Volunteering Makes a Difference
Debbie Perks, Employee & Past Volunteer
Before I became an employee, I volunteered for The Chaplaincy, in the administrative area, for over 3 years.
I first became familiar with the hospice program when I lived in South Carolina and my father became terminally ill. Hospice provided invaluable knowledge, compassion, and support to our family during the many months preceding and following his death in August 1999. The death of a parent tends to make you face your own mortality and creates a stronger desire to ensure that your own life makes a difference.
My husband, son, and I moved to Richland in March of 2001. We were invited to attend our first Chaplaincy Breakfast in December 2002. I left the breakfast that morning so impressed with the invaluable service The Chaplaincy provides to the community that I wanted to help in any way I could. Since my past work experience was clerical and administrative related, I offered to volunteer in the office twice a week. The office personnel said they were thrilled to have someone devoted entirely to helping them make copies, file, type, answer the phone, etc. I realized quickly that even though some of my tasks were not very exciting (such as stuffing hundreds of envelopes), being there to take care of routine tasks enabled a staff member to concentrate on much more important issues. My help allows them to comfort a bereaved family member; arrange for a prescription to be picked up and delivered to an in-home hospice patient; being able to provide family members of new hospice patients with the knowledge and skills they will need to get them through difficult times; and training new volunteers. It seems like almost every week a staff member lets me know how much they appreciate the time I spend at the Chaplaincy. Am I making a difference? Yes, I believe I am.