The Student Care Team from St. James High School in Montgomery is a very special group of high school students who provide support for Alacare hospice patients across Montgomery County. These eleven students have made a strong commitment to visit sick and elderly members of their community after school two days each week throughout the school year. Visiting in teams of two, they provide companionship and emotional support to patients, and brief relief to their caregivers and family members. They also phone the patients each week to check in and see if there are any additional ways they can be of service. In addition, they help out with special projects such as housecleaning, yard work, and running errands.
To date, the St. James Student Care Team has provided support to more than 15 of Alacare’s patients in Montgomery County and collectively given more than 700 volunteer hours of service to the volunteer program. This specific group of youth volunteers works collaboratively together and portray a true team spirit approach to offering comfort and support to Alacare patients and their families.
The student volunteers demonstrate the magic that can happen when we step out in faith and bring together youth and older citizens. Volunteers who choose hospice as their primary community project must be extremely dedicated to serving their community, and need confidence in dealing with the complexity of real-life issues such as death, dying, grief, and bereavement. This can be especially challenging for teenagers, many of whom have never had to deal with those things in their personal experience.