Agency on Aging

Quinnipiac Students Respond to COVID-19

Kyle is a medical student in the School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University.  He was looking forward to starting at his assigned clinical site when the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.  Kyle, who is on the volunteer board for the school, knew that the university was looking for students to get involved in the community.  He is pursuing medicine to make a difference and is looking at the possibility of studying geriatric medicine, so volunteering with AOASCC was the right fit.

One of his first assignments was buying and dropping off groceries for an older woman who could not shop for herself due to the pandemic.  When he called to let her know the groceries were outside the door, he could hear the emotion in her voice.  Kyle spoke about how meaningful it is to make a difference in this challenging time.

He knew that things are hard for everyone because of the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable. However, he said it is one thing knowing this and another seeing it firsthand. Shopping for him is not difficult – he has the supplies, the car and the time.  Yet, when he looks at the list of the simple things people need, he said it brings a whole new level of empathy.  He spoke of one person who asked for cans that didn’t need a can opener, since he can no longer operate one.   Kyle shared that volunteering has changed his perspective and he knows he will see his future patients differently because of this experience.

As a volunteer coordinator, Kyle has also been busy recruiting additional volunteers.  One of these is Jillian Giblin.  Jillian is living with her parents, so she doesn’t want to venture out more than necessary.  She was eager to help though and is now making over a dozen calls a day just checking in on older adults who live alone.  She is enjoying hearing their stories, even though they are sad at times.  She shared with Kyle that she finds it rewarding that such a small gesture makes such a big difference in someone’s day.

Kyle believes in the difference of volunteering both for the recipient and the volunteer.  He is encouraging those who can volunteer to do so  – especially those who are feeling helpless, volunteering will help  with that.  The shared sentiment of the volunteers at Quinnipiac is that there is a reward in getting out of the house and being part of another’s life.

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