My giving story began this summer when I started interning for a unique nonprofit organization called A Helping Hand. A Helping Hand takes a creative approach to caring for senior citizens and sends caregivers into their homes. This approach works much better than the nursing home system put in place today because it allows elderly people to maintain their much deserved independence and freedom. Before starting my internship, I was a bit intimidated to knock on a stranger's door and enter into their personal space and life, but I'm so glad I took a step forward and walked through my clients' doors!
The first client that I met and befriended was Ms. K. Ms. K. has an infectious spirit and personality and it's impossible to be in a bad mood around her. Ms. K. has a rare neurological disorder called Central Pontine Myelinolysis (CPM) that damages the pons of the brain. Because of this, Ms. K has mobility issues and must use a walker to get around. Her hands also get shaky so she has trouble doing basic tasks such as writing or preparing food. Ms. K. is one of the lucky ones with CPM because she is able to live on her own; however, she doesn't have any family close by so she depends on her volunteers to get out of the house and run errands.
Ms. K and I often run by the grocery store or grab a slice of pizza at our favorite restaurant, but one errand in particular will always stick with me. One of the first times we were together she asked if we could run by Staples to look at the office chairs. I took her by staples and we spent an hour looking at all of the chairs and testing out their comfort level. We found a couple of chairs that she liked, but did not purchase anything that week. The next week, she asked if we could go back to Staples. I didn't think anything of it, but agreed and we spent another hour testing out her favorites and finding out as much as we could about the chairs. Ms. K finally picked out a 'tiny little chair that was just her size' and had her heart set on. She wasn't going to buy it because she didn't think it could fit into my car, but I told her I thought it would. Her eyes lit up and we purchased the chair, and sure enough it fit in my car!
We got home and I carried the chair up to her sunroom where she spends most of her time. Shortly after, she asked if I would fold up her wheelchair and put it away in the corner. This was one of the most meaningful and memorable moments of my internship, because at that second I realized why she was so excited about her new office chair. It wasn't just a chair to use while she sat at her typewriter, rather a new means of mobility and transportation. She had been investing in an office chair for a while so that she could have something more comfortable and supportive to sit in and roll around in her home. That moment really put things into perspective for me and taught me never to take the small things in life, such as walking, for granted.
This was the first of many great experiences that I had with A Helping Hand. I give back so that Ms. K and people like her have the freedom and experiences they deserve. http://ahelpinghandnc.org
Review from #MyGivingStory