There’s no need to stress and worry about what gifts to purchase this holiday season. Instead of searching for the ‘perfect’ gift, why not volunteer your time to help others? It’s a gift that lasts all year!
Volunteering allows you to change and improve many lives, including your own. There are a variety of opportunities available in any neighborhood, in any county, in any state, where you can make a huge difference. Just ask Ashley Potter or Stephen Nierman, who both volunteer regularly for BAYADA Hospice.
Ashley, 27, a graduate student living and studying in the Philadelphia area, provides the gift of music for patients who are cared for by the Media, PA office of BAYADA Hospice. Her mother received hospice services at the end of her life, and Ashley says her local hospice team was "a true blessing" during that time. "I wanted to help ease the burden and anxiety I knew was felt by so many other families because I understood their loss," she said. "I also understood that a loved one’s final days and months could be a time of peace, healing, sharing of memories, and a celebration of their life. I wanted to do my part in making that a reality for others."
One of Ashley’s patients is a retired French horn player for a Delaware symphony. Since Ashley was a flutist since age 12, she thought he would like to hear some classical music during their visits, and began playing for him. Now, he and his wife look forward to their private "recital" each week. Another patient, a fan of opera music who has dementia, frequently asked Ashley if it was Christmas. "I always said that it was, and I played Christmas music for her, which she enjoyed. Although verbal communication is difficult, she sometimes says thank you and tells me that it sounds nice."
Stephen Nierman, a 66-year-old semi-retired research scientist and teacher, wanted to provide companionship to those who may be lonely and in need of someone to talk to. Having lost his brother a few years prior, he understood what it meant to be lonely and sad. One day, while driving past the Norwich, VT office of BAYADA Hospice, he decided to help.
His patient, who lives in a nursing home and who suffers from dementia, always remembers his name and looks forward to his weekly visits. "It’s so gratifying to know that what I’m doing helps other people," he said. "It doesn’t require a large time commitment, just a desire to do something nice for someone else."
Volunteers with BAYADA Hospice must be over 18 years of age and have not suffered a significant loss over the past year. In addition to patient visits, opportunities include bereavement correspondence, light meal preparation, routine errands, and office administration.
"The BAYADA volunteer team is a phenomenal group of professionals who are excellent at what they do," Ashley said. "Their gratitude for the volunteers is deeply felt and they make every effort to include us as a vital part of the organization. The work they do is incredible and I am honored to be a part of something so wonderful."
There are many ways to volunteer with BAYADA Hospice. All volunteers undergo training and orientation. For more information, contact any of the offices below:
Media: Jennifer Matzner, 610-627-2050 or firstname.lastname@example.org (serving Philadelphia, Chester, and Delaware counties)
Boyertown: Angela Snyder, 610-367-1608 or email@example.com (serving Berks and Montgomery counties)
Burlington: Molly Bull, 802-448-1610 (covering Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, and Washington counties)
Rutland: Kate Lathrop, 802-282-4122 or firstname.lastname@example.org (serving the entire state)
Norwich: Nancy Pessia, 802-526-2380 or email@example.com (serving the entire state and parts of New Hampshire)