Ten years ago, Hattye Ashford was busy working and raising a family, and still finding time to do what she could to give back - primarily as a very active member of her church in Atlanta, GA. One weekend, her pastor did a Bible Study Workshop on what gifts the members of the congregation were offering. "Through the course of the discussion, it became clear to me that my presence was a gift I could offer," says Hattye, "especially to those who are left out and forgotten about." She went home and opened the phone book, looking for "people that needed somebody - people who needed me." She soon found the page with Crossroads Hospice. Within weeks, she was trained and out visiting her first patient. A decade later, she's created countless happy visits for patients as a Crossroads Hospice volunteer. She sits with them and shares conversation and stories. "In 2007, I started visiting a man who was born in Trinidad. Over time we became very close. My family even came to meet him," she shares. These visits have meant as much to Hattye as they have to our patients. "I walk away receiving, not just giving," she confesses. "You need to be compassionate and love people and be patient. You need to find fulfillment in the giving." "Some patients don't necessarily know you're there. Some have Alzheimer's and forget. You have to go into it knowing that your time visiting was as much for you as it was for them,” Hattye explains. “You did something for someone. My time alone, sitting and holding their hand, is a gift." All her years as Crossroads Hospice volunteer changed her life in one other way. After 23 years as a quality inspector, she was laid off and used that time to go back to school. She now has gone back to work fulltime, but her new certification allows her to work part time as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) with individuals with intellectual disabilities simply because she loves it. "It energizes me. I will do this forever." Do you have a gift for listening and making others happy? Become a Happiness Project Volunteer. Complete the online application or give us a call at 888-564-3405.
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