LONDONDERRY — Jonena “Joni” Salvas of Londonderry and her pet therapy dog Phoenix are the recent recipients of Compassionate Care Hospice’s Volunteer of the Year Award for their high level of dedication and their many hours of service, exceeding well over 100 volunteer hours in a year’s time.
“Joni has been the backbone of the Compassionate Care Hospice volunteer program,” said Molly Brewer, volunteer coordinator. “Hospice volunteer work is typically very rewarding, challenging, and heartwarming. Most people think it is sad work, but, in truth, the volunteers find it to be uplifting: there is joy in making a difference in other’s lives and to spend time doing something meaningful. Our volunteers are trained to approach their time with patients in the style of being ‘fully present’ and they do it without need of recognition.”
The most common reason someone offers to serve as a hospice volunteer is because they have been on the receiving end of the support of a hospice team and they would like to “give back.”
Hospice volunteers can choose how much time and which days and times they would like to offer. They can take weeks or months away from their volunteer role when needed.
Volunteers can share their skills, whether it’s baking, Reiki, massage, writing life stories, playing guitar, sharing their pet, helping in the office or assisting with community events. Each patient is a new opportunity for the volunteer to explore creatively what might be a unique approach to that individual.
The mission statement for Compassionate Care Hospice is to affirm life during its final stages by providing holistic compassionate care to patients and their families; by providing access to hospice care for under served or difficult to serve populations; by wise and efficient use of available sources, and by educating the community.
“Our volunteers often come to us with some trepidation about what the role might entail,” Brewer said. “As time goes along, we find they take on more and more, they enjoy it more and more, and love their work. It’s not unusual for one volunteer to be visiting with several different patients on a regular basis and to also participate in a vigil team within the same time frame.”
Compassionate Care Hospice is located at 25 Nashua Road in Londonderry. The phone number is 421-9887.