Not all Heroes Wear a Cape

There is an unassuming group of healthcare heroes — who don’t wear capes, and likely don’t even recognize their valor and virtue — but who definitely make the world a better place. They are volunteers.

We are living in challenging and stressful times, which impacts our health and well-being. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one way to cope is by doing something for others, which is proven to reduce stress and depression.

Volunteering, even a small-hourly commitment, can improve one’s self-esteem and mood. NAMI claims that the impact of one person helping another could benefit a whole chain of individuals, creating a culture that brings people together and builds stronger relationships. While COVID-19 has made togetherness feel like a thing of the past, that is not the case with volunteering.

“The need for volunteers right now is greater than ever,” said Stephanie Notaro, RVNAhealth Hospice Volunteer Coordinator. “We have lots of opportunities for people to still help each other safely.”

Notaro is the contact for all volunteer opportunities at RVNAhealth, although her primary focus is helping patients at end-of life. This can include keeping a patient company, walking the dog, running errands, or providing respite for primary caregivers.

Patients often benefit from engagement with people outside their normal care circle and the time commitment needn’t be lengthy to make a positive impact. For those not interested in direct patient contact, there are administrative volunteer opportunities, like assembling materials or ordering supplies.

“The feedback from many volunteers is that they receive so much more than they give,” said Notaro, making volunteering — even now — a great way to lift one’s own spirits.

RVNAhealth (formerly RVNA or Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association) is a private, non-profit, mission-driven organization founded and focused on care. While the name and services have evolved since its founding as a home health care agency in 1914, the guiding principles have remained. 

RVNAhealth serves 36 towns in Connecticut, including Easton. It provides lifelong health care and wellness services, support and resources in collaboration with other healthcare professionals including your own and serves all ages, stages and levels of health. For information on volunteer opportunities with RVNAhealth, contact Stephanie Notaro at 203-438-5555, or visit