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Volunteer gives manicures, listens to stories

After her retirement, Jenny Taylor told her daughter she needed to find something to do.

“She said, ‘We always need volunteers at Wichita Presbyterian Manor,’” Jenny recalled.

Her daughter is Executive Director Courtney Wolfe. Their conversation inspired Jenny, who worked as a medical assistant for a surgical group before her retirement, to begin volunteering once a week in the community’s memory care neighborhood.

At first, Jenny was the walking companion for a resident who liked to make circuits around the memory care area. Since then, she has served in many different volunteer capacities in memory care — including manicurist. Every Tuesday morning, Jenny sets up a station in the memory care activities room and paints the nails of the ladies who live there.

“I love to paint nails and they love to get their nails painted,” Jenny said. “I have a pretty good following.

“They think I’m a professional, but I’m not — I just learned how to paint nails from doing my own.”

Although her Tuesday-morning clientele is all female, she still gets to visit with a few men who live in the neighborhood.

“They’ll come out and sit with us and enjoy our conversation,“ Jenny said.

It’s the conversation with residents that she appreciates the most about her volunteering.

“It’s a joy of mine,” she said. “I look forward to the time I spend with these residents weekly, the conversations and laughter we share, and the many stories I hear.”

In addition to Jenny’s status as the memory care manicurist, her volunteer work has included assisting with memory care’s contribution to the annual Presbyterian Manor pumpkin decorating contest, escorting residents to special events on the campus, playing games and bingo with residents, and travel talks based on her recent adventures. 

One of Jenny’s favorite travel stories she shared with residents was when she won a car and other prizes as a contestant on “The Price is Right.” The residents even got the opportunity to be “contestants” when Jenny created a version of the popular game show for them to play.

The residents created T-shirts they wore on their game show days, and while the prizes weren’t as extravagant as a car, residents still got pretty excited when they “won big.”