Community volunteer Kathe Hyland displays one of her floral arrangements in a brass vase at Care Dimensions' Kaplan Family Hospice House. Kathe volunteers as a way to give back for the care her mother received at the hospice house.
When Kathe Hyland retired from her job as a special education teacher, she wanted to use her energy and skills to volunteer, and she knew exactly where -- Care Dimensions' Kaplan Family Hospice House.
“I feel like I am giving something back from when my mother was there in 2008,” Kathe said. “It’s a wonderful place.”
As a flower lover, she took on the role of making floral arrangements for patients and their families, as well as for common areas such as the chapel, and the nurses’ stations.
“You’d think I was giving them a million dollars,’’ Kathe said of those receiving bouquets. “I feel like it makes a difference; it is a little bit of happiness and comfort for people in difficult times.”
And, she said, “It is my way of thinking of all the nurses and aides, and what they do.”
Many of the flowers are donated by the Lyons Funeral Home in Danvers and the Campbell Funeral Home in Beverly. Some are private donations, including from events like weddings.
She said the Danvers Garden Club also maintains a patio at the house with plants and flowers. “It’s such a beautiful setting,” she added.
Kathe, of Danvers, said she is “on call,” with the Kaplan House notifying her when they get supplies. “I can go weeks without flowers, and other times I have been there every day of the week. I consider myself part of the house.”
Fran Clements, volunteer coordinator at the hospice house, said, “Kathe is very creative with the arrangements she does for us. Visitors often comment on the beautiful arrangements that we have placed around the Kaplan House. I think the flowers add a nice touch and brighten everyone’s day.”
Kaplan Family Hospice House Director Jennifer Sawyer agreed. “Kathe is a great member of the (hospice house) team of volunteers. She is friendly, outgoing...always interacts with our staff and families when she is out and about on the floors here. Her positive, upbeat approach allows folks to feel comfortable interacting with her. We are so very appreciative of her time she gives to us to help make the hospice house a warmer and welcoming place.”
Care Dimensions has more than 560 volunteers who work directly with hospice patients, according to Sheryl Meehan, director of volunteer services and complementary therapies.
There are also 21 volunteers on the board of directors and 47 who work in the office.
And, Meehan said, “We have community volunteers who knit, crochet, sew, craft projects, do community events, and assist with various activities. Our volunteers are our ambassadors within the communities where they live and work.”
Learn about volunteering with Care Dimensions. Click the Keep Me Informed button and sign up for notices about volunteer training in your area.
Wendy Killeen is a freelance writer from West Newbury, MA.