Working at St. Andrew’s Village has been such a great experience. Even though I still have a few Thursday’s left, I am still thinking about how sad I will be when I leave. Today I had a good time with Jean. I also discovered that one of my favorite residents (remember that lady that said I was teasing her because she wasn’t young and pretty? Yes that one) has the exact same birthday as me! I was so thrilled that I almost cried with joy. She is so sweet and we have such a good friendship going between us. She said that she was so glad that I told her that we had the same birthdays and that it changed her whole attitude for the day. She will be turning 93 and I will be turning 18. Even though I’m not allowed to give her anything as a volunteer, I think I will come in as a visitor and give her flowers and a card for her birthday. She doesn’t get many visitors I don’t think and I really appreciate her friendship. Everyone deserves a card on their birthday (and flowers of course). Both she and I were beaming the whole time that she was in the salon.
In the Thursday’s that I’ve been working at St. Andrew’s, I’ve come to really love each of the residents. I love my birthday sharer and our special friendship, I love the sugary spitfire and her Mexican sandals, I love the teacher who’s always worried she’ll be late for school, I love the quiet ones, the loud ones, my goodness I even love the “I’ll-punch-you-in-the-nose!” ones. They all have a special place in my heart. I am going to keep coming back to visit with them and I might even come back on days that I can to volunteer. I’ve enjoyed it so much. It’s really been a molding experience for me. Even though I know I could never work there because I would get too attached to the residents and have to see them all pass away, I almost wish I could so that I could spend a lot of time with them before they do. I know at least that I’ll keep up friendships with the people that I’ve made friends with. I won’t be throwing away any of my good friends.
I have gained a lot of skills over the time I’ve been working at St. Andrew’s. I’ve learned to be more patient, compassionate, understanding, and I’ve mastered the art of playing along with the people who are slipping a little bit so as to make them feel like I really get them and want to help them. I’ve learned how to do stretches from a chair, pass out coffee (with ice cubes), print out recipes for residents, organize books, put rollers in hair, take rollers out of hair, take hair out of rollers (although I must say that was my least favorite), push a wheelchair without it ramming into the wall, clean and organize the salon, and sit with the residents while their hair dries. I know I learned even more than that.
I know that I will come away from St. Andrew’s with more leadership qualities than when I started, and I will hopefully be a leader who takes advantage of compassion, understanding, wisdom, and ingenuity that is at my disposal if only I am teachable. The Lord really grew me throughout these Thursday’s and I know that everything I’ve seen, done, and learned here will stick with me forever and be a constant reminder to be a humble servant for Christ’s name.