Site Spotlight: Hillsborough County Nursing Home

On Monday April 24th, Saint Anselm College volunteers welcomed guests from the Hillsborough County Nursing Home for a morning of coffee, pastries, and bingo in Davison Dining Hall. HCNH provides a number of services for residents and patients with both short term and long term needs, including care for those experiencing Alzheimer's disease and terminal illness. Since all needs are met on site, there is often no need to journey away from HCNH.  As we can imagine, many residents and patients appreciate a change of scenery every once and a while. Service-learner Eva Karakolidis '17 invited guests from HCNH to campus for the first time last fall, and site coordinator Erin McCosh '20 ensured the tradition lived on this spring. McCosh offers her reflection about her time as coordinator for HCNH for our Site Spotlight.

What is your role at HCNH? What is the role of your volunteers?
I have 26 volunteers who go to my site. My role is to coordinate them and make sure they are all on track and everything runs smoothly. While at the site, the volunteers and I are each on one of the 7 units at HCNH for the entire semester. We help out in the activity aid in the common room and provide companionship to the residents. We are able to make a connection with the residents we see every week whether we are just talking about their life, our life, or just playing a card game or bingo with them.
What has been the most challenging thing about serving at the nursing home? What has been the most rewarding thing?
The most challenging thing is to witness how many of the residents do not get visitors from their family and friends. In turn, the most rewarding thing is being able to have one on one conversations with the residents and make that connection. You can tell how much they appreciate spending time with young volunteers. It brightens their day to have someone who genuinely just wants to spend time with them. I always tell my volunteers that the two hours they spend at HCNH may be the smallest part out of their day but it may be the happiest part out of one of their residents day. It's rewarding to see the joy we are able to bring to the residents.
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What was it like having the residents here on campus?
Having the residents on campus was very fun for everyone! They loved the aspect of coming on a college campus and getting to spend time with the volunteers. We got them coffee and pastries from Dave and then played bingo. It was so nice for the residents to spend time with us in Davison and they loved it. When they were back on the bus I was saying goodbye to them and they were saying "thank you" and "God bless you." They were very grateful for us bringing them on campus. It was nice to see how happy they got that so many students wanted to spend their morning with them playing bingo.

 If volunteering at the Hillsborough County Nursing Home sounds like a good fit for you, make sure you stop by the Meelia Center to set up your plans for next year!

Kid's Cafe– Donald Stokes

"The Salvation Army runs Kid's Cafe, which helps kids of different ethnicities engage with one another through different activities. Over the months, I have volunteered at Kid's Cafe and it has been an enjoyable experience engaging with the kids of the Manchester community. The kids are fun to talk to and interesting to learn about their aspirations in life. There are also many different activities to choose from, like painting in the art room, playing game consoles in the game room or having a fun game of doge ball, which is the most popular activity.

A few boys from Kid's Cafe at the Meelia Center's 2014 Dodgeball Tournament

A few boys from Kid's Cafe at the Meelia Center's 2014 Dodgeball Tournament

At times as I interact with the kids, I do not look at every situation from the viewpoint as an adult, but sometimes as a child. When a dispute arises between the kids, I think back to when I was a kid and try giving them advice instead of bashing them like a parent. Kid's Cafe is a great place to go if anyone likes interacting with kids. The most important part of Kid's Cafe is probably when all of the volunteers and the kids eat differ because this helps each volunteer know the kids on a one-on-one level. Kid's Cafe is a place that I wish I had when I was a kid growing up, which is the main reason I volunteer as much as I can."