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Special K

Last year, Katarina was a senior psychology major at UNC on the pre-med track. She had been involved with many organizations on campus, but realized she was missing a meaningful way to connect with the broader community. As an undergrad student, many of the people she interacted with on a daily basis were her own age. Her grandparents had died in 2011, and since then she’d had very little contact with older adults. Katarina applied for an internship with A Helping Hand and was matched with three clients in the Chapel Hill area. She assisted each of her clients weekly, providing companionship for Ms. S, helping Ms. R get out and about to run errands, and helping Mr. M navigate his online classes.

Because of her work with us, Katarina’s perspective on the elderly population and her community evolved. She became more sensitive to issues such as fibromyalgia, lupus, diabetes, and chronic pain, having witnessed the daily toll these conditions took on her clients. After completing her internship, she said that the experience had made her a more compassionate and understanding person. It made her realize the importance of practicing medicine in a way that empowers patients, and she came to see seniors as complex individuals, deserving of equality and attention.

In addition to the ways Katarina grew from her experience as an intern, she’s made a huge impact on her community. After she completed the internship, she continued working with two of her clients, dedicating every Saturday to assisting them even though she was working a full-time job during the week. She’s volunteered more than 250 hours and has earned a Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the highest level of this national service award. Katarina has been one of our most reliable volunteers, which is so important, since her clients depend on her to get out of the house each week. She’s really earned the nickname Ms. S has given her – Special K!

Thank you, Katarina, for serving your community and your clients so well!

To make a donation in Katarina’s name, click here and mention her name in honoree field. To kick off our Giving Tuesday campaign, Steffi will be matching the first $100 of donations!

In the next several weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday on November 28, we’ll be featuring a volunteer here on the blog every Tuesday. Check back to learn more about our awesome volunteers.

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