Hospice Is Hope: Hospice of the Valley helps military families

By Lin Sue Cooney
Hospice of the Valley Director of Community Engagement

One of the most fulfilling things we can do in life is serve others. Ideally, the happiness we derive is all the thanks we need. But an amazing program called Legacy Corps is making it even more rewarding to help others.

Based at ASU, this national AmeriCorps program matches people in communities across the country with veterans and military families who need support. Hospice of the Valley is thrilled to be the first Arizona partner and receive a grant to fund the program for the next three years.

Of the 20,000 patients we serve annually, about 1,400 are veterans, who often find themselves physically and emotionally overwhelmed. Many need assistance with transportation, grocery shopping or light housekeeping. Now we can help lighten the stress.

“Hospice of the Valley is excited to implement this grant from Legacy Corps and touch more families in our veteran community,” Volunteer Services Director Stacia Ortega says.

Volunteers who join the program are called Legacy Corps members and receive special training in caregiver support. Their participation is invaluable to military families who need socialization, companionship and in-home respite care to ensure their loved ones are not alone while a caregiver takes a much-needed break.

“The care and compassion these volunteers provide will make such a huge impact. What an opportunity to change a life while enhancing their own,” Ortega says.

In addition to training, Legacy Corps offers incentives like a monthly allowance and a college tuition award after a year of service. Those who are 55 or older can pass this award to a child or grandchild.

Legacy Corps’ national project director, Jack Steele, says the grant enables Hospice of the Valley to recruit and train 24 volunteers this year in the Phoenix area.

Among the applicants are a 19-year-old woman who has volunteered with various nonprofits since age 15 and a 43-year-old speech therapist who wants to help veterans living with dementia.

“They both express a vital quality, a passion for national service and excitement about making a difference in their communities,” says Eileen Dullum, Legacy Corps’ program coordinator for Hospice of the Valley.

David Swindell, director of ASU’s Center for Urban Innovation, which oversees the Legacy Corps grant, sees the program evolving. “Next year, we hope to offer our first course for volunteers to learn about and deliver respite care while earning course credit at ASU.”

If you would love the opportunity to enrich the lives of veteran patients and their families, please contact Hospice of the Valley at 480-844-5486.

To learn more about the Legacy Corps program and apply, visit hov.org/