Volunteer Stories

Recipe for Success

On a beautiful, calm Wednesday afternoon, I was welcomed into Dorscie Paterson’s home with open arms and a smile as bright as the sun. She is an esteemed volunteer for the Langley Hospice Society. With the warmth of Mother Nature around us, I asked Dorscie to explain her journey to hospice volunteering. She talked of seeing Elizabeth Kubler-Ross speak at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, as the topic of life and death “fascinated” her. Although this opportunity ignited her interest, it wasn’t until the death of her mother, however, that Dorscie really comprehended the weight of losing a loved one. “I remember a nurse gave me a bundle of my mother’s clothes as I walked out the hospital… I saw a man walking a dog, a woman driving a car… and all I could think was – don’t they know my mom just died? But of course they didn’t. I needed to talk about it but life was going on for everyone else”. The need to talk, to share her experience, to cry and be comforted; these were imperative to...

The Circle of Life

Not too long ago I had a wonderful experience that reminded me of how important nature is to me and many others. I was on my regular walk in the middle of the city, enjoying the songs and flights of finches and swallows in the unusually peaceful confines of a nature trail by the Langley airport. It’s a surprising oasis, being as it lies between two busy roads, the Fraser Hwy. and 56th Avenue; but it offers me a chance to get some exercise and thinking time. As I sauntered along the trail, I glanced up to my right to a small rise above the track and saw two beautiful deer standing there watching me; both young – one doe and one buck. I continued to walk slowly along the trail until they were within 25 to 30 feet of me; then I stood perfectly still. For at least 30 seconds, I felt them consider me; communing with me through large luminous eyes. I was awestruck. When they turned and walked calmly away, I knew somehow they had accepted me. I had been given a gift; one that filled me with...

A Gift to Yourself!

I used to think of volunteering as giving, which it is. Now I also think of it as receiving. Personally receiving the joy of working with such amazing women, and the sense of doing something important for a good cause. Volunteering at Second Story Treasures has been a great experience for me. I look forward to Tuesday afternoon and can't wait to see what treasures are ready for inspection. The women I work with are also treasures. What a wonderful group! My Mother left me with some good advice. In your life you need three things. Someone to Love, Something to do, and Something to look forward to. Well I love my Tuesday ladies, they keep me busy with something to do, and I really do look forward to it!! Volunteering is a gift to yourself! Sue Westhaver Thrift Store Volunteer

You Volunteer at Hospice?!

You volunteer at Hospice?!! Isn't that depressing??? These are statements that I hear often. To me volunteering at Hospice is an honour. Do I find it depressing? Absolutely not!! It is an honour to be part of one's journey. Life has a beginning, middle, and an ending. There are no exceptions. As a volunteer I become part of the final journey. It is not my place to grieve, for their death is not my personal loss. It is my place to provide comfort, a listening ear and a gentle touch. It is my place to be available for family members - to provide a hug when requested and a hand to reach out and hold while they express their sorrow and loss. To the dying I am available with a smile and undivided attention. I listen to stories of lives lived, the challenges fought and won or lost, the joys of family and accomplishments and the sorrow of mistakes and missed opportunities. The dying share thoughts that they need to speak of, to release burdens they have carried and cannot divulge to their...

Langley Hospice Residence: One Volunteer’s Experience

Upon the table a small light was on and gently flickering as I entered the building. I approached the table to read the writing upon the card in front of the light. As I came closer I could see a young woman standing in the hall, her body pressed against the rail. She was trembling, her hands pressed to her mouth, with tears falling upon her cheeks. I moved towards her, my purse still over my shoulder, and extended my arms to her. We both took a step towards each other and my arms encircled her. No words were spoken as she put her head upon my shoulder and I held her close. Time passed, her tears subsided and she stood back. She was composed as she spoke only two words, “thank you”. So what building is this? What do the light and the card represent? Why was this young woman crying? I have entered a Hospice Residence. In direct line with the outside door is a table where the small light is encased within a stained glass stand. This light is turned on for twenty-four hours to honour...

Volunteering with the Children’s Group

Personal experiences and dealing with loss has enabled me to become a hospice volunteer for the past 2.5 years. The grieving journey was sometimes difficult and confusing. I am grateful to be able to share my knowledge and understanding with others as I continue to learn and experience new things. While supporting grieving clients, I have discovered the inner strength of human beings as they struggle through the processes of their personal journeys. During these fragile times, I feel honored to be welcomed into the clients' lives as support through listening, reflecting and learning. "What makes our group so special?" It is most important that children also receive guidance as they grieve for the loss of someone they love. I have been volunteering with the children's groups and am currently facilitating a group of younger children. What an amazing program we have for them! Sharing their stories, feeling the feelings, remembering the special things about the person they loved provides...

A Change in Perspective

“What do you want? I don’t want any more people poking at me. Go away!”  The words stung, but I managed to say in a calm, quiet voice, “I’m not a nurse. I’m a volunteer and I just wanted to see if there was anything I could do for you.”  “Yeah! You can *$#!’ well leave me alone!” Respecting the patient’s wishes as I was taught I turned and walked away, but I was shocked by her harsh response and even a little angry. Since beginning my hospice work five years ago, this was one of the few times I’d truly been upset by a patient. Intellectually, I knew her mood was understandable - she was dying of cancer - but emotionally I still found it hard to deal with. All I wanted to do was help. The nurses told me not to concern myself – she was like that with everyone, but I decided to try again later anyway; maybe after lunch she’d be feeling better. Unfortunately, I received the same blast of invective then. I’d experienced anger from patients before. There are always a few who are...

The Hospice Experience – From An Office Volunteer

When I retired two years ago this month, I knew I wanted to continue to contribute to my community in some way. Having worked as a Public Health Nurse for 30 years, I had experienced the satisfaction and rewards of working with people to make a difference in their lives. At the same time, I wanted to do something that I didn't have to "carry home with me". Langley Hospice Society office receptionist is the perfect answer. I know I am making a difference each Wednesday afternoon when I answer the phones, type articles, enter data, put together folders for group sessions, fold brochures and even take out the recycling. I enjoy working with the staff who are always friendly and appreciate whatever I do. Learning new skills on the computer and mastering the simple phone system has been fun. I am also surprised each week to learn how rich and deep the Hospice services are and how many families and individuals who are suffering from loss are served. The staff are caring and creative in...

Why I Volunteer With Langley Hospice’s Child and Youth Program

I began helping out at Langley Hospice three years ago to gain some volunteering experience before I applied for university. I was fairly young at the time, about age 16. I am now in university, well into my degree, but I continue to volunteer for a variety of reasons. Working with the kids who are experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Children are extremely dependent on their caregivers for survival, so when one or both of those caregivers dies the children are put in a difficult state. Children are supposed to laugh, play, and not have many stressors in their lives. They shouldn’t have to worry about not having a mom to brush their hair before school or future worries like not having a dad to walk them down to isle when they get married.   All of these worries, emotions, and stressors can be extremely taxing on an adult, let alone a young child or early teen. Adults need support with their struggles and emotions...

Why We Volunteer

Three weeks ago a gentlemen came in to Second Story Treasures with donations from his Mom who passed at our Hospice. I started talking to him about his journey with mom. As we talked tears were running and after we finished I said, “I think you need a hug”, and he replied, “Oh, yes, please”. So today on my shift he reappeared with the end of his mom’s belongings and said “Do you remember me, as you were the one who gave me a hug?” I thanked him for the donations and as he was leaving he turned to me and said “Do you think I can have another hug?” and I replied, “Sure you can.” Volunteering at Second Story is a bit different than other thrift stores as most people donating to us have been touched by a loved one, cared for at our Hospice residence. Thanking you for giving me the opportunity to give back. Pat Anderson Thrift Store/Client Volunteer

SECOND STORY TREASURES THRIFT STORE

Store hours:

Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Donations of gently used clothing and household items may be dropped off:

Monday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Tuesday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Click for more information

Events

Positive SSL