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. Ms. R generously offered to host the meeting in her home. She had been a surgical nurse and shared insights and countless stories from the medical field with our pre-health interns.

The interns gathered on the couch in Ms. R’s sunroom, with Ms. R at the head of the circle in her office chair. She regaled them with stories of nursing in Hawaii, and gave tips on how to choose a specialty in a medical career. She also shared her own medical history, which includes a miraculous recovery from a broken leg and seven weeks in a coma. Her experiences both as a nurse and a patient gave the interns a better picture of the field that they’re aiming to start their careers in.

Thank you, Ms. Reynolds, for your work to shape the careers of future medical professionals, and your advocacy for A Helping Hand!

In the run up to Giving Tuesday on November 28, we’ll be featuring AHH clients and companions who give back. Stay tuned for more details about their stories and how you can donate.

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. As we sat down to lunch, Ms. H shared how she had found out about A Helping Hand when she moved to Durham last year from Cary. Our sister organization, The Center for Volunteer Caregiving of Wake County, had recommended us. “Thank goodness they did. You’re my angels,” she said. “Every one of my volunteers has been great!”

Over lunch, we chatted about Ms. H’s life history and John’s plans for after he graduates in May. Ms. H passed around her cell phone to show us a picture of her dog, Miko, and we played a few rounds of trivia. When all too soon it was time for Ms. H to leave, we packed up some leftovers for her to take home and she gave us each a hug. Throughout her visit, she thanked Steffi and the rest of the staff numerous times for their hard work and dedication.

It was a way for all of us who work in the office to see and hear firsthand the impact our volunteers have on our clients’ lives. Although Ms. H kept thanking us, it was an incredible gift for our staff to meet her and connect with her in a whole new way. Sharing a meal with Ms. H allowed our staff to come face to face with the wonderful work A Helping Hand does in our community.

Steffi finally got to meet (and take a selfie with) Ms. Herndon!