Ecumen Honors Volunteer of the Year

May 23rd, 2012 5:02pm

Ecumen Oaks & Pines senior living community volunteer, Ben Jenum, was honored as Ecumen’s Volunteer of the Year at the annual Ecumen Leadership Conference on May 17. Ben accepted his award, presented by Kathryn Roberts, Ecumen President & CEO, and offered a heartfelt thank you and remarks about his volunteering to a crowd of 400 Ecumen leaders, gathered at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn.

“Ben has shared his compassion, conversation and humor with our residents for over three years. He’s made a real difference, especially in the lives of our memory care residents,” says Jane Messner, Recreation Coordinator at Ecumen Oaks & Pines. “Our residents look forward to seeing him on a daily basis to read, play games, take a walk, or just visit.”

Most remarkable about Ben’s daily commitment as a volunteer is his age. Ben is 15 years old and finishing his freshman year in high school. He’s active in sports, enjoys camping, fishing and hunting, and is involved with his youth group at St. Anastasia Catholic Church. “He’s been called an ‘old soul’ more than once in his young life,” according to Ben’s mother, Melanie Jenum.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed myself calling bingo, one-on-one visiting, doing exercises, enjoying a snack and just being around the residents. There are some people I will never forget,” said Ben in his acceptance remarks. He added, “I enjoy every walk, talk, snack, hug and smile from each of them. And their smile is the reward that I seek every day.” Ben received a standing ovation from the 400 Ecumen leaders in attendance.

Ecumen, based in Shoreview, Minn., is the most innovative leader of senior housing and services, empowering individuals to live richer and fuller lives. Ecumen has been named seven straight years by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as one of Minnesota’s “Best Places to Work” and one of Minnesota’s Top Workplaces by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Monthly Magazine.