“I have been a hospice volunteer since 1992. I visit my patients about once a week. My role as a volunteer is to keep them company so they feel less lonely than they would otherwise. We just hang out. A lot of them are too sick to move much, so I may run errands for them, but it’s all about being present: listening and just showing up, demonstrating that they’re worth my time and that somebody is noticing that the world is about to lose someone. It’s important to forget about everything else in my life and be available for whatever they want–maybe a distraction, maybe someone to talk to. A lot of the magic in this is that the prominent people in their life know what they’re about to lose; when I step in, all I know is what they want me to know. My background is not medical, so I can step in with fresh eyes so they can tell me whatever they want and feel comfortable doing so.”
P.S. Los Angeles,
“I am also a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer, where I advocate for foster youth. I am assigned to one child at a time. My job essentially is to report back to the court what I believe is in the child’s best interest. I’ll spend time with and talk to the child, the biological parents, and the foster parents; I’ll talk to the teacher, social worker, attorney, and therapist; and I’ll do my best to advocate for what is in the child’s best interest. I’m not paid to be there, which is an outstanding feature for the kids; it shows them that I just want to be there for them. During this pandemic, I’m contacting the school to make sure the child is getting everything she needs. She didn’t have a laptop or wifi, so we got her a laptop and a hotspot from the school. We wanted her to have every opportunity for educational success. I was desperate to do my best for her and for the system meant to protect these kids.”