Kathy Barna has joined the BridgingLife team as its NEW volunteer coordinator. Get to know Kathy and her plans for BridgingLife’s volunteer program:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I have been married for 35 years, have four adult children and three grandchildren. I have been a resident of Mt. Airy for more than 20 years. I graduated from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) with a Bachelor of Arts in education and social work. I have a Master of Arts from Wesley Theological Seminary and have spent the better portion of my profession recruiting, training, managing and nurturing both paid staff and volunteers. I love to garden, fish and sit on the beach!
Q: Describe your role as volunteer coordinator.
A: As volunteer coordinator, I will be building relationships with the volunteers, the BridgingLife staff, the patients and their families; educating the community about BridgingLife and our volunteer needs; and connecting our gifted volunteers to the opportunities that best match their skills.
Additionally, I will be continuing to partner with the We Honor Veterans program. I will be working hard alongside leadership and BridgingLife’s interdisciplinary teams to care bravely for our patients.
Q: Why did you want to join the BridgingLife team?
A: I have a servant’s heart, and I have seen firsthand the many ways every single person on a hospice team cares for the patients and their families. I had an opportunity to shadow a chaplain in a hospice during my time at seminary; after that experience, I had been just waiting for an opportunity at BridgingLife to open up that would be a good fit.
In one of my trainings, I heard someone say that dying is a life-saving choice and I’d like to be a part of a team that helps people die well. It’s such an honor and a privilege to journey with someone during the season where I believe they have a foot in both worlds.
Q: What do you have planned for the volunteer program at BridgingLife?
I plan to continue with this amazing forward momentum BridgingLife is on! That includes broadening our volunteer base so that it is representative of our patients and families we serve while maintaining our small, family-like feel. I plan on implementing volunteer appreciation activities that value and acknowledge our volunteers as integral players and the backbone of our BridgingLife Hospice team that they are!
I envision our volunteer program becoming a model for other hospices.
Q: What are BridgingLife’s most pressing volunteer needs currently?
A: Honestly, we simply need MORE volunteers. Our inpatient units are now open again, and our geographical area has grown. We need volunteers that are centrally located to these newer regions and inpatient units. Our volunteer pool is just not large enough to keep up with the volunteer demands.
Q: What else would you like us to know about you?
A: I am a people person, and I try to make sure I honor and respect everyone as a unique individual. I am always open to suggestions and new ideas.