Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – Assited Living

Name: Samantha Lappin
From: Eustis, Florda
Grade: 12
School: Eustis High School
Votes: 0

The area in which I have chosen to volunteer is the elderly. I initially
chose this area because it was easy to secure a place. I continue to
go back because I love the people at the home. They have been almost
forgotten by the world, and they get so excited whenever I visit. It
warms my heart.

I fulfilled the hundred hours for Bright Futures by going to the home
approximately twelve hours a week over the summer. During the school
year I haven’t been able to visit as much, perhaps a few hours a
month.

As a volunteer, my responsibilities are the entertainment of the
residents in the home, so I help the staff members move the residents
and then I play games with them, either on their team or as an
opponent. Sometimes, if I remember the sheet music, I play the piano
in the dining hall while the residents eat lunch.

My biggest challenge so far was when one of my friends died. She was a
piano player as well, so I would ask her to play for me occasionally.
Then her health began to disintegrate and I watched as it became
harder and harder for her to play. She asked me to play for her,
since she could not. I reintroduced myself to her weekly, then daily,
then more than once a visit. When she died, I was devastated.

What has given me the most satisfaction as a volunteer is seeing the way
the residents’ faces light up whenever I come to visit, set up a
game, or play the piano.

From all of this, I’ve learned so much about how to appreciate life
while it’s happening and I’ve gained an appreciation of life
forty years before I was born.

The volunteer work helps me with social skills, since I’m going into
international business.

I’m not sure that my efforts are really “forward looking” because, to
me, “forward looking” would mean that I’m preparing to impact
the future on a large scale but I’m not worried about affecting the
future on a large scale. These people aren’t guaranteed more time,
and I can’t help more than five residents simultaneously. Right
now, I just want to make their “today” the best it can be.

I would love for my efforts to encourage more teens and children to
visit retirement and assisted living homes so that these people
aren’t quite so lonely. That’s why I set up a concert of high
school musicians in a nursing home, so I could introduce more teens
to this little corner of the world.

I’m not sure if my efforts would have made a difference in ten, twenty,
or thirty years because, most likely, all of the residents whose
lives I try so hard to brighten will be dead and forgotten by the
staff as they focus on trying to help many patients. Perhaps there
will be more visitors and games and music for residents in the
future.


Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".