Volunteer Spotlight: Joan Marsden

Ms. Joan Marsden may be 82-years-old, but there one thing that’s for sure – there’s no slowing her down. A United Way Volunteer for 36 years, Joan knows a thing or two about giving back to the community she loves. And while she’s spent more than three decades volunteering with United Way, her days of serving others dates to elementary school, when she was first introduced to service work through the American Red Cross.


Growing up, Joan was the 8th of 15 children. At the age of 14, her mother passed away, and Joan took on the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings. She recalls the first Christmas without her mother and how the community came together to give Joan and her siblings a special holiday surprise.


“There were so many presents donated from the entire community – you could barely walk into the house,” said Joan. “People have always stepped up and helped me when I needed it, so I’m glad that now I’m in a place where I can help others.”


When Joan learned about United Way’s United Christmas Service program several years later, she just knew it was a natural fit and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to help others in the same way people so generously once helped her. Since becoming involved with United Christmas Service, Joan has been a familiar face and comforting presence to everyone involved with the program.


“I just love helping people,” said Joan. “It’s such a joy to see a child’s face light up when they learn something new or receive a gift.”


Over the years, Joan has expanded her volunteer work to Day of Caring and ReadUP. Outside of United Way she has volunteered with American Red Cross, Child Advocates, the Indianapolis Fire Department and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. And as if that weren’t enough, Joan also sings in her church choir and serves on several boards throughout the community.


“I truly think I was put on Earth to help others. I wouldn’t give up my time as a volunteer for anything,” said Joan.