21762424_1619403051445637_2759155122379959902_oHospice Brazos Valley is a wonderful community organization run by great people. I was blessed to get to volunteer with them for two years and the experience was very rewarding. It changed the way I look at life.

If you are a client of Hospice Brazos Valley, you can be assured the volunteers are well trained and vetted. 18 hours of training and a background check were required before I got to volunteer with patients or even in the office.

Hospice brings the patients in their care flowers every week, and they always need volunteers to deliver flowers. They also always need front office help, preparing mailings, training materials, etc. Their volunteer email list-serve alerts approved volunteers to needs via email. Often a patient of caregiver will request a volunteer for a specific, one-time tasks such as reading to a patient, taking them to the doctor or to the store, or sitting with them so their care-giver can go run errands.

There are also opportunities to get to know and become friends with the same patients over a period of time. I did some one-off patient care and front office work with Hospice, and I always felt good about being able to use my hands and feet to help physically and bring light spiritually to people facing the end of their life or a family member’s.

I volunteered with Hospice Brazos Valley for over 2 years, part of the time I did not even live in the Brazos Valley. See, I had made friends with a patient who lived much longer than the six months or less that most Hospice patients do after entering palliative care. After I moved to Austin, I would still go visit him a few times a month.

The patient who became my friend lived in a nursing home, and missed his big dog. I had a dog who went most everywhere with me, so Hospice put us together. My dog, Nixon, also happened to be certified as a volunteer pet with Aggieland Pets with a Purpose, so he was ok to visit the nursing home, tested for both health and temperament.

Me and Nixon would visit him every couple weeks. Once I got the ok from the nurses on his wing, I’d always bring him a burger, BBQ, Pizza, or something, and the dogs would beg him to share. He would often oblige, but not always. I think of him often and think about things differently because of thoughts he shared with me about his life and how he chose to live. I was blessed to know him.

If you are looking for a community service opportunity, Hospice is a great organization that offers an opportunity to help fill a real need and grow and learn as a person. If you or a loved one are in need of hospice care, Hospice Brazos Valley has great people ready to help.