Volunteer Gives Back and Changes Lives

Written by Renee Targos
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Regina Gillen, center, with group of Cottonwood Volunteers Regina Gillen, center, with group of Cottonwood Volunteers

Regina Gillen, volunteer for Catholic Charities homeless outreach, uses a gentle approach and a smile to positively impact the lives of homeless individuals in Cottonwood, Ariz.

Gillen assists homeless individuals at the Catholic Charities office, making sure that anyone coming in gets their basic needs met. Gillen works closely with Catholic Charities site director, Brigid Wagner.

Volunteer Helps Homeless in Cottonwood

“Regina is an outstanding volunteer that not only cares about the homeless that we serve, but is also flexible and has a go-with-the-flow mentality. She can easily handle anything new that we throw her way,” said Wagner. “Without Regina, many of our homeless population would not receive the kind words of reassurance and resources that Regina provides.”

Catholic Charities uses coordinated entry to serve the homeless. Coordinated entry is a national best practice in which communities work together to streamline the process of helping clients go from homeless to housed.  Coordinated entry seeks to reduce the time an individual is homeless as well as ensure that they are matched with an appropriate housing resource to ensure a permanent solution to their housing crisis.

“I get so much pleasure out of volunteering for the homeless. I truly enjoy listening to them about their lives and their experiences. Showing the individuals that you care and want to listen to them can make a great difference in their lives. I have seen people turn their lives around, all because someone cared,” states Gillen.

Volunteering After Retirement

Volunteering and working with the homeless population is a cause that is close to Gillen’s heart. At age 64, Gillen is retired hospital unit clerk that has spent time working in La Jolla, Calif. and Tucson, Ariz., and has settled down in Cottonwood, Ariz.  Gillen wanted to find a place where she could volunteer after retiring and became very interested in the programs that Catholic Charities offered in her community. 

“Volunteering is important to the community. Catholic Charities already makes such a positive impact on the community, I couldn’t think of a better place to help me give back,” Gillen said.

Gillen said that she “is not planning to stop volunteering any time soon” and will continue her volunteer journey with Catholic Charities.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Brigid Wagner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Learn about other volunteer opportunities.

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