Community services volunteer wants to ‘provide hope’

The door opens at Clark County Community Services on a Wednesday morning and Melissa Dean is sitting at the front desk as clients come in.

“Do you want hot dogs or bologna today?” she asks cheerily.

“Do you have anything else? I’m getting kinda tired of hot dogs,” a client said.

“We’ll surprise you. It may be a surprise of hot dogs,” she laughed. “I didn’t want to get your hopes up.”

For the last four years, Dean has staffed the front desk at Community Services, doing what needs to be done, whether answering phones, working with clients or keeping the files in shape.

“I just try to help people,” she said. “I try to be a blessing.

“I really try to provide hope. That’s what some of these people need in their lives … and encouragement.”

A Clark County native, Dean said she moved back a decade ago from Alabama to be closer to family. While working part-time, she said she was, and continues, to serve in other avenues. When CCCS Director Debbie Fatkin came to speak at First Presbyterian Church, Dean said she became interested and started volunteering on Wednesdays, her day off.

“We have clients who come in on Wednesday just to see her,” Fatkin said. “We’re very blessed.”

“When Debbie came and spoke at my church, it resonated with me,” Dean said. 

Dean would argue the blessing from serving others is hers, ad is why she volunteers.

“I always get a lot more when serving other people than I give, whether (listening to) their stories or their friendship,” she said. ‘When you give of your time, yo get so much more back. It’s my calling to try and be a blessing to other people.”

Talking with clients and working with the other volunteers truly illustrates the needs in Winchester and Clark County, she said, as well as the numbers of people and organizations to help.

“I think in this community, we work so well together,” she said. “We’re trying not to do everything but to be used as a resource.”

If there’s a need CCCS can’t fill, Dean will often refer a client to another agency or group that can. 

“I don’t do anything fancy,” she said. “I look people in the eye and let them know they are loved. It’s pretty simple but to them it can be huge.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

email author More by Fred