Sharing the Passion of Reading: Volunteering at Gianna Homes
Maddy writes about her passion of reading…
When it came to volunteering, my mom frequently told me to “share my passions”. I was never quite sure what she meant. One day, as I sat in the kitchen doing homework, a story came on the news about how reading can positively affect people with Alzheimer’s. I absolutely love reading, so hearing this was like an epiphany. I researched “reading” and “Alzheimer’s”, and found a study from The University of Liverpool called “A Literature Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia.” It explained how read-aloud activities significantly benefit people living with Alzheimer’s. With a little more research I found Gianna Homes. This is when my whole journey started.
I began visiting for an hour on Sundays, reading children’s books. I quickly realized that reading was not the only reason I wanted to be there. The residents yearn for a place where they feel secure, and I wanted to help them feel that. Reading brings peace to the residents, and I like to believe it reminds them of their childhood. There is a special comfort in reading. Sometimes reading eases everyone’s nerves, even the family members of the residents. I cherish these moments where I see everyone at peace and content.
Maddy is Grateful…
I am so grateful for all of the residents. I have loved getting to know them over the past year. I like hearing their stories, and getting to know each of their personalities. I keep coming back because all of the residents have a special place in my heart. The residents have taught me so much, from patience to love. My grandparents all live in Rhode Island so I feel as if the residents are almost a second family to me.
The residents do not know who I am, but this is not important. I can tell they know I am a safe person to be around when they hold my hand or smile at me. Nothing is more gratifying. I do not want remembrance; I want to make them feel loved, respected, welcome, normal, and that they are not alone.
What started as a small idea has blossomed into something that has changed my life forever. I am now considering a major in healthcare or neuroscience, which all started from Gianna Homes. Volunteering at Gianna Homes is one of the best experiences I have had in my lifetime. I am forever grateful for all of the work and love put into Gianna and Gladys’ Place. Everyone does such a wonderful job, and I am so incredibly proud to be a part of an organization so beautiful. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all they do. No matter what, volunteering with Alzheimer’s patients is a passion I will continue to share. I believe that is what the residents would want.
A little more about Maddy
Maddy has been volunteering at Gianna Homes since December 2014. She is a senior at Wayzata High School. Because of her experience at Gianna Homes, she is considering a major in neuroscience or a business degree that provides skills to manage healthcare or nonprofit organizations.
Huge THANK YOU to Maddy for sharing her passion of reading with our residents here at Gianna homes!