Volunteer Stories

My First Year at Hospice

After having spent a year as a volunteer at our Langley Hospice Residence, I have been contemplating what this year has meant to me; what I have learned, and what I have been able to give.  I believe my hospice work actually started two years ago as I sat with my own mother at a hospice in Regina. It was then that I decided this was where I would volunteer. In the past I have served on numerous boards and committees. From all of them I have learned a tremendous amount, and worked with very dedicated, knowledgeable, and community minded people. So why is this different for me?  I am now privileged to be on a different journey. This is a journey where those we meet even for so short a time, need so little from us but give us so much. It is where simple things are important, like a cup of tea with a lady who just smiles and touches your hand. It is a hug, without words, or an opportunity to listen to a family’s story about their loved one. It is giving a grieving family time, care and...

My Hospice Volunteering Experience

In 2002, I spent a month with my sister in a Duluth, Georgia Hospice. Gail was diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (rare, degenerative brain disorder) in mid-July and died in September. We shared a room growing up, as young women before we married and shared a room on her final journey. We had gone full circle. The Hospice was a warm caring environment for all family members and patients. It was this experience with my sister that eventually led me to look into what I could do for hospice here in Langley. I became a Hospice volunteer almost 6.5 years ago; I started off by helping with the newsletter. Then when a sewing group started, I was asked to join, although at the time I was not a sewer. I took sewing lessons and then quilting lessons. We make quilts for children going through the grieving process. When a child goes through bereavement support, either individually or in a group, he/she receives a comfort quilt at the end of their program. I also help out with...

A Poem about the Hospice Thrift Store

YOU should come and visit us in our Hospice Store It might be secondhand to you but you'll find so much more Nice clothes, dishes, pots and pans, Toys for boys and girls Hats, gloves and jewellery MAYBE even pearls Listen to the volunteers, all friends, working and having fun There are so many things to do - the work is never done So bring a friend and spend some time strolling through our store, And you will find it is really so, so MUCH MORE… Gerry Jarvis 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...

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...

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...

Why Do You Volunteer At The Hospice Residence? A Personal Perspective

When I began volunteering at the Residence about 1½ years ago, I very quickly became aware of how often the question is asked: “Why do you do this type of work?”  Well, the answer is simple, isn't it? Actually no, it is not that simple; at least I believe it is not easy for most. Initially I was a little flummoxed for an appropriate and honest answer to the question. Simply to say something along the lines of “I like to help and talk to people” or to respond in some similar fashion seemed a superficial answer that lacked substance and did not give a comprehensive explanation. I pondered the question, and still do so to some extent, because our lives are an evolving sequences of experiences, observations and events that over time influence and shape and may change our perspectives, thoughts and opinions. As anyone knows who is involved with hospice work of any type, it is one of the greater privileges in life to become a confidante to someone who is experiencing end-of-life or with an...

Volunteering at the Langley Hospice Society

Recently, I worked for several years in retail; I was good at it, but I found that the work had little meaning for me. I wanted my efforts to be purposeful. Before I had my kids, I worked as an administrative assistant for a non-profit organization. There I felt needed, an equal part of a team working to help others. I wanted to do so again. I went back to school to update my skills and, needing current office experience, I started looking for volunteer opportunities. I found just what I needed; the Langley Hospice Society, a non-profit organization that uses volunteers in its office. I was immediately impressed by the inclusiveness shown on the volunteer application form as it made clear that any applicant from any background would be considered. My kind of place! So here I am, again a part of a team, warmly welcomed by people who share my values, working together to help those who need us. Heather Frenette Supportive Programs Centre Office...

So Why Am I Here?

Recently, when another volunteer discovered that I live a 30 - minute drive away from the Langley Hospice store, she commented to me that “there must be something closer to your home that you could volunteer at instead of the Hospice”. So, why am I here? Three years ago, my sister-in-law’s Mom, Isabel, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After several weeks of home care in my brother and sister-in-law’s home, Isabel was moved to the hospice care facility in Chilliwack. When I went to visit her, I was so impressed, the facility was beautiful! It looked like Barb and Gerri had put their own personal decorating touch on each room. The great room with its kitchen/dining and sitting area was amazing! How could a person feel so comfortable in a place where so many had come to spend their last days on earth. The care givers were unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it, day after day. Patient after patient. And, now, when I hear Pat (from our linen area) comment on a happening from her...

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...

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

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Events