Service Learning Essay

860 words - 3 pages

I signed up to volunteer at a local nursing home. Because my father works there, I have been there many times before. However, volunteering there was very new to me.

I had to understand the circumstances in which people were in and how interact with residents respectfully and compassionately which provided opportunities for personal growth by practicing integrity, justice and good stewardship. Though I was a bit hesitant, my experience has been very positive. Just being a volunteer without any related experience or skills, I was unqualified to help and many ways. The few menial tasks that I was able to do seemed to be met with much enthusiasm and appreciation. Simply helping someone to their seat bringing them a cup of tea or making conversation was enough make a smile. My goal was to help change everyone’s day for the better in what little ways I can and I think my experience reflects my success.

The residents seem to be treated fairly and justly; there is no particular thing I would change if I were in charge of that home. However, it does lead me to think about those vulnerable individuals that aren’t getting the assistance they deserve. From this experience, I can clearly see the need the elderly have, and I can fathom the very real possibility of individuals whose families are unknowing, unwilling or unable to provide the necessary assistance the need.

I learned quite a bit at my orientation. St. Mary’s Home opened in 1936 because of an apparent lack of Catholic homes for the aged. At the beginning, the Sisters did almost all the work as well as provide care. Throughout the years, additions were made to the building and the Sisters began hiring employees to relieve some of their duties such as laundry, housekeeping and food preparation. As needs of the community changed, St. Mary’s home met with the change and began branching out into more community based services. Throughout their history, their mission was always to provide quality care with respect and dignity to the elderly.

I had my moments of success and happiness when I was able to help someone along and see how appreciative they were. There were also times that were saddening and uncomfortable. When visiting rooms, I did encounter people who were losing grip on their mental and physical abilities. I felt a heaviness because even though they were taken care of, there wasn’t that could be done to make them...

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