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February 15, 2005 > Hospice Volunteering Offers Unique Gifts

Hospice Volunteering Offers Unique Gifts

by Deborah Stinchfield

Give yourself a special gift in 2005 and become a Hospice volunteer. Hospice volunteers are urgently needed in your neighborhood. Training for volunteers begins on Feb. 28 in Castro Valley and June 6 in Oakland. Trainings are held at other Bay Area locations throughout the year. Volunteers are welcome to attend the location most convenient for them.

This uniquely satisfying volunteer role enables you to provide one-on-one support to patients and their families, at a time when it is needed most. Activities include companionship, errands, precious time-off for the family caregiver, or simply listening. Volunteers with special skills such as massage, Reiki, Healing Touch or other complementary medicine services will enjoy working with Hospice families. Volunteers may also assist grieving families through telephone calls, home visits or facilitating grief support groups.

Josefina Mejia has been a Hospice family support volunteer for more than two years. Personal experience and her beliefs influenced her decision to volunteer. "I felt this was one way I could be of assistance to others. I make it a point to create a balance in my life between doing both selfless and selfish activities. The training reiterated my belief that we can accept death's inevitability with grace, compassion and gratitude for those we are blessed to assist."

Mejia performs many different tasks for her Hospice families, including listening. "They are so thankful that a complete stranger would come to them at their most vulnerable time. I have learned patience and unconditional caring from them."

Mejia urges others to consider being a Hospice volunteer. "Being with individuals who are facing the end of helps one appreciate life's ongoing challenges. Being part of the Hospice team truly validates the phrase - "Life is good."'

For more information or to enroll in the training call Alicia Baptista, Volunteer Resources at (510) 613-2017, or e-mail abaptista@pathwayshealth.org.

Pathways Home Health, Hospice & Private Duty is a community-based, non-profit organization with one mission: To deliver compassionate, quality health care in your place of residence that promotes comfort, independence and dignity. Pathways has served San Francisco Bay Area families for over 27 years in communities throughout San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda and Western Contra Costa Counties.

For more information about Pathways services, volunteering, or how you can make a donation in support of Pathways' families, call (888) 755.7855 or visit www.pathwayshealth.org.

 
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