Alyssa Portillo

- Healing Care Hospice Volunteer Coordinator

What does it mean to be a Volunteer? A volunteer is mostly defined as a person carrying the ability to “freely offer to take part or do something without having to be asked.” The term Volunteer comes from the French origin pertaining to military service in reference to committing and sacrificing one’s self for someone else.

Healing Care Hospice has the 0privilege of giving honorable acknowledgment to our 18 continuous volunteers this Volunteer Appreciation Week occurring April 7th – 13th, 2019. Beginning in 1974, Volunteer Appreciation Week was created by President Richard Nixon to recognize the tremendous impacts that volunteerism had established throughout our nation. The week is meant to reinforce the larger theme of “Celebrating People in Action” by cultivating a culture of service and community within the United States.

By 1989, the week began its largest sponsorship with the Points of Light Institute founded by President George H.W. Bush, which promotes active volunteerism on a larger, inclusive scale through community activism. By 2007, Points of Light partnered with the HandsOn Network establishing the country’s largest volunteer management organization celebrating civilian service.

Although Volunteer Appreciate Week is a weeklong recognition, we at Healing Care Hospice could not provide adequate patient care without the continuous investment made by our volunteers year round. Over the past seven months, we have harvested over 400 hours of volunteer service through our two service areas in direct patient care and administrative roles. Our volunteers are vital to our patients’ care teams as they provide companionship, socialization, and a sense of normalcy to their illnesses.

Hospice is not for the faint of heart, so we feel incredibly honored to oversee a group of individuals who want to make a difference while understanding the emotional aspect that their role entails. Hospice is generally a scary term for any audience, but our volunteers understand that their presence and intentionality ensures that our patient’s feel accepted with who they are as a human being in that moment rather than focusing on their life limiting illness.

 We understanding that we can’t heal anyone, but the impact goes beyond the physical. Volunteers provide emotional support and a chance to mend hearts from past or even current life situations. As part of the medical care team, volunteers continue to be vital forces that awaken a patients’ spirit through various engaging activities and provide the family or care giving staff much needed support to be able to continue the patient’s individualize plan of care.

We feel so incredibly honored to recognize Healing Care Hospice Volunteers this Volunteer Appreciation Month and look forward to continue growing our team to provide the best care for our patients!