October 2021: Ashley Mendoza

October 2021: Ashley Mendoza

10/2021

Ashley Mendoza, junior at University of Miami, has been part of StudentsCare for just a year and two months. Since she started volunteering during the pandemic, Ashley had the unique opportunity to begin as a virtual buddy. With in-person visits postponed, she would plan to talk on the phone with an isolated senior as part of StudentsCare’s new Senior Buddy Program. While this presented itself as a challenge for many, Ashley rose to the occasion and surprised even herself with the relationship she and her buddy, Juan, were able to build. 

Ashley chose to be part of the Senior Buddy Program because she believes in the importance of having empathy for others – namely, the elderly – and believes we can learn many life lessons listening to their stories. Each time she chats with her buddy, Ashley hopes they will create sweet memories that will stay with both of them. Her favorite memory with Juan was a phone call like other phone calls they had before, but on this particular day Ashley had been going through a difficult time. While she made her lunch, Juan played Ashley some of his favorite music. Ashley was comforted in this moment, knowing that neither of them were alone, and that they had developed a genuine care for one another. 

Volunteering with StudentsCare has shown Ashley the importance of relationships and how to go about cultivating them. She’s learned “there is so much more than meets the eye,” and because of that strives to treat others with kindness, love, and care. She originally learned about StudentsCare from a friend who thought she’d love the program, and says she’s so thankful for the opportunity to volunteer. 

Ashley, it’s all of us who are thankful for you! We are so grateful to have you as part of the team and can’t wait to see what you do next.

By: Katie Oleksiak, Program Manager