SIUE’s Hospice Volunteer Initiative Captures and Shares Beloved Memories
Carrying out its mission to “Give Together, Care Together,” members of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Hospice Volunteer Initiative have created a way to capture and share the cherished memories of individuals in hospice care. The group’s latest outreach project involves the creation of memory books.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about hospice care and engage students in volunteerism,” said Maddie VanDaele, president of SIUE’s Hospice Volunteer Initiative and second-year student in the SIUE School of Pharmacy. “This project is a great way for us to get out and spend time one-on-one with hospice patients.”
The organization’s approximately 60 members will personally visit with those receiving care through Hospice of Southern Illinois, and capture a written record of recollections in a memory book that will be left with the individual to give their loved ones.
“Volunteering for hospice is all about being there in the moment and helping people experience the things that are most important to them at the end of their lives,” VanDaele added. “Death should not be a sad, lonely process. This time should be a celebration, and a time to remember all of the great experiences they’ve had. And hopefully they will have a few more good ones to come!”
The Hospice Volunteer Initiative began in 2012 as a class project in the SIUE School of Pharmacy. It has since expanded into a student organization that includes student members from such disciplines as pharmacy, social work and psychology.
“This organization’s dedication to and consideration of individuals in hospice care is a prime example of the significant impact our students make on the surrounding community,” said Chris Rosnick, PhD, associate professor of psychology and co-advisor of the Hospice Volunteer Initiative. “Our students are learning tremendous life skills, along with a better understanding of hospice that will benefit them personally and professionally in the future.”
The Hospice Volunteer Initiative is hosting its second annual Hands for Hospice 5K on Saturday, April 2 at the SIUE Cross Country track. Monies raised will be used for the production of more memory books, along with future hospice-related community outreach projects.
To register and for more information, visit hospicevolunteer.wix.com/handsforhospice5k.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 14,000.
Photo: Hospice Volunteer Initiative members (L-R) Erika Kuenstler, Jessie Johnson, Katelyn Fryman, Ashleigh Lupton and Maddie VanDaele collaborate on the design and layout of the memory books.