Making a Difference in the Stark County Community

Guardian Support Services works alongside hospitals, nursing homes, and other locations where someone may need guardianship. Guardian Support Services also assists families who need guardianship for a loved one. Our volunteers visit wards at least once per month and help advocate for and become a friend to a ward. Guardian Support Services is here to work with volunteers and wards to provide assistance and training when needed.

Guardian Support Services Responsibilities:

  • Respond to inquiries concerning procedure for establishing guardianship
  • Provide training for guardians of the person
  • Refer cases to entity or person qualified, willing, and able to serve as guardian of the person
  • Review required documents and provide representation for the appointment of guardians
  • Assist guardians with questions and filing necessary reports and court documents
  • Respect the privacy and autonomy of the ward and the guardian
  • Serve the community with integrity and compassion

Volunteer Stories

Creating Memories

My most memorable guardianship was a 100-year-old lady. She was outspoken and not pleased that I wasn’t her “kin”. We developed a caring and trusting relationship. I celebrated with her being crowned Valentine Queen and her 101st birthday… It has been a privilege to be associated with GSS. I think of it as part of my purpose in this life. I’ve been grateful for each guardianship I’ve been entrusted with. I’m sure I’ve gained more than I’ve given.

Martha Busto, Volunteer Guardian

Making a Difference

Little heat or running water and rat infestation in the home. The thin man in his 90’s was wearing a t-shirt and lying on a dirty bed on the second floor of his home. Snow was used to flush the downstairs toilet. But there was no bathroom on the second floor so John used a bucket. John had no medicine to treat his COPD, dementia, leg ulcers, depression and a host of other ailments. The magistrate’s decision cited these conditions as cause to remove him from his “home”.

John now lives in a care facility in Stark County. He is safe, clean, clothed and has the medicine that he needs.

But John has more than the basic necessities that we take for granted. He has someone who is concerned about his health condition, cares whether he eats, and is happy that his depression has lessened.

John has someone new in his life. She is not a nurse, a social worker or an aid. She is his guardian. Jane loves taking care of people. Before she was appointed by the court, she visited John and called Guardian Support Services, Inc.

She said the care facility told her John had nothing to wear. No underwear. No shoes. No outside clothes. As I said, Jane loves to take care of people.

Jane called back a few days later. She was washing John’s new underwear. She bought him a belt, shoes and some outside clothes. I told her to reimburse herself from his personal needs account at the care facility. She said no. She likes to do things for people. Her next task, she said, was to help him with his depression.

I visited John and Jane on Sunday afternoon in March. John’s old, but still beautiful, blue eyes light up when Jane’s around. She definitely is working on the depression.

By the way, 6 weeks after John entered the care facility, a family member was heating his “home” with the gas burners on the kitchen stove. There was a fire. The house burned to the ground. The second floor was gone.

Volunteer Guardian

Her final words were, "I love you."

The elderly woman had passed away and the volunteer guardian pushed back the tears as she thought about those words – shared with her, almost as a gift, as she placed a warm blanket on the woman dying in the hospital.

No one had fully prepared the volunteer guardian for the love that would come her way from the woman, her court-appointed ward of the court, all because of a simple act.

Have you ever thought about what an elderly person really needs?

A warm blanket, a quick hug, a friendly smile, someone to listen to- simple signs that someone cares. It really isn’t that complicated. It’s not that different from what you and I need.

The real difference is that the people served by Guardian Support Services don’t have family members in their lives to do those simple acts of caring. They are alone.

These are some of the simple acts that volunteer guardians do for their wards. They aren’t earth shattering acts but they can be life changing ones. Life changing because someone took the time to say “You matter – I care about you.”

Guardian Support Services plays a vital role in our community as the number of elderly poor who are alone and in need of someone to care about them increases in Stark County.

Sincerely yours,
SC, Volunteer Guardian