Toni McAlevey: A Family Atmosphere
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First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
“I had never been to Christian Health (CHCC) until I visited Hillcrest when we were looking into senior residences for my mother-in-law,” explains Toni McAlevey. “I met with Pam Rooney, the Hillcrest Director, and got such a nice feel for the place.”
Although her mother-in-law ultimately decided to remain at home, Mrs. McAlevey didn’t forget her visit to CHCC. Months later, when she decided that she’d like to share her time and talent by volunteering, she knew where to turn.
“I thought I would like volunteering at the Center and I did – immediately!” Mrs. McAlevey says. “It’s very much a family atmosphere here, particularly once you get to know the residents and the staff. It’s amazing.”
Mrs. McAlevey assists the Heritage Manor Nursing Home Activities staff. She particularly enjoys sharing her interests and hobbies with the residents.
“The Volunteer Coordinator at the time asked me if I had any hobbies that I thought would interest the residents. I told her about my quilt and button collections. My mother and aunts all sewed. I was always playing with buttons when I was a little girl,” Mrs. McAlevey says. “One time I brought a big white tablecloth and poured a huge barrel of buttons on top of it. The residents couldn’t believe how many buttons I had. I took handfuls and passed them around. They brought back a lot of memories for them. I told them they could keep some, and they were thrilled.”
Like most volunteers, Mrs. McAlevey gets back more than she gives.
“I’ve became so attached to so many residents in such a short period of time,” explains Ms. McAlevey, who joined the volunteer force in October 2005. “They’re so sweet and so appreciative of every little thing you do. You learn so much from them. They have so much wisdom. I just love them. When I’m home, I’m constantly thinking of them.”