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Unbreakable bond with birds – Meet Vice-President Judy Bell

September 19, 2015

judy1Judy has been volunteering with Phinney’s Friends for just about a year, but to everyone who has had the pleasure of working with her, it seems as though she’s been with the Phinney’s team forever. She jumped right in at the opportunity to help people keep their pets and got involved with every possible area of the organization in no time.

Given her experience with quality control and auditing, Judy first became Phinney’s Friends Clerk, taking up on the task of recording information at meetings, creating procedures and job descriptions for the many volunteer positions we are opening. Not long after, she became Vice-President, helping President Daniela Caride with a bit of everything. If you can believe it, she holds both positions, and she does an excellent job.

Needless to say, Phinney’s has been keeping her very busy, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. She jumps in wherever needed, be it at an event, at a fundraising meeting, researching better insurance and grants or finding more efficient volunteering practices. She’s not afraid to try something new. “Phinney’s is always challenging me, and I never know where it will take me. It’s an adventure,” she says.

Judy has a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education, and after college she began working at Blue Cross Blue Shield, where she stayed for 37 years. Her favorite thing about working there was “the people,” who made her decades-long tenure “such a good experience.”

When Judy retired, she decided to volunteer and joined Minuteman Senior Services, a nonprofit that provides programs for seniors, disabled adults and caregivers. She first assisted employees in the Protective Services unit investigate claims of elderly abuse and neglect. Now she delivers meals to the elderly through its Meals On Wheels program once a week.

In September 2014, Judy read an article in the Boston Globe about Phinney’s Friends and was intrigued. As the proud pet parent of two parakeets and a Quaker parrot, Judy says she would be heartbroken if she weren’t able to care for her birds.

“What would you do if you could not afford your pet’s next vet visit? Or if you came down with a short-term illness and couldn’t walk your dog or care for your cat?” asks Judy. “It’s such a nice thing to have an organization willing to help in those situations. Volunteering allows you to pay it forward.”

Judy first visited our pantry and little office in Lincoln, and attended a couple of Board meetings. She was immediately struck with “everyone’s devotion and commitment.” She says that President Daniela’s “energy and exuberance” drew her in instantly, and before she knew it, she was already involved. Her favorite thing about volunteering with Phinney’s? Just like at her previous job, “it all comes down to the people.” The families Phinney’s helps are generally facing heartbreaking situations, and Judy loves to assist them and see how appreciative they are.

Judy advises everyone who love pets and are up for doing some good to “come to events, meet our clients and their pets, witness people’s grateful faces, and listen to their stories.”

“They are so thankful we’re able to help them,” she says. “Saving animals and people from falling into discouragement and despair makes the time spent volunteering worthwhile.”


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