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WE VOLUNTEER EVERY WEEKEND

WE WRITE JOURNALS EVERY TIME

AUGUST 15, 2017

Myung Suh Madeline Choi,

Monta Vista HighSchool

I was so happy to talk to Katherine today, it's been a while since she was awake and ready to see us.

We talked about school and she told about her high school sweetheart which was very interesting indeed. :P I brought my ukulele and she loves music and song, so I got to do the two things I love; playing the ukulele and making Katherine happy. Since her birthday is coming up soon, we thought it'd be awesome if we could get her a diffuser so we found out that her favorite scent is vanilla. I really can't wait for our next visit when we can congratulate her and make it the best birthday she's had in decades. Overall, while we're technically the one's "volunteering," we're the ones who learn more every week and we are definitely blessed to have the opportunity to spend time with such beautiful people.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2017

Seung Ah Annabelle Choi,
Monta Vista High School

Dorothy is 70 years old she is from Indiana and moved to California when she was 25 years old to meet more people other than just "Indiana people." California was a completely new experience for her, she loves the weather and how there are so many diverse people here. She enjoys the series Harry Potter very much, as she was on a movie marathon for the whole series when we met her. As a huge Harry Potter fan myself, we engaged in a deep conversation about the characters and how people of all ages should appreciate fantasy stories because J.K. Rowling did not write the book for only children to read, but for everyone to enjoy. She loves kittens and art, as the pictures and drawings on the side of her bead indicates. I look foward to meeting her again next time, but I hope even more that recovers and is out by next week. It was plesant to talk to her because she is still yet a "youngster" of the people around her (the term she used herself) and still looks foward to living a life after she leaves the hospital.

OCTOBER 14, 2017

Seung Ah Annabelle Choi, Monta Vista High School

While Dorothy was changing we also met "Papa" and talked to him for around 5 minutes. I felt sad because he was willing to talk to us even though it should have been very difficult to, but we couldn't because non of us spoke Chinese. I still tried to make conversation with broken Chinese but it was not working out very well.  Hopefully, there are people out there that speak Chinese that are willing to make conversation with him.

NOVEMBER 14, 2018

Arshyiya Choudhary, Monta Vista High School

So today we spent the whole time in one of the rooms. We met Dorothy and Martha. Dorothy was very friendly to us and we talked a lot about what her favorite animals were, and which countries she wanted to visit. She also told us about how she was born in Indiana, met her husband at Purdue university, and moved to California. We got to learn about her and her life more. Martha at first seemed a little less approachable because she did not smile or laugh as much. However, when The Lord of The Rings started playing on the tv and we started talking about it, her face seemed to lighten up. By the end, I noticed that both Dorothy and Martha seemed more content. I realized that just the fact that we are there, to keep them company was helping them feel less isolated, and less alone.

DECEMBER 16, 2018

April Park,

Lynbrook High School

We talked with Robert about our life. He taught us history of the wars so that we could understand the world and make a desirable decision in our life. He also emphasized we should vote for a right person as a president and always keep an eye on what’s going on in the country. We gained lots of things from him hearing about his faith about heaven and hell. It was a philosophical discussion and we are happy to have an opportunity to share ideas about it with a writer.

JANUARY 8, 2019

Eric Choi, Bellarmine College Prepatory School

I talked to Melinda today, and she gave Annabelle and me lots of insight and knowledge of a myriad of topics. She talked about where she was from and how the climate was different from the east and west coast. Then, she went on to describe how snow is great recreationally but incredibly bad when one has to live with snow for months. Lastly, she gave us advice on how to buy goods from Mexico for a great price. Overall, it was an incredible experience that I would never forget.

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

Nayana Balusu,

Monta Vista High School

We talked to Melinda Stark who had gotten a stroke in 2009 (10 years ago) and she is still bedridden but is one of the most hopeful people I have ever met. Through our conversations, we were able to learn about her love for computer science, a mutual interest that we both share. She told us about a time when her computer was broken and she was instructing the engineer how to fix her computer for her. She also told us about an experience when she was in the hospital and she had talked to a grumpy lady who kept complaining about her stroke and how she missed out on so much and would not be able to ever to do certain things. She went on to tell us about how she told Norma (the grumpy lady) to think about what she was still able to do. Her message was that their stroke could have paralyzed their entire body or even taken their life, but they are still alive and still able to do certain actions which are still remarkable gifts. Melinda has a half-paralyzed left arm and is one of the happiest people I have happened to talk to in the home.

MARCH 31, 2019

Tae Hoon Kim,

Kennedy Middle School

Today we spent time with senior patients. In the activity room, I played the piano. I didn't play well but they all listened in "very polite" manners  and complimented, "Your music touched me!" It made me so happy! After that, I spent time with a papa who has disabilities with talking. Though he couldn't talk we spent a good time together. Today was a very valuable and meaningful day for me because of what I have learned about life and the true meaning of volunteer-giving out to the community.

APRIL 7, 2019

Lia Seo,

Lynbrook High School

Today we got to spend time with senior patients in the activity room. When we arrived, they were listening to/singing songs. Tae Hoon played the piano, and it was nice because they got to hear live music, rather than the music online which they always hear. We also did arts and crafts with one of them. The patient seemed to have a speaking disability. We could not understand anything he said, but we smiled, laughed, and had a great time with him. I realized sometimes physical/body language is more significant and is a better form of communication. The rest of the time we sang and listened to music with them, which was really fun!

APRIL 14, 2019

Arshiya Choudhary,

Monta Vista High School

Today we spent all of our time with Baba, who is 94 years old. We got him flowers for Easter and he was extremely happy. He told us about his childhood experiences when he was in Africa, how on Easter after Sunday school he couldn’t wait to go home for the egg hunt. He continued on to tell us about some of the fun moments he had when he visited Brazil. He told us how much he loved the food and how energetic the samba dancers were. He also told about some adventures moments in his life when he tried to smuggle on to a boat as a worker, but unfortunately, he got caught. I absolutely love visiting him as he is always so full of energy and tells us so many inspirational and motivating stories. It’s really amazing how we go to talk to people to give back, but we also learn so much from them and their life experiences.

APRIL 21, 2019

Yejin Song,

The Harker School

Today was my first-day volunteering, and though I admittedly felt a bit awkward at first, Baba’s excitement and smile with us on this Easter morning soon made me feel more comfortable. I was inspired by his energy, even at his older age, and was happy that we could share our energy as well by singing various songs for him. We also shared a few laughs as he told us about his life stories, whether it was hunting for eggs in bushes every Easter or traveling to Brazil and enjoying its unique, diverse culture. Speaking from his many experiences throughout his life, Baba reminded us to enjoy our youth while we can. I was so grateful to gain so much valuable insight and wisdom from him, and I’m looking forward to visiting more people and brightening up their days in the future.

APRIL 28, 2019

Katherine Lee,
Cupertino Middle School

We spent time with Baba, a 94-year-old man with a bubbly and hilarious personality. During our time there, we began with small conversations which helped settle my personal shyness. As it turns out, Baba has a strong love and passion for music, so we all sang along to soothing songs while Maddie gracefully played her ukelele. While we are far from professionals, singing altogether with Baba allowed me to really enjoy and cherish the moment. Additionally, despite knowing Baba for less than two hours, he was so spirited and enjoyable to be around; he offered great pieces of advice of wisdom and entertained us with his stories from around the world. Inside the room, it was evidence of how much energy and positivity was shown. Personally, it lifted my spirits seeing how my actions can positively affect someone, whether it's small or big. From my joyful experience today, I would consider Baba's contagious smiles and laughs to be something I will always cherish.

MAY 5, 2019

Arshiya,

Monta Vista High School

Today we celebrated MJ’s 66th birthday !! We got her a bunch of flowers, balloons, and cake. We decorated her entire room with balloons on the wall and sang happy birthday to her. She was extremely surprised as was super grateful for what we did. We also sang many songs.

MAY 12, 2019

Nayana Balusu,

Monta Visata High School

MJ turns 66 in a couple of days and as a result, we went to her room to surprise her. Before we could surprise her with decorations and a cake, she woke up and caught us in the act of decorating her room. We had a lot of fun and she was really thankful that a bunch of kids she hardly knew were willing to celebrate her birthday with her. We learned that she likes strawberries and spent time singing with her.

MAY 19, 2019

Katherine Lee, 

Cupertino Middle School

Today, on the day of cinco de Mayo, my visit to the center was full of joy and celebration. Spending our majority time in the game room, we entertained the seniors with games and simply just conversing with others. Today, I met a very nice woman and I began to talk to her. However, I soon realized she only spoke Spanish; although my middle school class of Spanish proved to be lacking, it was enjoyable to learn her favorite hobbies and food. Talking to her was very meaningful because it proved that I could still positively impact someone’s day, despite the language barrier. Also, an instructor had taught us fun and relaxing exercises. During this time, despite any medical conditions or of age, I loved witnessing the seniors enjoying their time with their smiles and giggles. After, we visited a hilarious woman named MJ, whose birthday had recently passed. With fun music playing through the halls, we walked through the center, visiting patients and exchanging cheerful greetings. Our time ended with a beautiful performance for Cinco de Mayo; it was mesmerizing watching the ladies dance and swing their vibrant dresses.

MAY 26, 2019

Yejin Song,

The Harker School

Today, the six of us visited many different rooms, meeting many new people. We first visited our old friend, Baba, and as usual, he had a variety of interesting stories to tell us. He told us about his exciting college days, which included traveling all around the continent with his friends and taking part in the University of California People’s Park incident in the 1960’s. We also chatted with MJ, who missed her farm and horses in New York, and we met a new friend, Javier, who was looking forward to reuniting with his relatives. Then, upon hearing upbeat music blasting from her room, we immediately visited Melissa. We discussed recent troubling political matters, like the abortion ban, and she gave us her valuable insight on life in a senior home. Though it was rainy and gloomy outside, I was grateful to experience laughter, friendliness, and warmth inside the home as we bonded more with our friends. I’m looking forward to meeting even more people and reconnecting with others for our next visit!

JUNE 2, 2019

Nayana Balusu,

Monta Vista High School

Today we talked to Baba and we had a very intellectual discussion. We talked about a variety of topics ranging from school to world politics. Baba told us that we youngsters are the future of the world. He told us that it is important for us to do things from the bottom of our hearts and not do things for superficial reasons. Lastly, he told us to think for ourselves and explore topics for ourselves instead of following the norm and not thinking for ourselves.

JULY 7, 2019

Nayana Balusu,

Monta Vista High School

On our visit, we talked to three people. The first person we talked to was Gwen and she told us about how she her eyesight is deteriorating due to a condition called Macular Degeneration. She told us how she had cancer and in many ways, despite her partial blindness, she was very lucky they were able to remove her cancer completely. The second person we talked to was a woman sitting in corridors coloring. She was very happy and we had a great time looking at the various pages that she had colored beautifully. She was constantly smiling and was a really happy person to be around. The third person we talked to today, was a woman named Peggie. Peggie told us a lot about her life, from her childhood with her parents to her college days. She also told us about how she dropped out of college and became a waitress and how she really enjoyed being a waitress. Though many of the rooms were relatively empty with not as many people to visit, today’s visit was extremely enlightening as the few people we talked to told us a lot about their lives, exposing us to the different backgrounds that people hold.

AUG 4, 2019

Arshiya,

Monta Vista High School

Today we met Ester Garcia. She is from Texas and turned 89 last week. She has been here for 3 years and was very happy to talk to us. She told us how she loved to watch people pick fruit off of the trees outside of her room. She was also very excited because her son and granddaughter were gonna visit her later in the day after a long time. She is very nice and has a cheerful personality. I can’t wait to talk to her again.

AUG 11, 2019

Yejin Song

Harker School

Today, we visited MJ and did origami with her. It was nice seeing her after a while, and being able to chat with her while having fun with the origami was refreshing amid our monotonous summer days. We certainly were not experts, but MJ chose some animals she wanted us to make for her. We shared a few laughs about our skills and even gave the paper figures names such as “Freddy” for our frog. When it was time for us to leave, there were ten colorful animals lined on her bedside table, and we hope we can greet them along with MJ at our next visit!

AUG 18, 2019

Taehoon Kim

Monta Vista High School

We met MJ and we talked about our school stuff with her and also we saw that she was holding the teddy bear and it looked so sweet.  Even we didn't had much time to have a conversation with her she so liked and welcomed us.We are goning to meet her next Sunday and this time we will have more conversation with her.

AUG 25, 2019

Nayana Balusu

Monta Vista High School

Today, we met with MJ and we did origami in her room! We originally planned on teaching her origami, but she was unable to do it because she could not use her right arm, so we made a bunch of animals for her. We made two bears, a frog, a rooster, a squirrel, and a crane. We named the crane Ted jr. after her teddy bear and named one of the bears Ted Sr. We also made a fortune teller and predicted that she would get a phone soon as she really wants to get a phone. MJ was very happy and told us that she would like us to do origami with her again. We are looking forward to next week, to do origami and meet her again!

AUGUST 29, 2019

Arshiya Choudhary
Monta Vista High School

We started off the day by meeting MJ and talking to her about the dreadful amount of homework we all had. Eventually the conversation drifted into an interesting discussion about marriage and the legal age in California. After spending some time with MJ we made our way to the activity room to help out. We talked to Betty over there and she told us how much loved being there and how fun it was. She also expressed her love for writing and playing tennis. We also helped passing out coffee, hot chocolate, juice and cookies to everyone in the room. It was a new and fun experience helping out in the activity room and I hope we do it more often moving forward.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2019

Seung Ah Annabelle Choi
Monta Vista High School

Confidence helps with so much in my everyday life. It’s what gives me an extra push to speak up for myself or to make bolder decisions with my future. However, confidence is a hard skill to develop because it’s really rooted in kindness. Having the courage to be kind and help others through volunteering is a great way to increase my confidence at school, with my family, and with my friends. I taught myself to learn to be confident for those who can’t be. My exercise of talking to new people every time I go to nursing homes - specially people who are hard to talk to- get me to a level of communicating with others.  It was a fruitful experiene again today, being at wellness and healthcare center with senior patients.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2019

Myung Suh Madeline Choi

Monta Vista High School

Taehoon, Yejin and I talked to MJ today. I haven’t seen her in a long time and I was very excited to talk her again. We talked about how our first weeks of school was and what we were looking forward to. MJ told us about her high school experience (or what she could remember of it) and told us that high school will go by in a flash and that we should enjoy it as much as possible while it lasts. We also talked about phones and possible options for MJ since she wanted a means of communication with her family she hasn’t spoke to in a while.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

Yejin Song

The Harker School

We visited MJ and decided to do origami with her. We asked her what her favorite animal was and, since she used to own a ranch in New York that had many horses, she said she loved horses. The five of us each followed Nayana’s instructions and made our own horse, trying our best to replicate the pictures of MJ’s beautiful horses that were on her wall. As we were amused by our different colored horses made of pink, blue, and yellow, MJ explained to us that blue horses actually existed, which was fascinating. Despite some failure, we shared many laughs together while dancing to our favorite Christmas and pop songs. By the end, MJ had five colorful horses, and we all had another memorable and fun day with our friend to remember.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2019

Katherine Lee

Fremont High School

Today at the senior care center, we spent our time in MJ’s, our dear friend, room. In preparation of one of our favorite holidays, we assembled a cute pumpkin lantern to brighten up MJ’s room. It was very rewarding to see her smile at the moment we brought in the glowing pumpkin. Through much discussion, we decided to name the pumpkin Jack (pronounced with a fancy french accent). In addition, we also made a small project of little pumpkins strung on string. This piece of decoration added fun festivity to the bland door MJ is always looking at. After decorating, we jumped into fun topics to converse about such as homecoming dates, favorite seasons, and our dream vacation.  The room filled with laughter as brought up silly nostalgic stories about our childhood. MJ talked about her strong desires to find a new, comforting home for her. We learned that she was an avid baseball fan, specifically the New York Yankees. With lots of fun stories, our time with MJ today was nothing but fun. 
-Katherine Lee

OCTOBER 6, 2019

Seung Ah Annabelle Choi

Monta Vista High School

I began my visits with trepidation. I had never spent much time with old people before I started Cupertino Healthcare and Wellness Center volunteering. My only memory of the nursing home came from a caroling with other church members at the facility on Christmas Day when I was seven or eight. I remember being scared when a woman in a wheelchair grabbed my hand while we sang. But now, as a dedicated volunteer at Cupertino Healthcare Wellness Center, I have pushed back that memory. The inconvenience of being in a nursing home is the past. Now I'm looking forward to visiting them because I realize how much I learn from those visits.

OCTOBER 20, 2019

Arshiya, Monta Vista High School

Today we visited Baba after a really long time. We had a quick chat about how he has been and he was extremely happy and grateful that we came back to meet him. We spent the rest of the time in the activity room by helping everyone out. We even made pumpkin halloween decorations with them, which we put up all around the room.  It was really exciting to meet baba after a long time and I hope we can do more crafts with everyone there.
- Arshiya

NOVEMBER 3, 2019

Ye Jin Song
The Harker School

Today, we welcomed a new member, Eddie Bae, to our team! We made another quick visit to MJ, who seemed to be in good spirits, even more so when we greeted her. After some brief chatting about the recently cold weather and about our volunteer work at the center, we went over to the activity room as usual. We helped Alaina with distributing cookies, hot chocolate, punch, and various other drinks specially customized for each person, getting to know new faces along the way. It was another pleasant day at the center filled with smiles and laughs.

NOVEMBER 10, 2019

Nayana Balusu

We visited MJ's room and talked to her about our week. We talked about when each of us would graduate and soon be off to college. We also talked about homework and whether or not we find it useful and enriching for our learning. MJ told us about her childhood and recalled that she did not have much homework. MJ also told us that  she hopes to leave the nursing home soon and move back into her old apartment complex. After talking to MJ, we went to the activity room where we accompanied the residents as they listened to their weekly church proceedings.

DECEMBER 2, 2019

Katherine Lee

Fremont High School

Today at the care center, we volunteered at the activity center and talked to a few of our regular patients. Since it was only a few days after Thanksgiving, the whole building had festive decorations all around that gave a cozy, fall atmosphere. In the activity room, we helped the nurses pass out drinks and snacks. It amazed me how the nurses were able to memorize every single custom drink for those with dietary needs. Also, the center provided a few fun hats for the patients to wear and it added bright touches of color to the bleak room. During the weekly mass session, we walked around to patients to give company and assist them. Afterwards, we walked around the building, looking for different patients we could entertain and converse with. Surprisingly, we found MJ in the middle of the lobby observing the birds. We talked shortly about our favorite seasons, fall and winter. MJ likes the fall because of the cool weather and how the rain provides water for the beautiful flowers to grow in spring. Our morning ended with a fun conversation about the new movie, Frozen 2.

DECEMBER 8, 2019

Taehoon Kim, Monta Vista High School

Getting out of my house, I was very worried this morning because MJ did not recognize us last weekend after all these years of visit. I mean, she usually welcomes us! I was really worried that her health is getting worse every day, however, she put on her big smile and greeted us, and nobody can’t imagine, how relieved it was for me. Talking about out school life is always a stress-relief. Next visit was Baba. We talked about his family and how he misses them which was so sad to hear. It was shocking to hear that his ONLY VISITOR THAT HE HAS! He encourages us and praises our volunteer work and tells us how blessing it is to talk to them. One might think that we are helping them, however, I sincerely think that they are the ones who help us to be wise, and to make us feel good in ourselves.

FEBRUARY 5, 2020

Seung Ah Annabelle Choi

I went to assist Santa Clara County Dental Society. I went to San Jose Giants Excite Ballpark and assisted dentists taking blood pressure and writing charts. Here I met Joe. Joe could barely endure his favorite meal of the year. He did more wincing than chewing during Christmas dinner. Enjoying turkey was nearly impossible, so he turned his sight, and his mouth, to the one thing he could eat: mashed potatoes. The tooth pain had lasted for weeks, becoming so constant, so severe, that it was all he could think about. Living in Campbell, Joe subsists on a fixed retirement fund and social security and is unable to see a dentist regularly. When he called local dentists to set an appointment, he was told it would cost between $350 and $500 to extract the tooth. That was more than he could afford, so during Christmas dinner he gently chewed his meal of potatoes. He sat in extreme discomfort during his favorite meal of the year, trying to reconcile with the pain. Less than a week after Christmas, still in pain, he set an appointment with a SCCDS. The volunteer dentist onsite extracted the tooth. Afterward, Joe thanked everyone at the clinic for all the help they’d provided. Next Christmas, he’ll be able to enjoy turkey. Sharing what you have is wonderful!

 

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