Thursday, December 16, 2010

our little volunteer

Miya spends her mornings, Monday through Thursday, at the playgroup. For Fridays she found another kind of activity to fill her morning. She takes her mom to the Glebe Centre, a long-term care home for seniors, where she is a volunteer visitor to residents with advanced dementia.

Miya is a fantastic volunteer. Her role is simply to play in the common room where residents can watch her, since people with advanced dementia will often respond to small children in ways they don't with adults. Already through her play she is engaging with them.

It truly is amazing to watch. She is able to do what I cannot - interact with no preconceptions, no judgement. She does not stop to wonder what someone's disability is, what they are or are not capable of. She takes them as they are. If they want to sing to her, she listens. If they mumble or stutter, she listens too. No judgement. Pure engagement.

By our second visit, she was sharing her board puzzles with residents- taking them little pieces that together they would work to put into place. The facilitator was over the moon watching the ease with which Miya interacts with them - and the way in which residents respond to her. And I couldn't be more proud of our little volunteer.