When Kaitlyn Guenther relocated from her Canadian hometown of Calgary, Alberta to the bustling city of Birmingham in 2016, her passion to help others in the community shone. She very quickly learned about her local Live at Home Scheme in Selly Oak and, understanding the benefits the service brings to older people, Kaitlyn jumped at the chance to get involved and became a volunteer befriender.
Now, proud MHA supporter Kaitlyn spends some of her spare time offering companionship to older residents living in her local community who may live alone and be impacted by the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Speaking about her work, Kaitlyn aged 20 said: “I started volunteering for the Selly Oak Live at Home Scheme when I first arrived from Canada and met many amazing people – volunteers and members alike.
“Being a volunteer for MHA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It is an inspiration to be surrounded by people who are working towards creating an atmosphere of greater comfort and support amongst the elderly community. I have also become great friends with the members of the scheme.
“I visit with two different women, and with both of them I have many amazing memories. Sometimes I will play scrabble with them, sometimes I will sit and talk about their childhoods over a cup of tea, sometimes I even take them to different clubs, and I always feel such a great sense of reward and accomplishment for what we do for the community.”
Approaching the end of her stint in England, Kaitlyn has vowed to hang up her MHA volunteering t-shirt in style by signing-up for a courageous charity challenge in aid of the Selly Oak Live at Home Scheme. Every penny she raises will directly benefit the older people supported by the scheme.
Kaitlyn added: “Unfortunately, my time in England is coming to a close at the end soon. I am sincerely going to miss my volunteer work with the Selly Oak Live at Home Scheme; however, I am increasingly motivated to continue with volunteer work like this when I return to Canada.
“Before I leave England, I want to do something big to show my support for MHA. So when I heard about the Birmingham Snow Hill Abseil event from the scheme's manager, I was excited to participate. My manager, a member of the scheme, and myself have all registered to go abseiling because we want to show our gratitude and support for MHA, the Selly Oak Live at Home Scheme, and our community!”
Inspired by Kaitlyn's story? Visit the Events pages to find out how you can support the work of Best For Ages too.
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