Ed Dee began volunteering in college at a group home for men with developmental disabilities. While in graduate school, Dee worked with youth involved in the juvenile court system. When he moved his young family to Olympia, he took on the role of baseball coach for many years.
After a career with the attorney general’s office, Dee wasted no time reconnecting with his community. He realized how much he enjoyed being around and working with youth. He joined the United Way Reading Buddy program and worked with a 7-year-old boy who had some struggles. Dee challenged himself to get the boy excited about reading.
“When we hit on a couple books he really liked, he seemed to enjoy it,” Dee said. He was then asked to be a mentor for a 9-year-old boy. “We’d toss balls on the playground or play a game with his classmates. He’s fun to be around.”
More recently, Dee got involved with the Family Support Center as an overnight shelter host. “Parents at the shelter are doing the best they can,” he said. “You get to know the clients pretty well. The kids run up and give you a hug and want to tell you all about their week.”
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When asked what he would tell others to motivate them to serve, Dee closed with these words, “There is a great need to help. When people retire and you have your health, I think we owe it to our community to help those in need. You get more back than you give.”
To find out more about ways to volunteer, contact Jennifer Thompson, volunteer coordinator at the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at 360-943-2773, ext. 21, or search volunteer opportunities at unitedway-thurston.org.