Some might think that the attitude of those in a retirement community would be something like, "What do I care?" or "That is none of my concern" or the trendy, "Been there, done that!" Newcomers to Carolina Meadows find an attitude that is quite different.Jean Ayres has been driving for Meals on Wheels for more than 20 years. She started a long time before moving to Carolina Meadows and continues because, as she says, "I wanted to give something back to my community and this was something I could do."The same sentiment is expressed many times over by dozens of residents. Carolina Meadows has a Chapel Hill mailing address but is in Chatham County. Both Chatham and Orange counties are viewed as "our community."Sometimes a volunteering activity has something to do with a former profession. Sallie Comey spent many years as a pediatric nurse. Her love of children, she confesses, is the reason she was attracted to that specialty in the first place. Then she had the additional experience of being a mother and, even more, had one of her own children hospitalized. She's familiar with the whole picture; as a professional dealing with a tiny patient's worried mother and then being that concerned mother herself. It's hardly surprising that Comey, in retirement, has been drawn to N.C. Children's Hospital and gives her time every week to help with a special gathering for parents. "Patients come from all over the state and even the country," Comey said. "Sometimes the parents have been up all night with a sick or injured child, and they need some time away, some time to talk with other parents and a little nourishment along with comfort and support."Richard King is relatively new to Carolina Meadows, but he has been a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity for almost 18 years and continues this interest first started through his church in Chapel Hill. However, he is quick to point out he is one of many men and women at Carolina Meadows who take part in this volunteer activity. He's done it all, from construction to board membership, raising money, developing programs and selection of Habitat families. He admits that he really enjoys the activity, but adds, "You're not there just to have fun. Volunteers are there to do something that helps a family make a difference in their lives." King, a retired physiology professor at UNC, thought at first that he would take part in Habitat in order to "demystify" the process of home construction. Later, working with the people captured his interest. "I found that I was introduced to people in the community that I would not otherwise meet and now have many long-time friends that I value," King said. "It's not just a house; it's really about the people. The Habitat families make the dedication."Ottilie Condolff looks at volunteering from a different perspective. "The need you had at one time that either you got or you didn't get -- that's what motivates you to volunteer," Condolff said. Her experience in taking care of an invalid mother led her to volunteer as a hospital patient-feeder. This, in turn, allowed her to see hospice in action and she knew she wanted to give back in that way. "There are so many things a person can do to help," Condolff said. "I found I could do administrative work such as computer entry." Though not a regular anymore, she still helps out when she is needed.Find a Saturday in October when there is no ball game and you will find Irv Rimer attending the Celebration of Life. This event brings together almost 300 former patients of the UNC Hospitals Burn Unit and their families and friends. Not a fundraiser, the celebration is just that: the expression of the joy of survival and of continuing life often in spite of disfiguring scars, loss of ears or fingers or hair.Rimer is not such a survivor. But one of Rimer's tennis-playing buddies, who was, interested him in lending his considerable talents to supporting this cause. "Being involved has enriched my life," Rimer said. "I have found it deeply satisfying."And then there are the teachers who continue to teach and lend support to new learners. Betty Bailey's face lights up when she talks about her involvement with Silk Hope pre-K school in Chatham County. Bailey has been long involved in a number of volunteer projects, but the pre-K work has been her delight. She serves in many ways, from the board of directors and reading to the children to providing professional advice to the staff and even making colorful curtains for the windows. There are those who tutor English as a second language and those who assist in translation for non-English speakers in a variety of situations. Rowie Samson, although not formally educated as a teacher, has found her niche working with first- or second-graders on a one-to-one basis to improve reading and writing skills. "Such rewarding activity!" she smiles. Spearheading drives for non-perishable food items, raising money, recruiting volunteers, giving countless volunteer hours and even arranging transportation for some of the large group of volunteers, Esther Bovarnick is Carolina Meadow's Outreach Committee liaison to The Chatham OutReach Alliance (CORA) Food Pantry in Pittsboro. The diminutive Bovarnick, who doesn't look as though she could lift just one substantial bag of groceries, has been instrumental in the collection of tons of food as well as more than $10,000 to help provide emergency food to Chatham County residents who are temporarily unable to provide for themselves and their families. Bovarnick exudes the sense of urgency she has in helping provide food for our hungry neighbors. "There are so many children involved," she said.Some others who get involved when their neighbor's children need help are Jean Waterbury, Natalie Tennant and Betty Tucker. They volunteer at Ronald MacDonald House to serve the patients and families of North Carolina Children's Hospital. Seeing to the needs of family members is an indirect way to take care of very ill children who come to Chapel Hill for treatment. Out-of-town parents find a place to stay and a caring family atmosphere convenient to the hospital along with sympathetic and caring volunteers. Tennant is the "kitchen person" and Waterbury is one who helps prepare the rooms for guests. Tucker often is at the front desk. They all share the unselfish devotion of time, energy and talent to a cause. However, they say that the "pay" is really good. "I just love it when they come in and tell me the baby is better," Tennant said.