On the Inside

A Blog Dedicated to Volunteering at Niagara Hospice

by Heidi Truschel, Volunteer Services Specialist, Niagara Hospice

Nurses, aides, doctors, social workers, and counselors are all an important part of caring for patients at Niagara Hospice. There are other important, sometimes unexpected, roles that are performed by volunteers. Often, volunteers fill in all the remaining spaces with the most tender of touches. In doing so, these individuals often develop meaningful relationships with Niagara Hospice that last for years.  Each month, we would like to shine a spotlight on our volunteers, their contributions, and what motivates them.

Time may be our most precious resource. So what makes volunteers want to contribute their time and effort to Niagara Hospice? How do they relate to our mission of providing comfort and care during difficult times?  As you will see, for them, it’s important what happens on the inside. This emotional connection, and their experiences within Niagara Hospice, are why we’re calling this blog “On the Inside.” Here are some of the reasons why volunteers give:

Many volunteers feel a personal tie to Niagara Hospice. This may occur because a loved- one was served by our organization or a hospice elsewhere. Some volunteers participate because a death in their family left lasting beliefs and feelings that they have in common with Niagara Hospice. Our mission touches their heart and spirit, making them want to “pay it forward” for others. Their volunteering is a deeply felt expression of gratitude.

People may feel volunteering is a way to help move the community in the right direction. They may wish to lead in some way, or to role model something positive. Other volunteers may want to assure that a cause is going strong.  For them, volunteering is a way to maintain a value itself – to assure that caring, hospitality, dignity, and other principles have a place in the world. Dame Cicely Saunders wanted to create a place where the terminally ill could receive relief from pain in order to live fully to their last day. She founded the first hospice in London, England to make that a reality. We carry on her legacy at Niagara Hospice.

Volunteering can be a way to use your skills and experience. Many of us have acquired special knowledge along the way that could benefit others. Whether you have pursued a hobby or performed tasks professionally, volunteering can be a way to share your passion and talents. Being productive can feel very satisfying.

Volunteering can help you meet new people and offer a sense of belonging. A decision to volunteer may be based on the same values and priorities as other volunteers. It’s an opportunity to meet like-minded, motivated people who add to the experience. Some volunteer assignments, such as fundraising events, can bring volunteers together to work on common goals.

Volunteering can provide opportunities to try new things and explore your community. Is there a skill you haven’t had the opportunity to put to use? Would you like to embark on a new career, but need to see how it works on the inside? Volunteering can introduce you to new roles or new approaches to helping people.  At Niagara Hospice, volunteers choose what to get involved in, and how often.  There are opportunities to shadow other volunteers performing tasks, learning from others until you are comfortable.

Niagara Hospice makes it our priority to assure that volunteers find a role that is a comfortable fit. Volunteers can choose whether to interact with patients, or to work behind the scenes. As you will see in future articles, there are many ways to help.


Pat Longstreet
April 11, 2024

I wish I go for another 26 yrs

Kimberly Grande
April 12, 2024

We very much appreciate all that Lisa and Heidi offer our patients and staff, with the loveing presence and help of so many volunteers. Our volunteers are truly the heart of Niagara Hospice.

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