HWS DreamCatchers, a student organization dedicated to fulfilling the final wishes of hospice patients, has brought comfort and joy to patients in the local area. Led by Katherine Vangaever ’21, the group has connected with Ontario-Yates Hospice and established a pen-pal program with residents at Seneca Lake Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care.
Vangaever established the HWS chapter of DreamCatchers in 2018. Since then, the organization has grown to include 40 members. Their goal is to bring the dreams of hospice patients to life. Memorably, the group has planned a wedding and a fishing excursion for patients. Vangaever says bringing the dreams of hospice patients to life is possible through partnerships with local businesses and volunteers, and the support of the patients’ loved ones.
This semester, COVID-19 restricted members of HWS DreamCatchers from visiting local care facilities. However, the group found creative ways to lend support to local patients and families. Recently, they organized a “Basket of Cheer” drive. Their gifts included hand-written cards, candy, blankets and candles. They also personalized many of their gifts. For a veteran, they delivered a red-white-and-blue blanket. For another patient with young children, they included stuffed animals, coloring books and pumpkins.
Vangaever invites members of the HWS community to join their pen-pal effort and write letters. She says the act of writing letters can be mutually beneficial in combatting loneliness during periods of isolation. “We are looking for volunteers to write to the elderly to combat the loneliness and isolation we are all feeling due to COVID-19,” she says.
To join the organization or to make a donation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.