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Volunteers


Christmas for Cielo, a special young hospice patient

Christmas for Cielo, a special young hospice patient

Santa visit cSince joining JourneyCare as a hospice volunteer this past year, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a care companion for two patients so far and I am thoroughly enjoying my role. So, when I saw a request for an “elf” to accompany Santa to bring an early Christmas to a pediatric hospice patient this October, I immediately wanted to help.

Cielo was 17 years old suffering from a glioblastoma with her condition advancing, so she wished for an early Christmas. I was honored to be selected as a helper elf to accompany Santa and bring some Christmas joy to Cielo and her family. 

Hospice garden volunteers: Making life beautiful

For National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, JourneyCare is celebrating the many innovative and creative ways our staff and volunteers help provide care, support and companionship to positively impact the lives of JourneyCare patients and their loved ones. Learn more at journeycare.org.

If you ever run into people carrying mud-covered shovels at the front entrance of The Pepper Family Hospice CareCenter in Barrington, you’re seeing JourneyCare volunteer gardeners at work. We volunteers have designed and planted the front entrance of CareCenter for the past four years. We also arrange the patio planters and undertake several other creative garden projects that welcome patients and their loved ones to JourneyCare.

We are a team that tries to make things beautiful with plants. As members of The Garden Club of Barrington, all of us bring different strengths and contributions to our work at the CareCenter. Some of us are really good at design, others are skilled at finding donations, some are very knowledgeable about plants — and we all like to dig in the dirt. We also all have experience interacting with JourneyCare patients and enjoy visiting with families who stop by when we are working. Gardening seems to be a great connection for visitors to share stories about their loved ones.  

Honoring veterans in hospice care

For Veterans Day and National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, JourneyCare is honoring our veteran patients and celebrating the volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to our patients, patient families and the staff throughout our agency. We are so grateful for our generous volunteers every day of the year!

It’s estimated that one out of every four dying Americans is a veteran.

This Veterans Day and National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, JourneyCare is very proud to be one of more than 2,400 hospice organizations in the United States participating in the We Honor Veterans initiative to honor and care for veterans and their families. Started by the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) at the request of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the intent of the program is to identify when a veteran is enrolled in hospice care, connect veterans and their families with any benefits for which they may be eligible, and take this final opportunity to honor and thank those who served and sacrificed so much.

Honoring Vietnam veterans in hospice care

As we observe the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, JourneyCare’s Veteran Volunteer Advisory Council and the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration invite Vietnam Era Veterans to join us for a special ceremony in recognition of their service and sacrifice for our nation on October 6. The event will feature a special keynote address from Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Allen J. Lynch.

My name is James “Jim” Claydon and I am a Vietnam Navy Seabee veteran. I served in Danang, Phu-Bai and Hue from 1967-1968, and was a Steelworker in support of the Third Marine Engineering Battalion.

Volunteering for hospice? Ask a different kind of question.

Volunteering for hospice? Ask a different kind of question.

Like many people these days, my mom has gone nuts for genealogy. Not only did she buy Ancestry.com kits in bulk for all of us at Christmas, but she spends a couple of days every week at a genealogy resource center in Cleveland where a lovely lady helps her search the vast databases the Mormon church has made available free to everyone.

Mom loves the detective work and when she discovers a name she’s been following in a census or on a birth certificate or in an obituary, she’s thrilled. But, it’s frustrating for her, too, because she realizes that all she knows in the end about these long-departed relatives are their names, dates of birth and death, and if she’s lucky, an occupation or some other tantalizing detail. She can’t help but wonder: What was their story?

How hospice volunteers make every day extraordinary

How hospice volunteers make every day extraordinary

Do small things with great love.” — Mother Teresa of Calcutta

That simple quote from Mother Teresa popped into my head as soon as the barista at the little coffee shop I like in Evanston handed me the cup of cappuccino. Using nothing but swirls of perfectly foamed milk, I saw he’d painted a panda bear on the surface of my drink. When I exclaimed with delight and he smiled back at me, we shared a moment of joy.

Healing horses nurture spirits of grieving teens

Healing horses nurture spirits of grieving teens

The loss of a loved one turns your world upside down and, for a teenager, this loss can be especially bewildering. In my role as a bereavement counselor, I talk with teens that often feel like there is no way out, like the light of their lives has been diminished and they can become immersed in the stress of their own feelings. It is overwhelming for anyone, but especially for a teen finding their place in the world.

The heart and soul of JourneyCare: our volunteers

The heart and soul of JourneyCare: our volunteers

What do volunteers mean to JourneyCare? They are more than people who express a willingness to help or undertake a service. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization.

With over 1,200 volunteers, JourneyCare's Volunteer Team provides extensive support and care to our patients, their loved ones, and staff. JourneyCare offers volunteers the opportunity to share their unique knowledge, experiences, and gifts to make a difference in the lives of those we care for. 

Hospice pinning ceremonies honor veterans

I began my odyssey with JourneyCare some eight months ago, after my fifth experience with hospice for family members. Having recently retired and looking to give back – but uncertain if volunteering at hospice was right for me – I discovered the We Honor Veterans program and found a perfect fit. 

Our family's JourneyCare experience was exceptional. We discovered services beyond skilled nursing care, such as art, music, massage and Reiki therapies, pet care, patient visitation and, of course, We Honor Veterans. Many of these integrated services are provided by a host of passionate volunteers.

The We Honor Veterans program recognizes current and former military members for their service and assists them in accessing benefits they are entitled to receive. JourneyCare is one of the only nonprofit hospices in the Chicago area that is recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) as a partner in the We Honor Veterans program. JourneyCare also sponsors a Veteran Volunteers Advisory Council that engages veteran-centric event planning, training, and educational opportunities.

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