Aldens understand need for compassion

For husband and wife Mike and Rockie Alden, a common value brings them to Caring Hearts and Hands: compassion. These two volunteers help keep the house and yard clean and welcoming, bringing their experience from other non-profit work as well as their hearts to serve others.

How did you get involved with Caring Hearts and Hands?

Rockie: I ran into Cindy Daugherty a few years back and she shared the vision with me. My mother was in a hospice house in Arizona, and I saw and felt how important it was. I told her I wanted to be a volunteer.

Mike: I was aware of Caring Hearts and Hands through Rockie’s interest, involvement and training.

What work do you do with them? 

R: I went through the training for caregiver, but I do not have a medical background so I am training with someone right now. I usually sign up as the house volunteer and take care of laundry and light cleaning, as well as make food as needed, and I can usually shadow the caregiver at the same time.

M: I am a part of the outdoor maintenance team. We are a group of volunteers that maintain the yard work, do snow removal and support outdoor efforts of the house and property.

What draws you to the organization’s mission?

R: It offers amazing compassion not only to the guests but also the families and loved ones. And it provides a much-needed service for those that are at the end of life, allowing them dignity, peace and the best setting possible.

M: Understanding we have a need for compassionate, dignified and respectful care and support in our community is what impresses me about the mission of CHHC. Knowing that we have an organization with support people that are compassionate, competent, committed and provide servant leadership is a blessing for the guests of CHHC, the families, the friends and our community.

What experience do you have outside of CHHC and how does that help your work there?

R: I have been fortunate to do a lot of volunteer work and have interfaced with a lot of people in a lot of settings. I can use those skills to help others that are experiencing a different phase of life’s journey.

M: Rockie and I have been fortunate to be involved with and learn from so many incredible people and organizations in Columbia and mid-Missouri. Those experiences with non-profit, civic, community and city/county organizations, combined with working at the University of Missouri has provided me with an informed perspective that assists me with CHHC.

What do you do for fun/to destress? 

R: I like to exercise, read, travel, spend time on our family property and do crafty things.

M: I work out, work at and enjoy our farm in Callaway County, travel with Rockie, and live vicariously through our kid in Boston. And read… I really enjoy learning.

What is the most rewarding thing about CHHC? 

R: I think two things: Making people feel comfortable when they need it the most and allowing family members to be there for their family emotionally. Since they don’t need to worry about the care, they can enjoy this last time together without stress. I love the home and the new people I’m meeting and working alongside. I am really enjoying this work! It is super rewarding!

M: Providing a welcoming and comfortable home for the guests and families/friends at CHHC is really special. Knowing there is a place of peace, comfort and support combined with a welcoming and loving culture is amazing. CHHC is a gift to so many!

Antal brings experience, creativity, empathy to CHHC

Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia (CHHC) is only possible through the help of dedicated volunteers. It takes a special, passionate team to keep everything running and provide the best care for their guests. One such volunteer, Linda Antal, brings helpful experience from her work at Boone Hospital and empathy learned from her parents to both write policies and serve as a Caretaker Volunteer.

How did you get involved with Caring Hearts and Hands? 

I got involved with CHHC through my association with Jackie Reed and Dorreen Rardin. I worked with both of them at Boone Hospital, and Dorreen recruited me to help. 

What work do you do with them? 

My first project was volunteering at Lights for Love several years ago. After becoming a member of the Operations Committee, I volunteered to write the policies and procedures for CHHC. In a weird way, I like writing policies and developing forms that support the processes that need to be followed. I used samples from other hospice houses as a starting point, made them our own and then presented them to the Board for approval. Since orientation involves education about the policies and forms to be used at CHHC, I also wrote the orientation manuals used for the caregiver and house volunteer classes. I continue to tweak the policies and forms to make them work better for us, but now I am also a caretaker volunteer. 

What draws you to the organization’s mission? 

I have had several family members who were on hospice before they passed away—most specially, my husband and mother. I experienced first-hand the comfort and caring hospice can provide. After retiring, I wanted to give back and thought I’d like to be involved volunteering for one of the local hospice agencies. CHHC came along instead!

What experience do you have outside of CHHC and how does that help your work there? 

I am a registered nurse and retired from Boone Hospital after working there for 39 years. I spent the last 25 years of my career working in leadership positions where one of my responsibilities was maintaining the policies and procedures for nursing. This prepared me well for my work at CHHC!

What do you do for fun/to destress?

Doing something creative is my best way to destress. I like all forms of needle arts (knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc.), making junk journals and working in our flower beds. I also became a Master Naturalist last year and am enjoying volunteering in parks and outdoor spaces to spread native plants and knowledge about our ecosystem and the importance of preserving it! 

Can you tell us more about your family / where you’re from? 

I grew up in Hermann, MO with seven brothers. My mom and dad handed down a strong work ethic and taught all of us kindness, the importance of taking care of our earth, and empathy and compassion for others. I now live in Ashland with my daughter, her husband and two grandchildren – Emma (14) and Lucy (10). I am so lucky to be able to see my grandchildren every day and be part of their lives.  

What is the most rewarding thing about CHHC? 

I find the care of our guests the most rewarding aspect of my involvement with CHHC. I was not at the bedside for the last several years of my nursing career and feel so fortunate to be able to provide hands-on care again. Dying is a sacred time in the lives of our guests, and I am privileged to be a part of it.

ForColumbia volunteers beautify Social Model Home

Thanks to the efforts of #ForColumbia, and incredible volunteers across the community, the exterior of Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia saw an incredible transformation.

A group of nearly 20 volunteers from community organizations like The Crossing and Our Lady of Lourdes came together to trim back bushes and trees, weed overgrown garden beds, power-wash a privacy fence, construct a new section of privacy fence, replace screens on the screened-in porch, and create a walkway to a lovely playhouse.

“This has been incredible,” says Kasey Kronk, operations director of Caring Hearts and Hands. “The transformation in just a few hours is a testament to our entire model. We want to be a community home: a home for the community, supported by the community. And this shows that it’s possible!”

ForColumbia, founded in 2015, brings Christians together to serve the community together. This nondenominational effort brought people together, many who had never heard or or seen Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia. Volunteers spent three or six hours, enjoyed lunch, took tours of the home, and got some serious work done! 

To learn more about a social model home, and end-of-life care, check out the resources page.

Making a positive difference in a difficult time

Caring Hearts and Hands operates fully through the help of volunteers like Jan Asbury, who serves on the Operations Committee and works passionately to bring as much peace as she can to end-of-life guests.

How did you first hear about Caring Hearts and Hands?

I heard about CHHC from Dorreen Rardin, who told me about the plans for the house and asked if I was interested in volunteering. 

How long have you been involved with CHHC? 

I’ve been on CHHC’s Operations Committee for about a year.

What draws you to the organization’s mission?

I have said for years I felt this area needed a hospice house. After learning about CHHC, I loved the idea of opening a social model end-of-life home instead. A home where one can spend their last days in a loving, respectful, caring environment that can meet their physical, spiritual and emotional needs with their loved ones at their side. The fact that this care will be free of charge is just icing on the cake!

When you talk to others about CHHC, what resonates with them?

When I speak with others about CHHC, I get very positive responses. I get the feeling that they see the need for such a home in Columbia and are pleased that one will be opening soon.

Where are you from?

I was born in Ohio and lived in Indiana and Alabama before moving to Hallsville when I was eight. I currently live in Fayette.

Tell us about your family and/or those closest in your life.

I have been married to my husband, Doug, for 35 years. I have two children and their spouses and two grandchildren, who I absolutely adore and love. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a volunteer?

My goal is to provide a peaceful caring environment for the guests and their families. I hope to be a blessing to those I encounter and make a positive difference during a difficult time. I look forward to the blessings I will take away, too.

Daugherty dives into the CHHC mission as volunteer

The work of Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia isn’t possible without the help of volunteers. Cindy Daugherty is just one such volunteer. She current serves on the Board of Directors and works passionately to draw attention to the mission of Caring Hearts and Hands of Columbia.

How did you first hear about CHHC? 

“I met Jackie [Reed] at Boone Health when my mother broke her hip. She was a palliative care nurse at Boone. Jackie told me about her idea for Caring Hearts and Hands, and I was immediately interested.”

How long have you been involved with CHHC? 

“I have been helping with the mission for about nine months.”

What draws you to the organization’s mission? 

“When my father insisted on dying at home, it was incredibly hard. No one is prepared for the issues that come with caring for someone in final days. I wish that this home had been open then.”

When you talk to others about CHHC, what resonates with others?

“I think anyone who has been a caregiver for someone can relate to the mission of Caring Hearts and Hands. My own children now relate after watching what I went through caring for my father. All generations will benefit from the CHHC home. While discussing death is hard, and no one wants to think about it, knowing that this resource will soon be available is an incredible comfort.”

Where are you from? 

“I am born and raised in Columbia.”

Tell us about your family and/or those closest in your life. 

“I have a son Scott, and daughter, Erin. I’m blessed with four grandchildren who I love spending as much time with as possible. I also have a sister, two brothers and lots of nieces and nephews. We get together often and always have. I’m also blessed with fantastic friends. Family and friends are central to my life.”

What do you hope to accomplish as a volunteer?

“While on the board, I would like to accomplish one thing: to open Columbia’s first alternative care home for those in their final days.”