Meredith Mallad ’24 began volunteering at Presbyterian Village North, an independent living community for senior citizens, when she was a sophomore.
“It was a different type of service than what I am used to. I was used to completing dedicated projects for service,” she said. “So, when my dad introduced me to this opportunity, I was excited to begin.”
In the beginning, she expected to be playing games with the residents, tending to them, and listening to stories she was perhaps not very interested in. But, the experience turned out to be much more than that.
“I became friends with them through my work,” she said.
Meredith feels as though she’s grown through her service with the residents. Before, she looked at life as tasks to check off to reach her goals without enjoying them.
“Now, I have learned to listen and take advantage to all the advice, stories, and opportunities that I earn,” she said. “More personally, I have grown my relationships. I understand how important it is to focus and really appreciate my relationships and stay in the moment with people, because I never know the next time I will see someone.”
The residents also keep her on her toes and have provided her with many favorite moments. One of which, took place when she was serving in the dining room and a resident kept asking for "one more thing" each time she came back to his table.
“I kept my cool and continued to fulfill his requests. However, at the very end, he asked for one more thing, then said, ‘Just kidding!’” she said. “He proceeded to tell me he was testing how many times I would walk back and forth to get something, all while laughing and letting me know it made his day!”
Her friendships with the residents have given her an appreciation for learning and listening to new things and stories and is by far, the most memorable part of her service work at Presbyterian Village North.
“I love all the endless stories they have to share and how excited they are to tell me,” she said. “Every day I work with them, I look forward to hearing how their week has been and catching up. It is the highlight of my week!”