Happy Easter! Today at Springhouse on the 3rd floor there was a celebration. It was inspiring hearing another resident, David, play the piano and sing. I later learned from another volunteer at HCAB who has David as a buddy that he’s blind. Not only was today a holiday, but it also felt like the beginning of Spring, so Pearl was in a great mood as were the other residents. The visit went by smoothly, and I enjoyed myself a lot today.
There’s been something going through my mind lately not specifically related to my volunteering experience, but more on the side of programming. As a co-director of HCAB, one of the responsibilities is making sure that volunteers are accountable. This has been a difficult issue previous semesters, so we tried to fix it through the policy that volunteers must reapply next year if they miss more than two visits. However, a couple of weeks ago, a volunteer decided to quit the program. For me, I’ve been considering about his decision, which I find frustrated.
I believe that the volunteer’s decision was an unfair one on various levels. One, by not coming to visits the volunteer is harming his buddy who expects him to visit. In fact, the buddy’s family emailed to ask if this volunteer would be at our annual Brunch (held at the end of the semester with buddies, their families, and volunteers). Hence, this leads to the second point, the volunteer is not being considerate of the buddy’s family either. Lastly, the volunteer is not being fair to the program: some responsibility inevitably falls on the co-directors and other people interested in the program were turned away for this volunteer. Co-directors have already individually talked to the volunteer; however, the volunteer will not be returning next semester. Ultimately, this situation has held a problem I’ve been considering in a new light: holding students accountable to their commitments.
- Ellen Zhang