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DHHS Cares: Volunteering in the State Operated Healthcare Facilities

Volunteering in the Developmental Centers


Doing pet therapy and seeing the needs of others not only gives the individuals great joy, but gives you even more in return.   There is such a great need for this service; I sincerely hope to inspire others.
woman and dog imageBonnie & Daisy

Tom and I have volunteered for a number of years at Murdoch Chapel.  We come about once a month to push wheelchair-bound residents to church services, or walk with those who are ambulatory.  couple imageWe feel we have gained much in the friendships we have made and the experiences we have shared with the staff and the residents, and we certainly admire the dedication of staff at Murdoch, who work hard to keep the residents clean, fed and keep the units spotless.  They seem to do a lot with not many resources, and the State should be very proud of the people, at all organizational levels, who work there.  They provide a great service to the residents, who have severe needs.  We are happy to do our little bit for them. 

I am a Senior High Sunday School teacher at Pleasant Green United Methodist Church in Durham, NC.  Every other month my class and I go to Murdoch Center and assist residents to Chapel on Sunday mornings.
I am constantly looking for ways to make my students look at the world differently and not always be centered on themselves.  This experience has caused them to look at their lives with a sense of gratitude and really enjoy service to others.
man imageThese visits have become a tradition for my class and we have been blessed with the experience.  We have built very a strong bond with the residents and have built a strong friendship with Rev. Willis Herman and the staff.  The staff at Murdoch Center treat the residents with respect and kindness and have been a very good example for us all.

I’m a youth volunteer with Temple Baptist Church.  volunteer imageFor the past 2 years, I’ve been bringing our youth to help escort residents to Sunday services at the Murdoch Center on the first Sunday of each month.  We don’t make the youth do anything they don’t want to, we do encourage them to find ways they can serve others and this in one that they continue to enjoy.  I truly enjoy seeing the faces of the residents when we come in to pick them up, it’s amazing! As long as Murdoch continues to need our help and we’re welcomed, we’ll be there!


A Very Rewarding Experience

Celebrating holidays is always fun at Caswell Developmental Center. Members of The Dance Station studio located in LaGrange, N.C. recently visited the Center to share their time and talents. The group performed a lively dance choreographed to Michael Jackson’s popular song “Thriller”. The dancers were very energetic and enthusiastic, and their performance was a great start to a fun-filled day of Halloween activities. According to Ms. Ellen Miller, owner/instructor of The Dance Studio, “the dance students were rewarded with smiles and laughter.”  The group enjoyed their visit with the Center and look forward to visiting again.




ECU Privateers Host “Purple Pirate Party”

Recently, a group of students from East Carolina University’s (ECU) Department of Psychology hosted a “Purple Pirate Party” at Caswell Developmental Center in Kinston. Caswell residents enjoyed pirate games and activities, dancing, refreshments, as well as companionship with the Privateers. The event was organized by students in the health psychology doctoral program at ECU.  ecu volunteers imageDressed as pirates, students pitched in to create the pirate retreat. Over 175 Caswell residents and staff enjoyed the event and the camaraderie with the Privateers.

The ECU Privateer Program facilitates community engagement and service among graduate students in the ECU Health Psychology Ph.D. Program. Ashley Bouknight Wingard, is one of the doctoral students who was instrumental in organizing this year’s event.  She says, The Caswell Center experience is consistently a favorite for the Privateers.  We always look forward to spending time with the residents; and, the volunteer coordinator and staff are so welcoming and helpful.  Volunteering here is a very rewarding way to reach out to the local community!



Becky started out as a volunteer at the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center when she was still in school. After becoming a nurse she came back to the Center as an employee and now, after retirement, she has come full circle, back to being a volunteer.

riddle volunteer image

Teresa (a resident at Riddle) lives life to the fullest. She is a very happy person who enjoys our time together, whether it is spent visiting her friends in other homes or eating a snack in the canteen. Sometimes we attend an activity such as a party or concert on campus or we may just look at magazines and pick out clothes that we would like to buy.

Teresa and I have been friends since I was an employee of the Riddle Center and I have been her “Special Friend” for 7 years. The time we spend together is a joy for both of us and we always look forward to the next time!

Dottie Lloyd, Sponsor and Group Volunteer

Dottie Lloyd has been an organizer of the annual Women’s Clubs ArtFest competition for many years, a favorite of many Riddle Center residents. Early on in her volunteer service she taught square dancing for residents, and has remained deeply committed to their well being throughout over three decades of service.

Thirty-two years ago we learned that our first grandchild was born severely handicapped and this was the start of my involvement with the residents at Western Carolina Center (now J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center).  shredding paper imageWhen I became a charter member of Caldwell Woman's Club, GFWC, I saw a chance to get our new club involved in a service project sponsoring a resident at the Center, and she became like a part of our family. We remember her on holidays and for her birthdays we give her a party and invite all her cottage mates, and we also invite Phyllis, who my husband, Darrell, and I sponsor on our own.  Phyllis is just as special.  Prior to our working with Phyllis we sponsored another resident, who was later transferred to Black Mountain.  We do for both ladies throughout the year.  I love shopping for their special occasions just as much as if they were our own family.  Knowing and working with them has made a huge impact on our lives, and I thank  the staff at the Riddle Center for making it possible for us to be part of these ladies’ lives.  Helping those who live at the Center is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and it has brought me and my Caldwell Woman's Club more satisfaction than I could have imagined possible.

Gold Wing Road Riders Association

The Gold Wing Road Riders in the western part of the state assist J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. Donations made by the group assist residents year round, and the group is also a great resource for the facility. Through this network the agency has been able to develop links to donors and other volunteers in the service area.tanya riding 3-wheeler image

Since the first Gifts on Cycles (GOC) event was held in 1995 at the Western Carolina Center (now the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center (JIRDC)).  The members of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) in North Carolina have made GOC our primary charity event of the year. North Carolina GWRRA members now host three events held simultaneously to support three centers (West, Central and East) on the first Saturday in December. angiet on 3-wheeler image
Terri & I have been attending the Western GOC events since we moved to North Carolina in 2005. As a former GWRRA Assistant District Director for North Carolina we were tasked with the planning and hosting of two Western GOC events during our term in office. We approached this duty as an honor, as the event means so much to the residents of the center as well as to the members of GWRRA.
            This past year the members of GWRRA in North Carolina were honored for their commitment to the J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Center by being named as their Grand Marshals at the 36th Annual Christmas Parade. It was a privilege for us to ride in the parade representing the members of GWRRA.
            We have found that the staff of JIRDC exhibits the highest level of commitment and compassion toward the residents, making it a pleasure to be associated with them. This is just the kind of positive environment that drives the members of GWRRA in North Carolina to support the Center. Ready NC Connect NC