A Good Friend This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Last year I volunteered at Cardigan Nursing Home once or twice a week after school for a couple of hours. On my first day I was filled with anxiety. I was scared that I might say or do something wrong since it was my first experience working with the elderly. After several visits, my nervousness was replaced with confidence. I went from just watching the activities to being able to help conduct them.

As I reflect on my experiences at Cardigan, there was one person who comes to mind instantly. Her name was "Mary." She was in her 70s and was one of the more active and up-beat residents. I used to sit and chat with her about her family and where she grew up. This time was the most enjoyable I spent at the nursing home. When I first started, it was Mary who made me feel comfortable and made me realize that I should not fear people because they are older. I learned two very important lessons. The first was the importance of family and how without family, people grow old and lonely very quickly. The second was that everyone deserves to be talked to with dignity and respect, no matter how old or ill they may be. When I met Mary in the winter, I always expected her to be there when I went to see her. How wrong I was. I had to take a month off due to conflicts and when I returned, I went to see her but she was not there. This was one of the emptiest feelings I ever had. I was not, and still am not, sure if she died. I did not have the courage to ask what happened to Mary because I feared the worst. Today I still think about her and wonder if she is in another nursing home or if she is in heaven. I am still glad that I don't know.

After I finished my community service, I had a great sense of fulfillment. I think I have become more understanding and caring. I also believe that I got as much as I gave. I strongly suggest that if anyone has the opportunity to work with the elderly, they should. fl


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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