What I Look Forward to When I Volunteer

Monday, June 17, 2013

The first night that I went to Lyon Manor, I expected to have a much different experience than I did.  When I heard the words ‘independent living center’, I expected the residents to need much more assistance.  I did not think that it would be so laid back and I did not realize that the residents would be able to go and come as they please.  I did not expect to terribly lose a game of chess against one resident.  I did not expect to laugh so hard that I cried.  And I certainly did not expect to form a friendship that I hold that close to my heart.
Every Tuesday I look forward to going to Lyon Manor.  I have a friend who lives there named Joanne.  She has a hard exterior and is not usually very happy.  But this past year, she and I have become so close.  Every week I bring a craft for the residents and Eastern students to do together, whenever I ask Joanne to work with me on one, she refuses because of her arthritis.  At Christmas time, I brought supplies so that the residents could make cards for their families.  This was one of the few times that Joanne agreed to do the craft; she made me a card, with a long poem about how much she loves me.  Joanne makes such an impact on my life; I cannot imagine my life without her or any of the other residents at Lyon Manor.
Recently, I went to the Impact conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It is an annual conference about community engagement and social justice.  There I was inspired to find more ways to make our time at Lyon Manor more engaging for the residents as well as the volunteers.  I plan to pair up similar students and residents to create a one-on-one friendship.  We will spend the first part of our time there one-on-one with our friends and the second part as a whole group.  I am hoping that this will make volunteers want to return every week to spend time with their friends!  During the fall 2013, we will be visiting Lyon Manor on Wednesday evenings. If you are interested e-mail: gemmaj@my.easternct.edu

-Guest Post: Jeannine, '15


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