Volunteering: A True Passion

Besides being an insurance professional, my other passion is volunteering. I truly love to volunteer. As a kid, my mom took my sister and I to the local soup kitchen back home in Louisiana. My mom wanted us to understand that A. we have a lot to be grateful for and B. you should always give back if you are fortunate to do so. During college, I was in AmeriCorps. During my time with AmeriCorps, I completed over 500 hours of community service and graduated from the program. As an AmeriCorps member, we volunteered all over Lafayette, La (my hometown/location of my alma mater) and also in New Orleans and Galveston, TX to assist in cleaning up these cities after hurricanes touched down. But what stuck with me the most was volunteering at a local public school. This public school was consistently ranked as low-performing and majority of the students were minorities from nearby crime-ridden neighborhoods. I heard horror stories prior to volunteering there: how the kids were disrespectful, violent, etc. I was not worried though. I knew I, along with the other volunteers,would make a connection with the kids and help them. The AmeriCorps volunteers did just that. We helped test scores increase and behavioral suspensions decreased. We were not licensed professionals or teachers; we were passionate college students who wanted to give back and inspire our community. This cemented my passion for community service and volunteering. I realized you do not need millions of dollars or fame to make a difference.

Fast forward to now and I am an avid volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association. My grandpa died from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease 10 years ago. I have family members who are suffering with the disease now. In my opinion, I do think the disease does not get the attention it deserves. When I discuss the disease with people, I always get the “joke” about old people forgetting. Alzheimer’s Disease is deeper than that. It hurts to have a love one forget you. But Alzheimer’s Disease will come with a lot of complications that are not just health-wise but financially a burden also. Most caregivers of Alzheimer’s Disease patients are women family members. These caregivers are doing unpaid labor. Some caregivers are doing it because they want to while others have no choice since they are possibly the only family member that can help their loved one.These women are also leaving the workforce and under a lot of mental stress. The cost of taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease is staggering. Alzheimer’s Disease can possibly bankrupt medicare and medicaid in the future. Long-Term Care insurance is suppose to cover the cost of care but that is a deeper issue I may go into on another future post.The reason why I volunteer is because I am passionate about bringing awareness to the issues that caregivers and patients have to go through. I will tell their story. I will do my best to end Alzheimer’s Disease through my volunteering and being a speaker for the chapter I volunteer with.

I truly feel that if you are blessed to have an amazing life, give back in anyway you can whether it is through professional work as a teacher or through volunteering with a charity you are passionate about. Have a family member who suffered with a stroke? or someone close to you who suffered with depression? Do what you can to help others. Volunteering can be the answer.

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