The Power of Volunteering – Talia Rivas

My name is Talia Rivas, and I’m a senior at the University of Houston Downtown. My bachelor’s degree requires that I complete 120 hours of Field Experience, and I’ve completed them at the Alzheimer’s Association.

I’ve known since I was 18 that I wanted to help the elderly, as much as I can. My love and devotion to do this developed, when I was working at a nursing home, simply doing administrative work. I knew that we needed to help our elders more by making them feel loved and special. I saw too many families struggling to communicate with their loved ones with Alzheimer’s. The confused and stressed faces that I saw from the patients with Alzheimer’s was enough for me to know that I needed to find a way to help. So, I wanted to make my internship as rewarding as possible. I had two main goals that I was looking for in places where I could possibly do my Field Experience hours at, which were: a place where I could help make a difference in the elderly community, and learn more about things that play a big role in our elderly community.

Sofia Palacios (Left) and Talia Rivas (Right)

The University of Houston – Downtown has a list of places where students can possibly do their internship at, and the Alzheimer’s Association was the place that intrigued me the most. I did plenty of research on the association and knew that this organization would help me meet my goals. I love the fact that the Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, and its commitment to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and ultimately, a cure.

I was accepted to be a Diversity & Inclusion intern under the supervision of Pablo Panta, who is the Latino Outreach Coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association. I’m bilingual, so I wanted to learn more about what the association does to help families that English isn’t their first language. I thought about my Salvadoran American grandma that sometimes feels lost when trying to communicate with someone about her medications since English isn’t her first language. Pablo Panta reached out to many churches from different areas and contacted their Hispanic ministry coordinator to see if they would be interested in having us educate their congregation about the Alzheimer’s disease. I think this is such an important thing to do at every church since it gains awareness, educates people about the disease which helps them understand their loved ones with the disease better, and it helps them know how they can help in finding a cure.

Truth is, there are still many families that aren’t aware of all the resources the Alzheimer’s Association offers, and how these resources can minimize their stress levels when it comes to having a loved one with the disease.

Now, I’m writing this blog to tell YOU that the Alzheimer’s Association needs your help. Help the Alzheimer’s Association by volunteering, or being an intern at the association. I witnessed every extra hand being appreciated, and used in the most efficient way. You too can have a rewarding experience. I learned how I can reach out to others to educate them about the disease and inform them about the free services available to those that have been affected by memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Pablo Panta

Pablo Panta received his Bachelors of Science in Public Health from Lamar University in May of 2015. Pablo joined the Alzheimer’s Association in June of 2015. He believes in the mission and wants a world without Alzheimer’s.

Pablo Panta se graduó de la Universidad de Lamar en Mayo del 2015 con su Bachelors de Ciencias en Salud Publica. Ahora trabaja para la Alzheimer’s Association como nuestro coordinador de alcance Latino. El cree en nuestra misión y quiere un mundo sin Alzheimer.