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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Caught in the Act: Get to know the PDs

<d the opportunity to sit down with one of ACT’s  Program Directors for a short chat about her program, volunteering at the Northfield Hospital. Excerpts from a conversation with with Jinai Bharucha ’11.

Joe: The Northfield Hospital doesn’t seem huge, relative to other hospitals- where do you volunteer there?

Jinai: The hospital isn’t that huge, you’re right, but they still need a lot of help! Volunteers work in sports medicine, the emergency department, and the long-term care center. I have volunteered in the emergency department for a chunk in the middle of my time there, but I currently work in the long-term care center.

Joe: What do you do at the long-term care center?

Jinai: Make friends with the most wonderful grownups ever! Aside from that, we do a variety of activities to maintain and improve cognition in our patients. Many of them are senior citizens and have memory loss in some form or another. Many are also depressed because they’re away from their homes and their families. My project this year has been leading interested residents through a baking project every week. This helps the hospital feel (and smell) a little bit more homey, lets the residents use their hands to complete a task and leads to good conversations and jokes as the batter for something delicious is meticulously put together.

Joe: Is it difficult to work with people who may have a more negative outlook on life?

Jinai: It’s one of the best ways to escape the Carleton bubble, actually. I really appreciate the perspective I gain every time I’m at the hospital, not only because I remember how lucky I am to be at this stage in my life, but also because I get to hear stories about the amazing things that the residents have done with their lives. I also enjoy the challenge of forming relationships with people who are indifferent to me initially. When I can finally see a smile pop through the face of an initially very grumpy resident when I’ve told too many stupid jokes… the best.

Joe: Thanks for helping our readers get a better sense of what it’s like to volunteer with ACT: valuable, rewarding, and fun!

Joe Marren is a program director in the ACT Center

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