Just three doors down from Emily Pleiss’ house, a wonderful opportunity was waiting for her to bring joy and good health to her neighbors. Emily lives close to The Lutheran Home: Cedar Haven in Mankato, Minn., and often noticed residents enjoying the outdoors at the assisted living community. When she needed a volunteer experience for a college class, she walked over to inquire.
“I knew it could be a good place for volunteering because residents might need help with daily activities or might just want some company,” Emily said.
That concern for others is what led Emily to enter the nursing program at South Central College. Her studies included a leadership and management course that required students to volunteer with an organization in the health care field. She chose Cedar Haven. When she walked in to offer her time, she was welcomed on the spot.
“Emily was great, very reliable, courteous and fun to be around; the residents loved her energy,” said Becki Staley, Activities Coordinator at Cedar Haven.
In addition to assisting with activities, Emily spent time with residents doing personal health assessments. As she got to know residents, she was able to look closer at each person’s needs and make recommendations for individualized plans to help them make positive changes.
“It was a wonderful, rewarding experience,” Emily said. “Having volunteers involved at Cedar Haven is good for the residents. They need that one-on-one attention, and they have that time to sit and be involved with you. I learned more about myself in the process and learned more about the nursing profession.”
When her semester volunteering was through, Emily found it hard to say goodbye. She was touched when a resident asked to take a picture with her to hang in her room.
“It made me feel like they cared that I was there. This is a great place. I would definitely recommend The Lutheran Home: Cedar Haven,” Emily said.
Following her graduation from South Central College in December 2016, Emily began studying for the state board exam to become a registered nurse in Minnesota. She’s also searching for a job where she can practice a variety of nursing skills.