Life, Inc.

A volunteering story by: Cole Hobert-Swanson

Dorothy Hobert is an amazing individual, she has cut hair in her own home for more than 30 years, raised 3 children, as well as 3 grand children. Everyday she is up early with her shop light on waiting for her next appointment. About 6 years ago Dorothy’s friend who owns Life, inc asked her if she would like to come cut hair for these kind souls whom live with disabilities I cant fathom. Eager as always Dorothy said “of course!”

When she first started going to the disability homes, she taught the care givers and any of the individuals who live there that were able to help, how to do photo albums. “Some could trim with scissors and some just loved to sit next to me and watch as the stories of their everyday activities and lives were saved in memory books” Dorothy stated.

Every 5-6 weeks Dorothy visits the disability homes to cut their hair, on average there are about 16 people who live at these homes, so she does 8 on one day and 8 on the next so she does not physically strain herself. ”

As I get older the job is more challenging as many of them are in wheelchairs and some cant even hold up their own heads” said Dorothy. “I have some that are blind and some are deaf. The degree of disabilities are so varied. Some of them do have conversations with me. One man who has no legs and is blind sings to me and we communicate that way” Stated Dorothy. Dorothy is an amazing individual, she is also my Grandmother and is a huge inspiration in my life.

The Inspiration

Dorothy was inspired to volunteer for Life, inc by her friends and by her pursuit of happiness. Dorothy has always cut hair to pay her bills and handle her life changing, she is a huge part in almost everything she does in her life. From her grandchildren’s school, bringing the whole school lunch every other Tuesday, to her motor cycle club that she devotes her time to helping with events they have for the community and even at city events.

She saw the opportunity for Life, inc to help those who do for others that cannot do for themselves, and it was something she did everyday, but to them it was more than a hair cut it was compassion, mixed with love for any other soul, treating them equally, is a feeling I can describe I only know it by the goose bumps that travel up my spine in a petrified stance. “It was very rewarding to do these books for them and especially to then one day give them to their family members when the disabled person was no longer with us here on earth.

We laughed and sometimes cried as we remembered special things about each individual” Dorothy stated. The compassion, integrity and just overall love this woman shows for others is inspiration enough, she inspires herself to be better and that’s something I wish everyone could grasp. Dorothy Hobert is still volunteering for Life, inc to this day, Dorothy’s final words of the interview were “I am so blessed with good health and family who are healthy. I thank God for all he has allowed me to experience and enjoy in my life.”

The Aha! moment…

Dorothy smirked as I asked her this question, she stated “words cannot describe what you learn from an experience like this.” She said that “I learn everyday, especially when I visit the disability homes, communicating, participating, and spending time with these individuals is time not wasted, it is memories gained and smiling faces seen.”

She then followed that with this “So many times I have decided it would be my last time to go cut hair as I am getting older and it is hard on my body physically,¬†one of them will say to me “I just love you, thank you for cutting my hair”. How can I think about not doing it anymore when I hear their sweet voice being so appreciative.” Dorothy is finding herself becoming more than just a volunteer in her experience she is becoming family. Her final response to the question was “Every time I am finished and am on my way home I appreciate my good health and my ability to serve others who didn’t ask for their plight in life but just appreciate what you do for them. I hope I am remembered for kindness and for helping those who are so much less fortunate than me.”

To summarize it in three words…

  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Love

Why should you do this

I recommend anyone who can help anyone in any situation to at least extended a hand forward and let them know you’re there.

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