McLaren Hospice celebrates National Volunteer Week

As part of National Volunteer Week, we at McLaren Hospice would like to recognize some of our volunteers for their hard work and dedication. McLaren Hospice volunteers provide support to our hospice patients and their families, whether it is through companionship, in-home respite care, office support, pet and music therapy, working in the memorial gardens, or assisting with community events.

Submission by Sue McCarty, Bay City volunteer coordinator

One of the most difficult duties of a volunteer coordinator is picking one volunteer to recognize as the volunteer of the year. This year as a hospice team we have selected a volunteer who just stands out as a simply amazing, loving and caring hospice volunteer.

This volunteer visits with many of our hospice patients, offering them the chance to tell their story one more time (life review), offers the ministry of presence and soft touch, and reads them their favorite Bible passages or other religious readings and prayers. This volunteer has a soft, sweet way about her and love just bounds from this very gifted lady.

This volunteer has been an active volunteer since August 2011, taking public transportation and Dial-A- Ride to visit more than eight facilities. The volunteer of the year recipient is Sister Edith. She spreads love and joy wherever she goes, always giving her best. McLaren Hospice is blessed to have her on our awesome team.

As you can see, Sister Edith is so deserving of the honor of the volunteer of the year award. The first time I interviewed Sister, it was obvious she is a gem. Thank you for making such a difference for our patients and our hospice team.

Volunteers
Submission by Suzanne Maurer, Lansing volunteer coordinator

Volunteers find the hospice volunteer opportunity in many ways"”online, newspaper listings, church bulletins and word of mouth. Our volunteer force also includes many age groups: college students, working professionals and retired individuals. Last year, Michigan State University student Jessica Richards found an online listing for hospice volunteering. After meeting with me, she was excited about the opportunity and shared with her mom, Leanne Richards. Leanne had been looking for a volunteer opportunity and decided to join her daughter in the next training session. McLaren Hospice Lansing gained two amazing volunteers! Mother and daughter each provide companionship, support, and share their caring spirit with McLaren Hospice patients.
When asked, "why do you volunteer?"

Jessica:

"As a college student, there are many things we can do to get experience in our field of interest. Hospice was one of those organizations I have always felt compelled to volunteer for, and my junior year of college I reached out to Suzanne and I have been a companionship volunteer ever since. I have always had a passion for giving back to the community, and I feel as though hospice is a unique and humbling way to provide community service to the terminally ill. Each and every experience I have had thus far through my work for hospice have been experiences I will forever cherish."

Leanne:

"I have always volunteered because I feel that I have been truly blessed in many ways and I love to give back. I actively volunteered in my children's schools over the years, and after they graduated from high school I was looking for another organization or two where I could perhaps make a difference and spread some smiles around. My grandmother was a volunteer for hospice for many years and she often spoke about how she helped people. That inspired me. Last year, my daughter Jess expressed interest in volunteering for hospice so we decided to do it together! It's so gratifying and it makes me happy to spend time with these people who benefit so greatly from the companionship."


Submission by Kara Mannino, McLaren Sterling Heights volunteer
Volunteer
"In 2016, I left a job that I had for 15 years to start my own business. Excited to start something new, my only regret was ending the role of supporting and advocating for others, which had been a primary function of that previous position. That element of my job became more fulfilling than I had ever expected, and I wondered if I would find the opportunity to support others, as my new career path was completely different.

In early 2017, I had the opportunity to become a McLaren Hospice volunteer. After completing the training, I was confident that serving as a hospice volunteer would become the perfect opportunity to support and advocate for others at the most important stage in their lives. I'm grateful to report that this has been so.

I quickly learned that I was not becoming a part of the lives of the men and women I was meeting; they were becoming a part of mine. I cherish the friendships I've been fortunate to form these last 12 months. Age gaps dissolved. Different walks of life merged onto the same path, and I had the opportunity to be consoled by the very people I was visiting to console. Some of my friendships were brief, some a bit longer, and one special friendship spanned almost 10 months. My role as a hospice volunteer has allowed me to support and advocate for others. However, those people that I've met enriched my life as well."

Volunteer
Submission by Matt Meeuwse, Davison supervisor volunteer services

Kathleen Hulquist has been a volunteer with McLaren Hospice since 2005. Throughout the years, she has been in charge of making sure the admission packets are made and stocked for hospice. While this sounds like a basic job, she states that "it is hard to keep up with all the changes in health care!" Each week Kathleen makes and restocks between 30-40 admission packets by Tuesday at 11 a.m. In the 13 years she has been volunteering, rarely, has Kathleen ever missed a day!

When asking Kathleen why she volunteers with McLaren, she replies "I really enjoy it and I like having the opportunity to help others. I also really enjoy working with the people."

For more information on McLaren Hospice volunteer services, call (810) 496-8757.