Last year, I helped pilot the summer visits - thus, we had vans going to visit our buddies once a week during the summer. The fact was, many of our volunteers stayed on campus due to research programs or other activities. I believed that having visits that occured on Sunday mornings would be beneficial to volunteers and their buddies. One of our most vital parts of our program is the idea of a longitudinal relationship. When our volunteers are gone over the summer, the consequences are that the buddy may feel isolated, abandoned, or forget the person who spent two semesters with them.
When we did the pilot last year, we ran the summer visits for approximately 7 weeks or so. It worked out better than we expected, for there were eager volunteers and lots of interest. However, one thing that we realized is that it’s necessary to publicize summer visits early to volunteers. In that way, they are held accountable and can carve out time in their summer schedules to visit their buddies.
Using the experience from last year, HCAB ran summer visits earlier this year to ensure the success of summer visits. I’m sad that I can't visit my buddy this semester and spend time with her - however, I was delighted to receive this email, below, today!
- Ellen Zhang