From the earliest days of my youth, my mom and dad instilled in me the importance of being friendly and outgoing with other people. I learned that just saying hello and smiling at a complete stranger brought out an unselfish desire to help anyone.
I have been volunteering at Unity for 2 ½ years. I don’t volunteer just to have something to do. I volunteer to make a difference in people’s lives. When I say, “Have a good day,” “Hello, how may I help you,” I see their faces, that turn from unhappiness to smiles. I have been working at the main entrance for a long time. I like being on the “front line.” I believe people need to be greeted not only with words but eye contact also. You can read a person’s eye and facial expressions and know exactly what to say.
When I work my shifts, I strive to keep wheelchairs in order, make sure work area is free from clutter and keep magazines in order in the sitting areas. The best thing about volunteering is working with great coworkers. I like to have new volunteers shadow with me. I don’t think volunteering is a job. Volunteering has been in my blood and I love to serve the public.
I volunteered at my church in cleaning, at bake sales and other events. My friends, Sister Pat and Sister Carol saw in the church bulletin that Edna Tina Wilson Living Center was a looking for a Eucharistic Minister and they told me, “Hilde, that’s for you!”
So I went to Edna Tina and was hired. I started out working only one hour on Saturday mornings. Before you know it I was working more days and more hours. I started visiting one-on-one with the residents. I held their hands, or gave them a hug, or kiss on their forehead and a smile goes a long way. I listened to their stories, I prayed with them, I get to know their families, and at the end of their life, I am there to pray with the family and express my sympathy.
When we have entertainment such as music, we clap our hands to get them to sing and clap along. I am from their generation and they have confidence in me. So I understand when they tell me about their problems and their families. We are one big family with lots of love. And the greatest gift you can give is the gift of yourself.
I volunteer between 15-20 hours per week. I say the Rosary with them; I assist with Catholic Mass, Communion and Anointing. Edna Tina is a wonderful place to volunteer and the staff is very caring. I think of the residents here as my second family.
I am a local high school student and wanted to start giving back to my community so I decided to start volunteering. I have been volunteering at Unity for a little over a year now and it is still one of my favorite things to do. I have met a lot of great people including those that I also volunteer with. Unity has created a wonderful environment for their volunteer which is what makes volunteering even more enjoyable. Being a really big people person, interacting with patients, visitors and other volunteers is really good for me.
I will sometimes discharge patients along with what I usually do which is show visitors around the hospital and get them to where they need to be. It’s really nice to discharge patients because it’s my opportunity to leave a lasting impression and be able to show them kindness after they’ve usually had a long stay and literally can’t wait to leave.
It feels really good to be able to help people and express kindness because that is a value that I consider to be incredibly important. I truly do love volunteering at Unity and am excited to continue.