Ms. Hannah Clarke – Friendly Visitor Volunteer
Over the last year, Ms. Hannah Clarke has devoted nearly 20 hours of companionship and friendship to seniors in the Skilled Nursing Home. Along with other students from Case Western Reserve University, Hannah visits every Saturday throughout the semester to serve as a Friendly Visitor to seniors at Eliza Bryant Village. Since beginning in February 2018, Hannah has always displayed a very c ompassionate spirit and natural enthusiasm towards the two seniors she visits. She serves as a resource for the Eliza Bryant Village Volunteer Program as she brings about a great understanding of how to best engage seniors of all ages, abilities and interests. Read more about Hannah’s service journey as a Friendly Visitor at Eliza Bryant Village.
Tell us a little about yourself.
“I was raised in Philadelphia, but now live in Cleveland as a sophomore at Case Western Reserve University. I am studying French, pre-medicine and public health. I find it so interesting to examine the root causes of health disparities and the social determinants of health”.
What motivated you to volunteer at Eliza Bryant Village?
“As a child, I would visit the nursing home with my mother, so I developed a high level of comfort with the elderly. In Philadelphia, I was a hospice volunteer, so when I moved to Cleveland I was looking for an opportunity to do something similar. When I found out about Eliza Bryant Village, I was drawn to the friendly visit program, so I’ve been volunteering ever since”.
What is the most memorable accomplishment of your volunteer experience at Eliza Bryant Village to date?
“My first semester of volunteering, I was a member of an EBV volunteer group at my university. And now I am honored to have moved up to the co-leader position and I drive the group to EBV every Saturday for volunteering. That’s the most memorable accomplishment of my volunteer experience”.
What surprised you the most about working with seniors at Eliza Bryant Village?
“I was surprised that sometimes, even the least talkative of residents have days that they converse for an entire half hour. They may make jokes or tell you about their childhood or even ask you questions about your life”.
What have you learned about yourself while volunteering at Eliza Bryant Village?
“While volunteering with non-verbal residents, I have learned that I can still talk to someone, even if they don’t respond; it’s just a matter of getting creative. I learned that it’s not as hard as one may think to find ways to keep a conversation going with someone who is unable to verbally respond. I usually look to head and hand gestures as cues”.
Why should others support Eliza Bryant Village through volunteerism?
“Volunteering at EBV is a rewarding experience that is like none other. Volunteers get a unique look at Cleveland through the eyes of wise, insightful and witty seniors. They have so many experiences to share, but they just need someone to share them with! That’s where volunteers come in”.
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a friendly visitor at Eliza Bryant Village?
“My advice to someone considering volunteering is to get creative. Find what works with your resident – playing cards, music, reminiscing – and tailor your visits to include those elements”.
We are truly thankful to have Hannah Clarke as a volunteer! And we look forward to watching her continue to strengthen and build new relationships with seniors in our care!