Many experiences in my life have impacted the way I look at the world and all of the different people around me. I have realized that the world is so much bigger than just me and my family. Working together with each of our strengths and weaknesses can bring about extraordinary hope and progress. A few of my volunteer experiences have especially stood out in this respect.
I first joined Mayo Clinic Young Volunteers near the end of my freshman year of high school. I thought it would be exciting to be involved with the famous, prestigious organization of Mayo Clinic, which gives so much hope and good care to its patients. While it is amazing to be a part of this nonprofit organization, I am also surprised by how Mayo Clinic has become a part of me.
I have worked in a number of different service areas within the clinic, but I have found that communicating directly with the patients is most rewarding. One of my favorite areas to serve in is infusion therapy, where a partner and I offer snacks to patients and their families who are receiving transfusions. These patients often have traveled far to get here and are exhausted, so I hope that there is something that I can do to make them feel more comfortable, whether it is offering a warm drink or some crackers, or asking them how their day has been. Sometimes they don’t have much to say and would rather just rest, but sometimes they enjoy a conversation and I happily engage.
Another service area at Mayo that I have enjoyed is delivering gifts to patient rooms at Saint Marys Hospital. It is both fulfilling and eye-opening. I see for the first time what some patients experience who have life-threatening illnesses. I see real people hooked up to machines that sustain their life, and at times it is frightening. But it is comforting to know that I can brighten their day with the simple gifts I have. This experience also made me appreciate how fortunate I am.
Everyone knows that volunteering and helping out those in need is a good thing. I am glad that I have been able to understand and appreciate that through my experiences. I realize now that everyone has something they can give to others. Volunteering will always be a part of who I am, and I hope to continue to try and make a difference for the rest of my life.
Written by: Alison Miller