Home Away from Homestead...
Every Monday evening, I serve at Homestead Assisted Living along with seven youth volunteers of YVCKC. For two hours each week, we have the opportunity to reach out to a populace that is generally ignored and forgotten. Even though several of the elderly tenants have grown up children, few have children who live close enough to regularly visit. That’s where I feel like we come in.
Everyone needs human interaction if not by family then by friends. I am thankful that we have been given the opportunity to volunteer frequently enough to become more than mere acquaintances to the residents at Homestead. Our conversations, games, crafts and special meals shared have developed into friendships that have transcended challenges and generational differences.
Whenever a youth takes the time to listen to a resident suffering from dementia or alzheimers, I can’t begin to describe how honored I am to have played a part in bringing them together. Because of the time spent volunteering at places like Homestead, I have witnessed youth develop empathy and display maturity far beyond their years. Every time I attempt to lead by example in service, their service inspires me.
Over the past several years that YVCKC has been serving at Homestead, we have built a reputation based upon congenial interactions. The volunteer coordinator, Tricia Yates, is always thrilled to see us and is wonderful about scheduling activities that both the youth and residents love. Whether we are knocking down pins in a neck-to-neck bowling competition, hitting the high notes in karaoke, pantomiming for charades, creating foam snowflakes, or playing Upwords Scrabble, everyone knows they can come expecting to have a good time.
I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to volunteer in such a laid back, welcoming environment every week. That being said, I know this kind of special, positive relationship with an agency is hard to come by simply because it takes everyone involved to make it so. I am happy to say I had a part in that and will do everything in my power to keep it that way! Thank you Youth Volunteer Corps for funding the difference that is being made at Homestead and every other agency we have had the honor of serving!
Jennifer Betz, Youth Volunteer Team Leader