The Volunteer Experience-Laura
Laura has been a volunteer with Unity since 2003. She said she was first drawn to volunteering at Unity because of the personal experiences she’d had with Unity caring for people close to her. “I had a few friends who had developed cancer in their 50’s and one daughter of a co-worker in her 20’s.” It was the way Unity handled the care of the dying and their loved ones that caught Laura’s attention. “I saw the efforts that went into their care and the toll it takes on family trying to do the right thing for their loved one,” said Laura. “In the end, Unity provided staff and services that made their last days more comfortable, and allowed them to be with family, in their own home, honoring their wishes.”
Laura says that volunteering with Unity has given her a sense of gratitude for good health and a deepened appreciation for life. “It adds a sense of value to be able to use something as simple as time to give back and mean so much,” she said.
To those considering volunteering for Unity, Laura says, “Do it. Unity offers so many opportunities to volunteer so you can easily find the best fit for you. I have volunteered in vigil care, companion care, office tasks, baking goodies for meetings, parades, committees, helping in the residence kitchen, doing crafts with the residence families, working events, Christmas shopping and working in the Unity Resale Shoppe. I always have a great time, meet beautiful people, and am left with a sense of gratification for making a small difference. The volunteer coordinators are amazing so you will never feel like a number or an unknown. There is a place for you here.”
The volunteer experience can look like whatever a person wants it to. For Laura, that looks like volunteering at Unity’s Resale Shoppe one Saturday a month for a four hour shift. During that time, she will work in the back cleaning and prepping items for the sales floor, as well as receive donated items. “I work full time and I’m usually at my cabin on the weekends, so my volunteering these days is limited,” Laura said. “I also volunteer on the Patient and Family Advisory Council once a month where a group of us come together to talk about our experiences with Unity and how we can use those experiences to continue to serve others with exceptional service and care. Whenever there are opportunities to volunteer around my work schedule I am usually there to do it.”
The volunteer experience can look like whatever a person wants it to. For Laura, that looks like volunteering at Unity’s Resale Shoppe one Saturday a month for a four hour shift.
Laura says that she looks forward to expanding her volunteer roles in the future. “I would love to one day help out in the office since that is where my strengths are as that is what my career is (Executive Assistant) and I think I could be of help with tasks there. Right now I work days so it makes it impossible for me to do that but one day in my retirement days I will volunteer in the office at Unity,” she said.
We asked Laura to share a memorable experience during her time volunteering with Unity. This is what she said: “I have many, but one that sticks out the most and I will remember always was one of my longer term clients in companion care. She has since gone on to her heavenly home but while she was here, she sure made a difference in my life. She had a beautiful heart, and a youthful free spirited personality. I would go sit with her for a chat, do some yard work, bake cookies, clean her house, whatever she needed that day. One of the things I will always remember about her was the sparkle in her eyes when I would share the current adventure in my life whether that be traveling, running a marathon, helping with a women’s build for Habitat for Humanity or just talking about family or sharing family photos.”
“She loved to listen and you could see the memories from her own younger years being relived in her mind as we talked. She would always say to me, ‘Girl, give’er hell while you still can.’ To this day I remember her voice and those words whenever I think I shouldn’t or can’t do something and it gives me the courage and sometimes tenacity to push on and ‘give’er hell’ because I still can.”
This blog post was shared by Laura, a Volunteer at Unity Hospice.
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