Volunteer of the Month - November 2020 - Jean Stevens

Posted by Victoria Leedham

“Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer.” Or in the case of Jean Stevens, do more and continue to offer to do more!

Jean, from Marlow, is almost insatiable in her desire to support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and, more recently, has generously extended that to include our Hearing Link services.

She is on the volunteer roster for ad hoc help in The Grange Restaurant & Gift Shop, has covered most roles at The Grange over several years, however the main string to her current bow is being the linchpin, first and most regular volunteer for the Hearing Link online shop.

Jean in warehouse.jpg

Jean began volunteering with the shop team in August 2019 after, of course, wondering what else she could do to help! Her duties involve picking and packing orders, preparing them for posting, counting and organising stock in the warehouse.

She spends a day each week carrying out this role and is extremely thorough and meticulous, ensuring customers receive all the items they have ordered, speedily and well-packaged.

Lorna Armstrong, who manages the Hearing Link Shop, reports: “The shop closed in late March this year due to restrictions put in place because of the Coronavirus pandemic. When we reopened at the end of July, Jean was one of the first people to put up her hand, eager to return to her volunteer role.

She has gone above and beyond to make sure we have been able to ship out more 3,000 items to almost 600 customers. Without her support, we would have struggled to meet the huge increase in demand from customers who rely on a variety of products which make their communication and lipreading needs known.

Jean is a vital member of the team. By offering her time each week, she plays an extraordinary role in ensuring we can process and dispatch a very high volume of orders on time. Her commitment, enthusiasm and willingness are second to none.”

Kate Vale, Hearing Link Network and Training Manager, concurs: “Jean has a calm and meticulous approach to her work; she takes pride in it and is helpful in showing others how to undertake the role. She likes meeting people, and yet has still continued to volunteer tirelessly even whilst The Grange site is noticeably less populated and buzzy during these socially restricted times.”

Having hearing loss herself, Jean is very knowledgeable about Hearing Dogs and Hearing Link and empathetic to our purpose. Once the Hearing Hub returns to operation, she will no doubt be a much-cherished member of that team as she already is in her Front of House role at The Grange Restaurant.

Photoshoot Jean.jpg

Roisin Stewart, Estates & Facilities Manager, says: “Jean helps out on an ad hoc basis, mostly on a Monday, and is super chatting to customers about both charities whilst being able to help out practically. Jean picked up the role quickly and is a real asset. It’s clear Hearing Dogs is close to Jean’s heart, she loves speaking about her Confidence & Companion dog Jango and is personally attuned to our vision to see a time when no deaf person feels alone.”

Before Jango took up permanent residence in 2016, Jean has looked after puppies on a holiday cover basis and fostered hearing dogs who were taking a break from training, with medical issues or needing a little rest and recuperation. Dogs such as Barney, Ziggy, Penny, Victor and Dillon were lucky enough to stay with Jean and husband John. Additionally, Jean has held an on-site dog walking role over many years. This being her entry into regular volunteering with Hearing Dogs in 2013, although her history and support of the charity dates way back to the late 90s.

Jango.jpg

“Jean has been a very committed dog walker and has a lovely calm presence.” recalls dog Welfare Officer John Crawford. “All the dogs liked this about her and loved it when she was taking them for a walk or simply sitting with them. Everyone is happy to see Jean on her walking days. She’s a kind, gentle lady and the whole team and dogs are grateful for all the help she has given us.”

Multi-tasking Jean has helped out at events including the Christmas Market and Culden Faw Great British Dog Walk, represented us on visits from our patron HRH The Princess Royal and even has been known to get involved with deaf awareness photoshoots as a moment’s notice! Even during the current lockdown, Jean has been beavering away at home and still lending a very useful hand with making up parcels and organising stock for the Hearing Link Shop.

Jean is a truly delightful lady, always interested in others and a mine of information about good walks around Marlow! Put simply, she’s a diamond of a volunteer and we can’t wait to see more of her again soon.

Sue and her hearing dog kristo sitting on grass

"Jean is one of life’s special people – she is kind, caring, thoughtful, has a great sense of humour and is completely committed to her volunteering roles which give so much to others.

It’s been a joy to work with her and we always found time for plenty of laughter! It’s been such a pleasure to get to know Jean and we are blessed to have her in our volunteering family."

Sue Benham with hearing dog Kristo

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I’m Victoria and Head of Volunteering at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. It’s my privilege to celebrate and share stories about our wonderful volunteer family.

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