EASTON, Conn. -- Raimi Jones’ foil in her weekly Scrabble games at Waveny LifeCare Network in New Canaan does not like to lose. That’s one thing the Easton volunteer learned when she started her assignment that she found through Norwalk-based Volunteer Square three years ago.
“She is quite competitive and quite strategic,’’ Jones said about Vivian, a Waveny resident. “She’s made me raise my game.”
Jones was named the first Volunteer of the Month by Volunteer Square, a nonprofit organization that matches volunteers with nonprofit agencies in Fairfield County. Jones is one of nearly 1,400 volunteers that support 280 nonprofit organizations in the county.
When Jones registered with Volunteer Square she sought a position to tutor students. Those positions require daytime availability, and Jones works full-time. She also put on her application that she enjoyed games. “I liked to play games, so I figured I’d check it out.”
When Jones started playing Scrabble at Waveny, a few other residents joined in. Now it’s just down to Jones and Vivian, who play for anywhere from 45-90 minutes each week.
“I enjoy the company and Vivian’s a great lady,’’ Jones said. “I like to talk to her. I want to give back. It’s something I look forward to every week.”
Vivian also relies on Jones. When Raimi could not keep her weekly commitment on a recent night, she tried to work in another night to visit her Scrabble opponent. “She very much looks forward to it,’’ Jones said. “If I’m late, she calls and wonders where I am. When I told her I would have to miss one night, she was very upset. I can tell by her attitude when we play. She wants to win every time.”
Jones said she watches with interest when Vivian forms words. “We’ll play a word, and it will spark a conversation,’’ Jones said. “We’ll talk about something we hadn’t discussed before just because of one word. She has great recollection and I can tell playing Scrabble helps keep her mind pretty sharp.”
Jones also raises dogs for Guiding Eyes for the Blind as a volunteer. She enjoys reading and hiking but finds something at Waveny LifeCare Network that she doesn’t get anywhere else.
“I feel great that I’m able to help,’’ Jones said. “It’s nice that Vivian wants me to come back every week. I’ll be there for as long as she wants me to keep playing.”
For more information, click here to visit the Volunteer Square website.