We are endlessly grateful to our volunteers for giving their time to better the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Our volunteers are truly the heart of the Alzheimer’s Association here in North Carolina.
In honor of National Volunteer Week 2023, we’ll be spotlighting a different volunteer from our Chapter each day. Today we are featuring…
What brought you to volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association?
When my grandfather, “Mio”, who was the head of the family, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was both frightening and inspiring to see all of the changes he went through, as well as the shift in dynamics within the family in being caregivers for him. There were at times confusion, fear, and uncertainty about next steps or what to expect. As a first generation, bilingual immigrant, I have always been an advocate for accessible resources for underserved communities. The Alzheimer’s Association offered a free place to ask questions, obtain resources, and receive education both for individuals dealing with dementia as well as their loved ones and caregivers. In addition, as a current neurology resident I have always had great interest in the brain, and as I see patients in the hospital and clinic I realize how important it is to have an organization like the Alzheimer’s Association that could reach more individuals within the community regardless of their socioeconomic status, geographic location, or accessibility to care.
Seeing all of the great things the Alzheimer’s Association had to offer and being passionate myself about volunteering and community engagement I knew joining the Alzheimer’s Association would be a great fit for me.
What volunteer role(s) do you have with the Association?
My current role is to serve as a Community Educator in North Carolina. I do both virtual and in-person programs including ”Healthy Living for your Brain and Body” and “10 Warning Signs” which are some of my favorite programs to present. I also collaborate with the local Association staff to help expand programs by searching for community partners. In addition, I am part of the new initiative within my region, the Hispanic/Latino Engagement Committee, which helps further develop and present a series of Spanish programs for the Spanish-speaking communities here in North Carolina which I am very excited about! [For more information on the Hispanic/Latino Engagement Committee, email, firstname.lastname@example.org.]
What do you enjoy most about your volunteer role?
My favorite part about being a Community Educator volunteer is being able to help educate and provide resources to those within the community. There is nothing more rewarding than meeting and connecting with individuals within my community. It gives me the opportunity to be able to discuss the various obstacles encountered, whether you have a diagnosis of dementia or are a loved one for someone dealing with a dementia. By coming together for education and offering the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 hotline you allow others to be part of this supportive community and further expand the community network.
What piece of your role do you feel makes the biggest impact?
The piece of my role I feel makes the biggest impact is being able to use my clinical background as a neurology resident to apply and further support a lot of the education programs I give. I strongly believe in evidence-based medicine and the Alzheimer’s Association strives at supporting their educational programs based on the latest research from leading experts in the field.
If someone were considering volunteering with the Association, what would you say to them?
Go for it! If you are someone that has a personal, professional, or a general interest with Alzheimer’s/dementias and have a passion for helping others then this is the perfect role for you. You will not only serve as someone that can provide educational programs, but can also further help to expand the network of providing resources to your community to make a change and hopefully reach those that are not yet aware of all that the Alzheimer’s Association has to offer.
THANK YOU, ANDREA
Volunteers truly help move our mission forward. Interested in becoming a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association in NC?
Visit alz.org/volunteer or call 800-272-3900.