Hospice Thrift Barn, Jonah Sabo work hand in hand for community

Published 4:44 pm Friday, January 14, 2011

We only have one problem with Jonah Sabo, quipped Lindsey Moore, manager of the Hospice Thrift Barn in Landrum. He just wont stop working and take a break.

I have to tell him he cant come to work if he doesnt stop and eat, said Theresa Sabo. She explained that her 21-year-old son Jonah is cognitively delayed and unable to interpret information correctly, but he loves physical labor.

Socially, hes right on; he loves being around people, she said, but hes not always able to communicate well.

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As it turns out, Jonahs strong work ethic benefits him as well as Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, explains Theresa, an occupational therapy student.

Physical exercise helps people organize their brains and function better. Since he started volunteering at the barn, she says, his speech has improved, hes putting more words together and organizing his thoughts better.

Home-schooled with his five brothers and sisters, Jonah is unable to write or do math, but he compensates in other ways. For one thing, there is that work ethic. And for another, there is his smile. Standing in front of the mounds of donations waiting to be sorted and bagged, he grins.

Accepting donated goods from another volunteer, he smiles again. And he grins ear-to-ear when Moore says that Jonah is the man in charge.

When high school students come in to volunteer, I tell them to see Jonah if they need to know where something is, said Moore.

Looking at the mountain of plastic bags and objects of every description donated by the community, it is hard to believe that anyone would know where anything was.

He has an uncanny ability to keep track of everything and remember where it is, said Theresa. To illustrate the point, Jonah walked over to a section of shelves and, in rapid-fire fashion, proudly identified objects.

This opportunity is such a self-esteem builder, his mother said.&bsp; They give him more opportunity here than I would give him at home. They dont hover over him here. They give him something to do, give him instructions and let him start on his own. He will ask for help if he needs it. He knows his limitations, she said.

There is such a sense of pride that comes with his working, she added.

And then, almost on cue, there was that smile as Jonah pointed at his wrist watch, signaled to us that he wants to get busy, and The Man in Charge got to work.

The Hospice Thrift Barn could use more volunteers to help The Man in Charge as the barn supports the work of HoCF in the Carolina Foothills. Contact the Thrift Barn staff at 864-457-7348 if you would like to help.

Hospice of the Carolina Foothills is also always looking for volunteers. Contact volunteer manager Kim Smith at 828-894-7000 or volunteer coordinator Tracey Brannon at 864-457-9100.