Do you keep something in your house, apartment or condo that reminds you of someone special? A favorite item from your childhood, a keepsake that belonged to a parent or a memento of someone who has died?
Many people treasure special items because they bring comfort, stir positive memories and sustain a sense of connectedness to loved ones.
That’s the idea behind Memory Bears—small, hand-crafted stuffed bears that are created by skilled VITAS Healthcare volunteers. Each bear is made from a hospice patient’s favorite piece of clothing and given as a personalized memento to surviving family members.
At VITAS, volunteers are part of a dedicated team that provides care, comfort and emotional support to hospice patients and their families. Nationwide, 3,122 VITAS volunteers provided 309,999 hours of services in 2017.
From our main office in Tinley Park, VITAS provides hospice services to residents from Naperville to Chicago Heights; we specifically need volunteers from the Kankakee area:
- Memory Bear volunteers: Do you have a knack for sewing? We’re looking for volunteers to sew Memory Bears and pillows in your own home. In 2017, volunteers in this area stitched more Memory Bears and pillows—1,410—for our patients and families than any other VITAS location.
- Direct-Patient-Care volunteers: Would you like to give a hospice patient someone or something to look forward to? Direct-patient-care volunteers make personal visits, accompany patients on outings, provide a few hours of respite care for a family caregiver and just spend time with patients at the bedside.
“The gift of time is a precious thing,” says Joanna Voorhees, our volunteer manager. “Our volunteers frequently tell us that they receive far more than they give because their efforts are appreciated so much by our patients and their families.”
All prospective VITAS volunteers are interviewed about their interests and trained in how to support patients and families coping with the end of life. To explore volunteer opportunities here in the Chicagoland South area, please visit VITAS.com or call Joanna at 708.781.4400.