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Richland College Student Offers Friendship and Good Cheer to Seniors at Local Hospice

Rebekah Land sitting with her back against a treeThere’s no question that Richland College student Rebekah Land is dedicated to her studies and getting to work on time. But lately, some special senior citizens have been bringing out another side of her personality and helping her grow as a person.

Land, who will graduate from Richland College with her associate degree in business math and science in May, has been volunteering throughout the past semester with Angel Care Hospice at Wellington Assisted Living in Richardson.

“I’m usually a run-around, study harder, get to work on time, never hang out, sometimes make-time-for-a-book kind of person,” said Land. “I’m a very driven perfectionist and a workaholic 19-year-old. Angel Care Hospice has helped me continue to develop my softer side, which usually gets shoved in a corner.”

Land has always had a soft spot where the elderly are concerned and previously volunteered at a nursing home. She connected with Angel Care Hospice after finding the organization through Richland College’s Service Learning program, and it has been a great fit for both her and the patients.

Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities.

Brenda Patton, director of nursing and volunteer coordinator at Angel Care Hospice, said Land’s work has been incredibly appreciated by the patients.

“What an incredible young lady,” said Patton. “Patients will light up when they hear she is coming. They just love seeing her.”

As a companion services volunteer, Land spends time with the patients. She helps them with small tasks such as getting ready or getting items if necessary, but her primary task is to simply talk to residents and socialize. Land sometimes reads to patients, and she has also wheeled an Alzheimer’s patient around in a wheelchair.

“Often, the most important thing I can do is talk with them and give them my friendship,” said Land. “Spending time with someone who is all cooped up and in their last stage of life adds more value to their day than one can imagine.”

Patton agrees. “They get so lonely, so sometimes just carrying on a regular conversation can help so much,” she said.

Upon graduation from Richland College, Land plans on attending either Southern Methodist University or the University of North Texas in the fall. Eventually, she hopes to be an accountant. Meanwhile, Land will continue her studies at Richland College and look forward to another semester volunteering with Angel Care Hospice.

“Feeling love jump out of your heart and into someone else’s, even when they barely know you, is something I can’t get enough of,” said Land.

Angel Care Hospice is always looking for additional volunteers to provide companionship for its patients. Anyone interested in volunteering can call the hospice at 972-301-5600.

Continuously committed to its college mission of “teaching, learning and community building,” this holiday season, Richland College is showcasing some of the amazing ways Richland College faculty, students and staff are giving back to the community through volunteering with local nonprofits or helping others who might need a hand. We look forward to sharing these stories with you.