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Recent News

Holiday events at AHH

We’ve had a busy few weeks here at A Helping Hand! Along with our Giving Tuesday fundraiser, we’ve been a part of two great events in the run up to the holidays.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen

On November 17, Activate Good gathered a group of volunteers to participate in The Great Thanksgiving Listen, a national project organized by Story Corps. A Helping Hand and several other local organizations arranged for seniors to come and be interviewed for the national archives. The volunteers used the Story Corps app to record each interview, and the interviews are published and collected here. Please take a listen – our clients have fascinating stories!

Our clients had a great time. Most of our clients have limited access to transportation and usually have to use the rides they have for necessities, so attending a social event is a luxury. Ms. G said it was the first time she’d been out in months that wasn’t a doctor’s appointment.

You can listen to the interviews here!

AHH Holiday Party

Last weekend we hosted our annual holiday party. Clients, companions, interns, board members, and staff gathered for a festive occasion featuring a performance by the UNC a cappella group Harmonyx. It was wonderful to see everyone there, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

 



Steffi serves ceaselessly

Happy Giving Tuesday! In celebration of this day of giving, we’d like to honor Steffi, our volunteer and internship program director. Steffi provides the backbone for all the work we do at A Helping Hand, managing the entire charitable program, with more than 90 clients, 60 volunteers, and up to 15 new interns each semester.

Steffi first started working in the nonprofit world with AmeriCorps, where she served a variety of nonprofits throughout the Northeast. She knew she wanted to continue working for a nonprofit, but didn’t know exactly what area to focus on. She found AHH through a friend who was working as a program coordinator here at the time.

Steffi started out at AHH as a backup companion. She did some office work, but her primary role was as a companion – working with several clients consistently and covering any last minute companion call outs. She then became a fellow, working in scheduling for both the private pay and charitable programs while still assisting clients regularly. After an incredibly busy and stressful fellowship year, Steffi packed up for a year of teaching in Spain.

When she returned to the US, Steffi came back to AHH, this time as the volunteer coordinator, where she has continued for the past two years. She juggles countless tasks on a daily basis, including volunteer and intern recruitment and onboarding, maintaining client and volunteer schedules, managing AHH’s social media, attending trainings, coordinating special events, assisting with paid program scheduling, donating to AHH fundraisers, and occasionally visiting clients. On top of all that, Steffi makes time to connect the volunteers to opportunities with AHH that suit their interests, and she’s written innumerable letters of recommendation for the students who volunteer with us. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of the needs and abilities of each of her 90 clients and 75 volunteers and interns so that she can match them appropriately. Even though her day-to-day work keeps her constantly busy, she always makes time to talk to any client or volunteer who calls, even if it turns into an hour-long conversation.

A Helping Hand simply could not function without Steffi’s tireless efforts. Through the many roles she’s held with AHH, she’s markedly improved the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities in the community. Throughout her five years with AHH, Steffi has made her mark on our programs, growing the charitable program to serve easily three times the number of clients than ever before!

Make your Giving Tuesday donation today! You can donate in Steffi’s honor here. The donation page will be open until December 2.



Jim volunteers in the community and in the board room

After 4 years of service, Jim is one of A Helping Hand’s longest-serving volunteers. Over the past few years, he’s assisted more than 40 clients – some just once, and others on a weekly basis. One client he’s worked with for three years, a total of 135 visits! Jim is an older adult himself, but his jovial personality and lively energy make him seem 20 years younger than his true age. After helping with his mother’s affairs as she aged in an assisted living facility, he wanted to help others stay in their own homes and live independently. He found AHH and has continued volunteering ever since.

Volunteering with AHH has opened his eyes to the services available for seniors that he knows he may need to use one day. This past year, Jim expanded his role and joined A Helping Hand’s board of directors. This has allowed him to further understand what it takes to run AHH, and the board has benefited from his valuable perspective. As a volunteer companion, Jim has a firsthand understanding of the work that we do. As a board member, he helps guide the direction of the organization and ensures that we’re fulfilling our mission. Through his work on the board, Jim hopes he can help us continue to develop and expand our capacity to serve the community.

Beyond his work with clients and on the board, Jim also stays connected to our office staff. He stops by the office often to check in and always brings a joke to tell. Any time he comes in, he brightens our day.

Thank you, Jim, for the service you’ve provided to AHH, to your clients, our staff, and in guiding our mission!

To donate in Jim’s honor, click here. You can also find out more information about volunteering or joining our board.

Giving Tuesday is now just one week away. Check back next week for our final volunteer feature and get ready to donate!



Hannah stands up to age bias

Hannah first came to A Helping Hand as a volunteer. She had previously volunteered in hospital settings, and enjoyed the one-on-one interaction she had with patients. She realized that treating patients with a positive attitude and respect made a difference in their experience at the hospital, and she hoped to make a deeper impact by working with older adults and people with disabilities in the community. She volunteered with AHH for a year, and then applied to participate in our internship program.

Through the internship, Hannah got to visit several clients on a more consistent basis, as well as meet with other interns to share experiences and attend events in the community related to aging and caregiving. Read more



Kayla discovers Durham through volunteering

Kayla is a 24-year-old transplant from Honolulu, Hawaii, who came to Durham, North Carolina, to study physical therapy at Duke University. In school, she enjoys learning about the human brain and how it influences body movement, but in her spare time she also enjoys dancing and going to different community events in the Triangle. But she didn’t always feel this way.

When Kayla first moved to Durham, she felt like an outsider—disconnected from the community and unfamiliar with the area, culture, and city history. After a few weeks in the area, she decided to become more involved in the community to establish her connection to Durham and discover what it had to offer. After perusing a handful of nonprofits online, she found A Helping Hand. Kayla had previous experience working with older adults, and as a future health care clinician, she knew the value and significance of this kind of work. She immediately felt compelled to get involved.

Since becoming a volunteer at AHH, Kayla has met many people from different walks of life throughout the Triangle. By serving her clients, she gets the chance to hear their life stories and discover what brings meaning to their life. Read more



Zarin’s clients are people first

Zarin had just finished her freshman year at UNC when she started interning with A Helping Hand. Like many people her age, she’d had very little interaction with older adults. She read Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal,” which piqued her interest in health care for older adults and prompted her to get involved with elderly members of her community. Through the internship, Zarin assisted one client on a weekly basis, and then filled in with other clients and worked in the AHH office as she was needed. This adaptability was extremely helpful to our office staff and our clients. If a last-minute need cropped up (as they often do!), Zarin was available to help out with just a few hours’ notice. Her flexibility and willingness to take clients to emergency doctor’s appointments or fill in for other companions who called out sick was invaluable.

Working with her clients one-on-one allowed her to get to know her clients well and hear their personal stories. As a future medical practitioner, she learned to get to know her clients as people first, and not just as patients with medical conditions, and to adapt to each client’s needs and personality. Read more