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Monday, October 10, 2011

volunteer time

This afternoon, I returned to Hattie Larlham for my second time
as a volunteer. It was an interesting experience... not exactly
what I had in mind. Before I explain, it is important to note
that all names in any blogs about my volunteer work have been
changed to protect the individual's privacy.

I'm still getting to meet residents I used to know from Pod B.
It's hard to believe they are 15 years older now... No longer
kids. It's still great to see and work with them again.

I began with Sherry. She's really active with her arms and likes
to push things off her wheelchair. They have a bunch of items
attached to a strap across the tray on her wheelchair. Since she
likes objects so much, I showed her my Tigger toy, which is
always connected to my backpack zipper. It's one of those weird
Koosh ball things with a Tigger head, legs and tails. It's
very tactile. You can even bend the Tigger parts.

Sherry liked Tigger. She held the toy up in her hands and then
dropped it on her tray and pushed it to me. I pushed it back to
her. I guess you could say we played Tigger ball.

I read a book called "Animal Kisses" to Sherry. She was excited
and still in active mode. As I read, she'd push the book to me.
I'd push it right back and keep on reading. It was like reading
a flying book. Luckily, I know that story by heart, so I didn't
need to actually read the braille.

I tried to get her interested in Play-Doh. She just wanted to
pick up the can and give it back to me. She did show interest
in the snake I made. It kind of died as we pushed it back and
forth. Then she went back to the can.

I talked to her about Fall and Halloween. She liked the sound of
my voice. She became calm and quiet. Finally, I read "Chicka
Chicka Boom Boom." So what happened? Sherry fell asleep.

They brought Julie to me next. I remember how much she used to
smile in the past. Today, I couldn't get any reaction out of
her. I read both books and tried playing with a teddy bear. No
response. That's okay. I'll keep trying until I find what
Julie likes. I was held her hand and talking to her. So What
happened? Julie fell asleep. Double Ooops.

Now everyone is teasing me about being a boring volunteer. I put
both my residents to sleep. Actually, it was a good session.
It's common for these kids and adult to doze off like that. I
think next week I'm bring some toys to liven things up.
None-the-less, it still feels so great to be back at Hattie.

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