Volunteer Spotlight: Seeing the Good

For volunteer Barbara Wolk picking an area to volunteer in at Angela Hospice was an easy and quick decision.

“As soon as we got to the Bereavement Department class during training, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

Barbara, or Babs as she’s more commonly known around the halls of Angela Hospice, has been volunteering in bereavement for the last seven years, where she assists with grief support groups, helps with memorial services for Angela Hospice patients, and visits patient families at funeral homes.

So what made her know instantly this was the area for her? Her mom.

“I remember when we lost my brother 40 years ago and my mom should have…she needed help and there was nothing to help her,” Babs said. “If there was anything out there she didn’t want it.

“She needed someone like Angela Hospice that would show her that her grief was normal,” she continued.

Now Babs gets to help people going through something similar by working at the support groups, which is one of her favorite areas to volunteer in because of how special they are. Babs said she can see the good that they do for people. The funeral home visits have a similar effect on Babs, who said she constantly gets a heartwarming reception when she goes. At those funeral visits she gets to be an advocate for Angela Hospice, something she does in her day-to-day life as well.

“The common thing is ‘Ah, hospice,’” she said with a big sigh for emphasis. “I try to explain to them that it isn’t just about someone dying. That’s what a lot of people think hospice is.”

Babs, who recently received recognition for volunteering 500 hours, tries to encourage people to volunteer at Angela Hospice, like she was by a friend.

Her mom also played a part in why she decided to start volunteering.

Babs (third from right) often works the mailings.
While her mom was seriously ill in a Florida hospital’s urgent care, a volunteer came in and
encouraged her mom to have some apple juice. Babs saw her mom get a huge smile on her face. That’s when she knew she wanted to become a volunteer. That one small moment made all the difference, something Babs hopes she can do for others.

“I get self-satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped people, even if it’s just a little bit,” Babs said. “Even if it’s just a hug.”

Babs also helps out in the Development Department, where she works at the mailings and annual special events.

“I think we solve the world’s problems [at the mailings],” she laughed. “When we get together, the comradery of the people, they all care. They really do.”

Some of Babs’ favorite moments volunteering have come from working in Development. One was at the Walk of Remembrance where she encouraged a walker to participate in the craft and honor his grandma, who had helped raise him. He had planned to only stay for a minute but ended up being there for almost 15 minutes. He thanked Babs when he left for making him do it.

Another moment was at the Tree of Life, where she comforted a woman whose mom had just died. She saw a pair of pajamas that she knew her mom would’ve liked and talked with Babs about her mom.

“I get a lot of self-satisfaction from knowing that I’m volunteering for an organization that helps so many people,” Babs said. “I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t see the value and appreciate what Angela Hospice does.”

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