Last Saturday, September 17th, Shahana and I went to volunteer at the Indianapolis VA Hospital through the Living History program. We were fortunate to be able to interview Veterans about their lives and hear many stories about people who did amazing things, like traveling around the world as a musician and beating cancer twice. Through the Living History program, we record our conversations with Veterans and add our notes to their medical record, allowing the patient’s health care team to build more meaningful relationships with the Veterans by recognizing and appreciating their humanity.
Volunteering at the VA Hospital allowed Shahana and me to interact with a population that we typically do not get to work with very often. It was a valuable, eye-opening experience that taught us an important lesson about remembering the goal of our service. Just as doctors may become engrossed in medical charts and symptoms and lose sight of the actual person they are treating, we as youth-serving workers may become so immersed in details about our specific initiatives that we forget that we are trying to improve the lives of individual children, who have aspirations and interests just like the inspiring Veterans we met this weekend. Volunteering at the VA Hospital helped remind me that my work at MCCOY is only meaningful if all the planning and preparing eventually translates into opportunities for individual young people in my community to live more vibrant, fulfilling lives.
“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”