Resthaven is extrememly blessed to have such a fruitful partnership with Hope College students. Volunteer Coordinator Natalie VanDrie works closely with the college to provide volunteer and internship opportunities to students, and our residents love having students come visit!
At the Warm Friend, students participate in activities such as manicures, cribbage, and music. The residents love the cross-generational relationship built through sharing in the experience together.
Volunteering at the Warm Friend gives students the chance to slow down and enjoy their conversations with the residents.
Trenton, a student who comes in on Fridays, said “I enjoy coming and spending time with the people that play cribbage so much. I’m really starting to feel comfortable and carry on really good conversations with them.”
Resident Margaret Kleis said, “They think of us as their grandparents!” Especially students who live away from their homes and families.
But Hope students also help the residents. “They share with us their talents in technology in assisting us with our IPads,” Margaret said.
Hope student Lillian is using her passions and gifts to form a Warm Friend choir, volunteering every Thursday. “Lillian is not only sharing her talents with us, she is using her educational school training with the residents. So she is putting her knowledge and training right to work by teaching and sharing with the residents. How cool is it that the Warm Friend residents are her first students!” said Gayla Hoekwater, Warm Friend Activities Coordinator.
Hope Students who volunteer at Maple Woods love building relationships with the residents each week and participating in activities.
Student Jordon Powell loves to hear the resident’s stories. “Volunteering with Resthaven has broadened my worldview and I’ve met so many wonderful people here,” she said. She also loves to call bingo games, almost as much as Resthaven residents love to play Bingo.
“The thing I enjoy most about volunteering at Resthaven is how I leave feeling. It makes me so happy inside,” said Freshman Anika Heswall. “Volunteering has taught me to be patient and slow…. and think about what I’m saying and how I’m saying it. It has also taught me to initiate! My friend and I have volunteered with bingo and we have done individual visits at the cottages, and sometimes you just need to start talking or go and initiate a conversation! It’s made me a more confident person.”
She loves to talk to the residents about their children and grandchildren and learn what their interests are. “Some of the richest conversations I have had have been in this facility and I am eternally grateful for that.”