Volunteering at William booth most weekends has allowed me to get to know some of the residents who participate regularly. This meant that have been able to identify a few patterns within the workings of the home and adapt what I did in small ways to be more helpful. For example, I have been able to confirm that, yes, we do tend to make decisions for people if we do not think they are capable of making those decisions themselves. This is becoming a noticeable theme within caring professions that work with vulnerable sectors: children, elders, and people with disability. There are times where taking the initiative to help the residents is necessary, but if they are able to speak for themselves, I found it was better to ask what they needed first such as the bingo situation I mentioned in my last CBSL blog.
“I noticed how we will, at times, judge others incapable of doing a task. When this happens, we tend to overcompensate for their perceived inability. I had been told that to help these women, it was my job to place the pieces for the lady on my left and place the chips in the hands of the lady on my right. Not two rounds into the game, they both proved this information wrong.” (CBSL blog 1)
The severity of our assumptions is different with every person as well as how strongly they react to it, so the line between helping and stepping on pride can be difficult to distinguish.
I surprised myself with how quickly I came to learn who the regular participants were for the bingo and church services. I began to learn some of there names and where their rooms where. I knew that some of the players preferred certain types of bingo cards and I learned who liked to attend which service. Some would only attend the first service run by the salvation army, some would only attend the catholic service that was held later, and some would attend both just to do something. By the end of my volunteering there, I also knew which rooms to avoid because they didn’t play bingo or were not religious.
I feel like this volunteer placement gave me an opportunity to reflect on how I interact with others and taught be how to adapt to the needs of different people.