Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – Angel Watch

Name: Valentina Giron Castano
From: Irvine, California
Grade: Sophomore in College (Junior in College 2017-2018)
School: University of California, Irvine
Votes: 0

My volunteering
search began when I realized that schools looked for students that
would give back to their community. At first, it seemed like a
selfish reason to volunteer but as soon as I began my volunteering
experience I understood that what I did was more for the people than
for myself. I volunteer at Compassus Hospice Care. This type of
volunteering is not easy, but it is very rewarding. I chose Hospice
because I read about how these types of patients are usually very
lonely and many of them don’t have families to visit them. I felt
that I could give some of my time to make their days brighter.

I’ve been
volunteering for a year and half with Hospice and my times per week
vary depending on how many patients I visit. I usually visit 1 hour
per patient per week. As a volunteer at Hospice I am responsible for
visiting patients of all ages who have been diagnosed with an
end-of-life illness. When visiting them I talk to them and make them
feel comfortable by massaging their hands. As a volunteer, we are
also allowed to take the patients out on walks with the help of a
nurse. But the hardest responsibility I have ever had during this
volunteering experience is when I had to do “angel watch”. In
Hospice, “angel watch” is when a volunteer accompanies a patient
during their transition from life to death. This responsibility is
optional and only for those who feel they are capable of it.

My biggest
challenge has been sitting next to a patient that was transitioning
because I had been visiting this patient for a while and I had
created a bond with this patient. It was very hard to sit through
that but during that process I realized how important it was. If I
wasn’t there with them they would be dying alone. The biggest
satisfaction from volunteering at Hospice is that I can give time out
of my day to visit these patients to make them feel especial and
happy. I know that my visits help them a lot and the best part is
that they have something to look forward to each week. From
volunteering I’ve learned that I am very fortunate to have my
family since the patients I visit are not as fortunate as I am.

To me “forward looking” means how what I do impacts the lives of
the patients in the future. I believe that by visiting them I am
impacting their lives in a very positive way. With my volunteering, I
hope that more people become aware of the need for volunteers to
visit these patients and that they understand how this act of
kindness changes the lives of the patients. I know that in twenty
years from now my volunteering did make a difference in the lives of
those patients and even though they were at their last stage in life
I was there to make those days especial.

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