Still planting the seeds of change
Lifelong volunteers create a special message for their children and make a promise to support the work of AFSC far into the future.
Helen and Oliver Wolcott met and fell in love while they were undergraduates at Swarthmore College. That’s also where they first crossed paths with American Friends Service Committee and, like their marriage, it’s a relationship that has held strong for more than five decades.
Now, these long-time AFSC donors and volunteers have included the organization in their estate plan. It’s another way to support the peace and justice causes that have been central to their lives. “I also like the message it gives to our children when they look at our will,” Helen adds. “It’s a way of telling them about the organizations that are important to us.”
Helen and Ollie met in an economics class in the late 1940s. In the summer of 1949, Helen joined Ollie as an attendant at Norristown State Hospital in Pennsylvania, where AFSC ran a project for psychiatric patients. “We were the lowly people who, with almost no training, were in charge of this over-crowded facility of mentally ill patients,” Helen recalls.
Later, they served at several AFSC work camps, including one at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where they helped build bus shelters for school children and ran a youth program.
Eventually, they settled in Denver, Colorado, where they continued their involvement with AFSC and various struggles for social justice, including the Civil Rights Movement.
“I like to feel that in some small way we’re working for world peace and justice,” Helen says of the couple’s involvement with AFSC. “We approve of everything AFSC does.”