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Best Friends Who Volunteer Together, Stay Together

Aug 15 2022

If you’ve happened by the Bon Secours Wellness Arena on any given Tuesday, you’ve likely met Kathy Piatak (pictured above, left) and Doris Bouren (pictured above, right) – lifelong friends and Bon Secours St. Francis volunteers.

The pair met years ago, when Kathy was looking for a job and Doris helped her with the application. They became fast friends and, thanks to the St. Francis LifeWise program, were practically inseparable. Our LifeWise program serves members of the community who are 55 and older, offering different events and services that promote both physical as well as spiritual wellness.

“We attended everything that we possibly could within the LifeWise program, from different educational seminars to social events,” Kathy shares. “Soon enough, they asked if we would be interested in helping with the different events – and we have ever since. It just feels natural.”

The dynamic duo has now been participating in and lending a helping hand with some of our programs for at least a decade.

“I often think about how much I would have missed out on if I hadn’t moved to South Carolina and hadn’t joined the different programs that I did,” Doris says. “I am so grateful that I have been able to be a part of them.”

Their most recent volunteering assignment? Welcoming walkers at the bi-weekly Well Walkers program at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

“Most people come out every Tuesday and Thursday of the month,” Kathy shares.

And because most participants come out every week, it’s easy to meet the different walkers and find familiar faces.

“You may plan on just coming to walk, but you’ll end up making friends,” Doris explains. “Even if we don’t know everyone’s name, we consider them our friends. Many of us happen to be there at the same time on the same day – and you know, were just really happy to see one another.”

Both Kathy and Doris have been walking as participants of the program since it began in 2015. Any and all community members have the opportunity to exercise in a temperature-controlled space.

“It isn’t just for older people,” Kathy adds. “Many mothers come with their babies and strollers in tow. I know almost all of the participants and there is just as much of a social aspect to it as there is physical. It is definitely something that everyone in the community can access – and feel comfortable while doing so.”

Serving as greeters for Well Walkers was one of the first volunteering opportunities for Kathy and Doris since the COVID-19 pandemic brought most programs to a halt. Both women were thrilled to be back in action. Unfortunately, Doris has since had to take a break from volunteering due to an injury, but she continues to stay in touch with Kathy, who you can still find at The Well every Tuesday.

“Well Walkers is still going strong – and it is our hope that more people will get involved in the different programs St. Francis has available, including Well Walkers,” Kathy says.

Do you live in the Greenville, S.C. area? Learn more about our Well Walkers program, LifeWise program and the different volunteer opportunities our ministry is currently offering.

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