Volunteer Spotlight on Jessica N.

Brittany Watson
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InCheck’s culture embraces giving back to the community in many ways. Internally, we have volunteer events and opportunities to give back. In addition, we know that many of our employees have chosen other organizations and events, where they dedicate their time and resources. We love learning about all of the ways our team supports the broader community. Each month we will highlight an InCheck employee who is making an effort to participate in volunteer service outside of the office.

Community Volunteer Spotlight on Jessica

Tell us about the organization you volunteer with and how you got involved.

It’s very unfortunate, but there are many people from the age of 18 to their late 80s who are incapacitated due to cognitive or physical issues.  With no friends or family who are able or willing to make certain decisions for them, they often become Wards of the State for every aspect of their care (Physical, Financial, Medical, Legal, Psychological). With the hopes of providing more individualized care for some of these Wards due to the work overload that many Social Services caseworkers face, the GAIN  Project (Guardian Advocacy Instruction) was created - Guardians to the rescue!

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The GAIN Project is a program that offers guardianship for cognitively disabled adults. Volunteers are paired with someone in need and serve as legal guardian primarily for medical and legal concerns. The level of involvement a guardian can partake in is solely at their discretion. The guardian is the primary source for key decision-making and advocacy. Sometimes involvement can lead to life-long relationships with the Ward. 


How did you get involved?

I joined the program when my youngest child went to Kindergarten and I was looking for volunteer activities. I became the guardian to a lovely lady named Rose who is in her early 60s and suffers from cognitive issues, prior physical and emotional trauma, and early-onset dementia. In addition to my power of attorney responsibilities, Rose has become a part of the family. She often accompanies us to movies and participates in Holiday celebrations with us.

 

What makes this volunteer experience meaningful to you?

I love being an advocate for someone in the community who needs extra support. It also brings me joy!  It is important for me to show my children how other people live and navigate through life and how that may differ from what they are accustomed to seeing. The program exemplifies that everyone can benefit with kindness, attention, and advocacy. I have volunteered with Meals on Wheels, Road to Recovery, and Hospice Services but volunteering as a guardian stands out because of the ongoing bond my family and  I have with Rose. 

 

What has been the most memorable accomplishment of your volunteer experience so far?

My favorite time with Rose (pre-COVID and hopefully again very soon) is taking her to children’s movies with my two sons. She has a great sense of humor and will laugh out loud during the humorous scenes in movies. She is also extremely appreciative for anything we include her in or any gifts we get her. Rose loves coloring, so during COVID we bought art sets, coloring books, and stickers to help occupy her time.  


Why do you enjoy volunteering?

I enjoy the guardianship program because I value Rose as a person.  She has brought our family joy by spending time with her over the past three years. I am glad I can assist and advocate for her best personal care regarding important medical and legal decisions.  It’s reassuring to know that I am an additional safety check to ensure Rose is always treated with respect, dignity, and is content with her life. 

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