As was the case between my first post about volunteering through New York Cares and the second, and between the second and the third, a lot has happened since I last wrote about the volunteering hobby I started in September.
I have now led the Coler Hospital Variety Night project on Roosevelt Island a few times, and I have decided to team lead a brand new book cart project at Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx where I previously participated in a game night as part of the five-borough challenge for new volunteers.
The new bi-weekly book cart project starts in January, since I figured it would be easiest just to start after the holidays are over and we’re in the New Year. The concept is to bring a book cart (loaded up with books and magazines beforehand by hospital staff) around to hospital residents’ rooms from 2 to 4 pm on Saturdays.
It’s not just about providing some reading material, though. It’s about chatting with people who just need someone to talk to and showing them that they are cared about and not forgotten. In some social situations I can be a little shy or introverted, but when it comes to volunteering I get to turn on my extroverted side and meet interesting new people. As I wrote once or twice before in this blog, I have really enjoyed volunteering with seniors so far, and I’m looking forward to this experience.
Team leading has been rewarding so far. At the Coler project I’ve gotten to introduce several new volunteers to the space and the residents, and tried my best to foster a friendly and happy environment on my projects. I get a sense of accomplishment from organizing the volunteers and knowing that because of our combined efforts, people got to play games and laugh and have a good time. As a person who thrives on accomplishments, even small ones, and who likes to host social activities, Team Leading is a great fit.
At a recent project date at Coler Hospital, one of the residents taught the volunteers to play Tri-Ominoes. I had seen the game box sitting in the cabinet in previous nights, but before that Thursday no one mentioned wanting to play it, and I had not realized what a cool game it was. Dominoes is a little boring to me, but Tri-Ominoes gets your brain working hard to find a spot where the numbers on one side of your triangular domino match the numbers on the dominos already played. There is no set shape the mass of dominoes makes, though those of us playing agreed it often looked like a bird or a bowtie.
In the first three posts of this series, I chronicled each and every volunteer experience. I think you’ve probably had enough of that level of detail, but I will continue blogging about my overall experience and about how the book cart project is going once that gets started.