Last summer, as part of my high school graduation project, I volunteered at Saunders House nursing home. I choose this experience because it was something that I had never done before and I wanted to lend a helping hand. When I first came up with the idea of volunteering at a nursing home, I wanted to help out with activities and meet with some of the residents. At first it was challenging because I was extremely shy; however after getting to know the residents a little better, I started to feel more comfortable around them. My goal in volunteering was to bring a smile to the residents by doing different activities from word games, to playing chess, I feel like I accomplished that goal.
At the nursing home, I did a lot of different activities with the residents ranging from Jeopardy, to Wheel of Fortune. One of my favorites was a word game where I would write a ten letter word on the board and the residents would try to come up with as many smaller words as possible. I could tell that it was one their favorite games because they always seemed to be so enthusiastic when they played. I also transported residents to and from their rooms when they needed help; and whenever it was a nice day out, I would take them outside to get some fresh air and relax. On Saturday mornings, I would deliver the newspaper to the residents and on Sundays, I assisted with morning church services.
The most unforgettable part of this experience was when I had one on one conversations with the residents; it was incredible how many great stories they had to tell. For example, one of the first residents was Mr. Charles Bowman who is one hundred and three years old! He would always talk about his great grandchildren and how he was part of the Free Masons. I also met with other residents like Mr. Tom McDonald, who used to tour all around Europe playing the piano and Miss Edna who lived in Germany as a child during WWII. It was very interesting to just sit down and listen to each of them talk about their amazing lives.
This experience was unforgettable for me because, I learned to appreciate life better. After talking with some of the residents and observing how happy they were, it really puts things in perspective. This experience also changed my perception of a nursing home. At first I was skeptical about volunteering because I ignorantly thought that a nursing home was merely just a boring place where the elderly lived. After volunteering, I have seen how a nursing home can be a fun, enjoyable, and vibrant place to live. Volunteering at Saunders House nursing home was one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life and whenever I have the opportunity to do it volunteer again, I will be more than happy to.