Seniors Helping Seniors Scholarship 2018 – 1stPlace Winner – Madeline Rowe
May 2, 2018
As I pulled the latex gloves off my hands and threw them into the trash, I began to think about why I was changing depends in a nursing home. Not just looking for the obvious answer, (because I was volunteering as a part of my nursing clinicals), but looking for the answer as to why I felt so compelled to become a nurse. The stale sterile smell filled my nose as I walked down the hallway, saying good morning to all the residents sitting outside their rooms in a wheelchair, and found my way into the dining room.
All the residents were patiently waiting for their breakfast, and when the breakfast carts came out, a cheer emerged from the hungry crowd. I found the specific tray I was looking for and took carried it to my favorite resident in the red beret. Taking my seat, I placed my hands in his and looked him in the eyes to say hello, so that he would recognize who I was. I knew exactly how he liked his breakfast; pepper on the eggs, (only 2 shakes), grape jelly on whole wheat toast, and his banana cut into small slices. Although he couldn’t feed himself, it was amazing how intelligent he was. While feeding him breakfast, we would talk about all kinds of things; the weather, the news, school, and tales of his childhood.
He taught me many life lessons through his successes of owning a company, and even through the sorrows of losing his wife. He taught me how to approach certain situations and ended up helping me more than I could ever help him. After breakfast, I wiped his mouth and wheeled him back to his room, ending our adventure through time for the day.
The time that I spent with these residents made me realize why I want to become a nurse. Not only because it brings me so much joy to be able to help others, but because of how much I get to learn from the people I am caring for, whether it be younger generations, older generations, different cultures, disabled, etc. I came into this experience extremely nervous, but I soon began to realize how great the need is in geriatrics, and how us younger generations can work to fill that gap. Working with older generations has taught me so many important lessons. It has taught me patience, gentleness, grit, and most importantly, perspective.
I believe that kids and adults of all ages should become involved in aiding people in need. There is so much we can learn from people who have been on this Earth longer than we have. Since my experience with the man in the unforgettable red beret I have encouraged people around me to get involved with older citizens of their community. In my experience at the nursing home, I came in to learn how to be a nurse, but left with a different outlook on the world, all because of the man in the red beret.
Congratulations to our three winners:
- 1st place: $3,500 – Awarded to Madeline Row. Madeline is studying nursing at Point Loma Nazarene University.
- 2nd place: $2,000 – Ana Danko. Ana is studying Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
- 3rd place: $1,000 – Rachel Dovsky. Rachel is studying at Mira Costa College.
These deserving students were chosen from more than 400 entries. It was a difficult choice, as we are impressed by the volunteer work being done by so many of you. Thank you for dedicating your time to helping America’s seniors. Visit our Scholarship page for further details or if you are interested in learning more about our Seniors for Seniors Scholarship.