Before Shalini started interning with A Helping Hand, her main interactions with older adults were within her family. Her parents instilled in her the importance of building close relationships with and caring for her grandparents. She was always willing to jump to their side to tie their shoes, buckle their seat belts, or support them as they climbed the stairs. Her fondest childhood memories included listening to their stories and playing the board games that they grew up with.
As a pre-med student at Duke, Shalini wanted to build those same relationships with seniors and adults with disabilities in her community. After being accepted into AHH’s internship program, Shalini was matched with four clients whom she assisted every week. She viewed her time with her clients as adventures — field trips to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments, and even weekly dance sessions at the Duke Annex!
Throughout her internship, Shalini was struck by how just a few hours of her time meant so much to the seniors she assisted. She was faced with the realization that many older adults don’t have family members or reliable support systems that they can call on for help with day-to-day tasks. She became conscious of the need for individuals to reach out to older adults in their community and offer up a bit of their time and assistance. As a future doctor, Shalini is looking forward to building relationships with other isolated seniors in her community and aiding in their care.
Shalini has truly gone above and beyond what we ask of our volunteers. She found unique ways to connect with each of her clients, helping to lift their spirits as well as helping them with necessary errands. She learned that Ms. R loved dancing and wrote poetry, so she suggested that they make time to dance each visit, and together they made a video to share one of Ms. R’s poems. Shalini’s excitement and enthusiasm for volunteering spread to her clients; they loved seeing her each week.
Thank you, Shalini, for the joy you’ve added to your clients’ lives!
You can follow Shalini’s lead by signing up to volunteer. Just a few hours of your time can make the difference between surviving and thriving for a homebound senior.