I call it paid fun

by Elise Hurst, HPCCR Volunteer Manager

Last week Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region had the joy of celebrating National Volunteer Week.  While we hope that our volunteers feel appreciated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, last week was the week that we really got to celebrate them and the wonderful work they do, and show our gratitude.

In years past, HPCCR held one large volunteer appreciation event and invited volunteers from our eight-county service area to attend.  This year we decided to switch it up a bit and host one appreciation event each day of the week in a different location, so that no matter where you live and volunteer there would be an event close to home for you.  As a result, our volunteer services department staff had the joy of seeing numerous volunteers each day and the opportunity to thank them in person for the work they do.

I had lunch with a girlfriend last week, and in discussing our jobs and schedules, I shared with her our plan for National Volunteer Week.  She looked at me in disbelief and said “Wow, that seems like an awful lot of work!” 

Her words resonated with me as I attended the events last week, and I found myself even feeling a little guilty as I thought about the word “work”.  At each event I had the pleasure of seeing familiar faces, giving (and receiving) many hugs, as well as hearing the wonderful stories of our volunteers and the time they share with our patients.  And I had the opportunity to say thank you in person.  As I left each event, I couldn’t help but feel lucky — lucky to be in the presence of people who give of their time selflessly to bring comfort, peace and joy to patients in their final days, and who do so with a smile and a giving spirit.  People who do offer themselves humbly and don’t ask for anything in return.  I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty that I get to do my job — what others might call work — and yet it’s fun, enriching, and fulfilling. 

We could never estimate, or give the proper value to, the work our volunteers do.  And we certainly couldn’t ever appreciate them enough.  So, for now, I am one of the lucky ones.  Rather than work, I’m going to call it paid fun.

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, awareness, hospice, volunteering

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4 Comments on “I call it paid fun”

  1. David Bayer Says:

    Nice article Elise … sort of how I felt when I was teaching … still, retirement sure is nice … and I get to ‘play’ with all you folks! Nice!

  2. Jim Young Says:

    Very well written Elise, and as a volunteer we are also the lucky ones to have such a wonderful staff to teach us, support us, and encourage us through any threshold we may cross. I have had the honor to meet so many of the staff, and again as a volunteer we can never say thank you enough for simply being there.

  3. cintilley Says:

    Elise, this is SO very well written. Thank you for taking such good care of our wonderful volunteers!

  4. thevolunteerhub Says:

    Great article, and it sounds like you’ve really nailed what volunteering is all about! congrats and keep up the amazing work!

    – From another volunteer on the other side of the world,

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