Maybe a senior, but always a sister

Today we have a guest post from Mallory, one of our volunteers, who shared a special experience with her client Ms. H.

I thought it would be a great idea to bring Ms. H to lunch at my sorority house when she told me that she was previously a sorority house mom for another sorority at UNC and she loved all of the girls and felt like they kept her young. I figured my sorority house would be very similar to the one she lived in for 7 years, so I asked her if she would like to come. She was SO excited that I asked her and said she couldn’t wait. We planned this two weeks ago and when I got to her house to pick her up today, she was dressed and ready and couldn’t wait to get in the car to go.

My experience was, in one word, rewarding. I truly could feel the joy Ms. H was experiencing as she walked into my house, looked around and complimented the furniture and decorations, and introduced herself to everyone she saw. It reminded me that something that seems so small to you can mean so much to someone else. Taking Ms. H to lunch was no big deal to me, but it was the happiest I have ever seen her. Ms. H told me as we were leaving that she hoped we could do it again one day because she absolutely loved meeting my friends and being back in a sorority house on a college campus.

Ms. H’s reaction was in the form of a smile on her face from the time we walked in the door until well beyond when we left. She was so excited to meet my friends, tell me about her time living in a sorority house as their house mom, and hear about some of the things we do. She talked to each of my friends as if they were her own grandchildren and told each of them she was honored to know me, which made me realize the impact I have on her life, as well as the impact she has on mine.

The response from the other members of my sorority was overwhelming. Each of them were eager to meet Ms. H, find out who she was and why I was with her, and hear a little about her life. She shared with several girls about her time at UNC and asked thoughtful questions that made each person she spoke to feel like she genuinely cared about them and wanted to get to know them, which is one of my favorite things about Ms. H.

Overall, it was a great experience for everyone involved. It was incredible to be able to bring Ms. H to my house, allowing her to get to know me better, seeing how her eyes lit up, and seeing just how much she enjoyed interacting with so many people.

Ms. H also shared her story with StoryCorps as part of the Great Thanksgiving Listen. You can hear her speak about her life as a sorority house mother here!

Advocating and educating

Ms. Reynolds has been an AHH client for more than four years, and she’s also one of our strongest community advocates. Ms. R gets weekly assistance from one our interns every semester, which gets her out of the house for doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping at Aldi, and ice cream at Maple View Farms. She calls the office regularly to chat and keeps us up to date on the latest gossip. Ms. R loves getting to know the young people she meets through A Helping Hand, and often stays in touch with her interns long after they complete their semester working with her.

Ms. R also spends time advocating for A Helping Hand. In the past month, she has attended two events at UNC with us. At these job and volunteer fairs, Ms. R talked up AHH and used her charm to get students to sign up to volunteer or apply for jobs with us. Her engaging personality drew people to our table, and she had a carefully honed pitch to describe what AHH does and how important our work is to her.

Last Friday, the fall interns had their first team meeting. Read more

Be our guest

Ms. Herndon and John

This week, one of our clients came into the office to have lunch with the AHH office staff. Ms. Herndon has been a client for more than a year, and talks with Steffi often to arrange transportation for doctor’s appointments, errands, and trips to local coffee shops. Ms. H is one of our most active clients. She’s willing to participate in any video project we come up with (you can see videos of her on our Youtube channel!), calls regularly to check in with the staff, and forges strong connections with the volunteers who work with her. But even with all those phone calls, she and Steffi had never met. So when Ms. H expressed interest in stopping by our office to meet the staff in person, Steffi jumped at the chance and invited her to lunch.

Ms. H arrived with one of her volunteers, John, on Wednesday afternoon. She greeted our staff warmly, shaking hands with each of us, finally able to put faces to the voices she hears on the phone almost daily. Immediately she thanked us for the services we had provided for her through our volunteers. Read more