When I asked the students of the Catholic HEART Workcamp, “Why did you come here?,” at the end of their week of service to our Home and the Residents, I was struck by one young man’s response, “It’s the right thing to do.”
This summer, 13,000 high school students will visit 50 cities “to share the love of Christ as they serve the neglected, brokenhearted and the marginalized in any way needed.” For Sacred Heart Home, “any way needed” translated into grounds keeping and time with our Residents. The five young men and women who visited our Home with their two (brave) adults, toiled in our gardens, kept our Residents company by eating with them and playing games with them – if these Catholic Heart Workers are any indication of what to expect from future generations, then we are going to be alright.
One Resident of the Home who has advanced dementia was playing picture bingo with the help of a Catholic Heart Volunteer. The Bingo caller pulls from a list of recognizable images: a baseball bat, a sofa, etc. When the caller said, “Shoe,” our Resident didn’t recognize the word. However, her helper grabbed the bingo chip and placed it on her card. Our Resident’s eyes lit up and she smiled her biggest, most beautiful smile at her young helper! Then, just as quickly, the moment was gone; the Resident no longer looked aware of what happening.
To be Catholic means to live as a disciple of the Lord, and one of the most meaningful ways that we can do this is to serve others. While the act of playing Bingo may not restore memory, it does reaffirm dignity. And if our young volunteers are lucky, it helps them discover their own talents.
Click here to learn more about Catholic HEART Workcamp’s mission.