The term “volunteer” may evoke several different images in one’s mind. Our unique group of volunteers assist the organization in a vast array of roles, from beautifying and maintaining the Olivia White Hospice Home garden, to leading community-based support groups. Our volunteers also have the special role of supporting the concept of hospice, and help people understand what hospice is and is also what it is not. Becoming a volunteer, in any capacity, not only serves your community but offers life-long benefits to your mind and body. Volunteerism opens the door to new experiences, people, and ideas.
As the Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, my role is centered around volunteerism- meeting potential volunteers and serving as a guide through the projects we offer and assistance we need as an organization. Whether you begin volunteering to begin career-based experiences, or because hospice has affected you directly and you’re looking to give back- all volunteers are treated with the respect and gratitude for offering time to help those in need. Types of volunteering currently fostered by Northland Hospice include, but not limited to: gardening, administrative assistance, assistance at HodgePodge Thrift Store, patient volunteering, leading support groups, and taking part in our numerous special events in the community. Garden volunteers dedicate themselves to the upkeep of the Olivia White Hospice Home garden, and with great care and nurturing- have made it one of the most beautiful sights in town. Administrative volunteers work both inside and outside the office helping write bereavement cards, leading support groups, or logging hours of other volunteers. Those who volunteer at the HodgePodge, (Northland Hospice’s thrift store), have an ever-expanding role of checking in donated items- and taking them out to the floor to be sold. There is great detail to attention given at the Hodgepodge, volunteers diligently monitor the quality of products going out- making sure clothes are pressed, and wares shined. Patient volunteering can be considered the most intimate type of volunteerism offered at Northland Hospice. As a patient volunteer, one becomes a part of a hospice patient’s life- spending time inside the patient’s home or at the Olivia White Hospice Home. A patient volunteer may provide some much needed “respite time” for patient’s loved ones, by staying in the home, giving the caregiver a chance to leave for a few hours in the day. Special Event volunteers are those who help with our fundraisers such as Light-A-Life, Run and Walk for Life, or help with short-term projects, such as card or making blankets for patients. Choosing a volunteer role requires recognition of a realistic time commitment, and where you would like to see your skills most greatly utilized. It is not uncommon for volunteers to expand their service to other facets of volunteerism in the organization. A volunteer may also discover their chosen role doesn’t quite suite them, and with the guidance of staff, are encouraged to try out other volunteer positions within the organization. As a volunteer, one will experience a new sense of self-worth and an increased level of overall happiness. Here is a quote from Tom Hudnall, a volunteer with multiple roles :
“Not only are they [Northland Hospice & Palliative Care]receptive to new volunteers, but everyone goes out of their way to mentor and befriend you. I’ve participated in two hospice fundraisers and was amazed at the total organization and work that went into each event. My patient visits have renewed my faith in myself and my patients.”
As a local non-profit, Northland Hospice works closely with the community, seeking the assistance of community members to fulfill our mission to provide the highest quality end-of-life care regardless of one’s ability to pay. Becoming a volunteer for hospice requires dedication and compassion, and I am proud to say all of our volunteers shine bright.
By Megan Woodson, Volunteer Coordinator, Northland Hospice & Palliative Care