.

  Respite Volunteers currently has five or six clients on the waiting list for a volunteer. Training sessions are run multiple times a year and volunteers are always accepted. Volunteers must have a background check and proof of insurance and a clean driver record if they take clients anywhere. 

  2023 marks the 30th Anniversary of Respite Volunteers of Shiawassee. Currently, Respite serves up to 80 people and their family each month. So far this year, they have served up to 152 people. In 2022, Respite served 225 people. Since Respite started a total of 2,750 people have been served.

    The program serves adults who have ongoing health and medical challenges. The largest need is for volunteers willing to try out being matched with and serve adults with ongoing health needs, and their caregiving families, and especially persons who are frail, elderly and living alone. Volunteers are matched with one person to visit usually about weekly, but sometimes a couple times a month. 

  Respite volunteers typically spend one to three hours a week of time with the person they are matched with in their own community and help as needed depending on each person and family caregiving situation. The volunteers provide friendly visiting, play cards or board games, help the person with hobbies, and provide respite to the family caregivers who may need to grocery shop, or go to their own physician appointments or get together with a friend. 

  Respite Volunteers is located at 710 W. King St., Owosso, the historic brick home just east of Memorial Healthcare hospital. For more information on how to volunteer call (989) 725-1127 or email 

Respite Volunteers Bring Happiness and Comfort  was last modified: October 3rd, 2023 by Karen Elford