Meet Heavenly: Impacting Her Community with Kindness
Read about Heavenly, a Papa Pal who loves that she can impact her community while having the flexibility to be with her family when they need her.
When she moved to a new state, Heavenly began looking for part-time work with kids, older people, or animals—it didn’t matter which. She wasn’t looking for a full-time career. She just wanted to do something to feel like she was giving back. And some extra spending money for Christmas would be nice.
Heavenly worked in television as an editor/producer for 15 years, but developed fibromyalgia and had to retire. She spent the next few years caring for older family members, and it brought her a lot of joy.
She read an article about Papa and “it just clicked.” She applied immediately, they ran the background check, and she was getting visit bookings the next day. She loved that she could work the hours she chose, and be home with her family when they needed her at home.
Heavenly Meets Her First Member
Her first Papa member was a lady named Miss Geri who was thrilled to have a Papa Pal. All Miss Geri wanted was for Heavenly to go to the grocery store with her little list: “four pieces of Swiss cheese, five pieces of ham, half a loaf of bread, half a cake.” She called Heavenly while she was at the store and said, “If you see anything good, like maybe one of those cookies that’s out in the front, can you get those for me?” Heavenly says her joy in simple pleasures is contagious.
During their next visit, Heavenly saw a mum on sale and took it back to Miss Geri. Every week Heavenly gets an update on the mum’s progress, including the names of all the people Miss Geri has told about the mum.
Another Papa member Heavenly has visited is a widower named Robert who had a stroke and has lived alone since his wife died two years ago. He’s 107 miles away and had had trouble finding a Pal who would drive that far. When Heavenly arrived and asked him what he needed help with, he said, “I don’t need any help. I just want to go get coffee and a piece of pie. And maybe go to the park.” So that’s what they did.
“I drove an hour and a half to go have coffee and pie with him for two hours and then drove back,” Heavenly says, “and it was probably one of the most rewarding days of my life.”
During her years of caring for older family members, she realized how much small things matter to people who are older and might not have family around to help. Things like putting up a curtain or dusting a ceiling fan or putting a bird feeder together or getting potting soil for a dying plant. She loves helping other people’s moms and dads and grandparents. “That generation is so appreciative and loving,” she says.
The Power of Human Connection
Heavenly makes it a habit to give hugs to all of her Papa Pals who want one (and so far that’s all of them). She didn’t do it at first, but then she realized how much that physical touch meant to people who spend so much time alone. “So I’m happy to give them hugs,” she says, “and they’re happy to have hugs.”
What Heavenly loves about Papa is that it encompasses all kinds of help that people might need—financial, medical, physical, emotional, mental, and social. She says it’s such a great program that allows people to be independent a little bit longer. She knows that COVID has made it harder for people to get help—and has made them more hesitant to have people in their homes. Her Papa Pals know she’s vaccinated and has been background-checked, so they feel safe with her and know they can trust her.
“Papa provides an amazing opportunity for people in the community to help seniors,” Heavenly says. “I’m a very strong believer in kindness and joy and compassion. I love the feeling I get when I’m kind to someone else, and I really enjoy and appreciate it when people are kind and helpful to me, so I want to share that. And I just adore my Papa members.”
Meet Julie and Lauren: Friends from Soul to Soil
Papa member Julie and her Papa Pal Lauren dug deep—both literally and figuratively—and found a soulful connection.
Meet Juanita: A life dedicated to service
A retired career military person with 28 years of service, Juanita found a new purpose in serving the older adult population as a Papa Pal.