40 for 40: Steve Ruth’s Story

Hi– I’m Steve Ruth, Capital Caring volunteer since 2011. While I was going through the training cycle—in those days it was six once-per week evening sessions at Telestar Court—I worked at the Capital Caring store on Route 50, but after that I have been assigned to grief counseling, patient visits and other tasks—wonderful! But lately I’ve been able to collaborate with others on a different project, aimed at helping hospice volunteers everywhere, not just the DC area. In my regular job I am a professor and the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University, specializing in technology policy. I work on geek topics, and am director of a grant-supported center which has completed technology projects in 21 countries. https://icasit.gmu.edu/ We develop a lot of technology databases, so I asked one of my center’s interns, Monika Anic, if we could set up something that could be valuable for hospice volunteers everywhere, a data resource composed of the very newest and freshest materials from the Internet that had to do with hospice volunteering. The Capital Carrying volunteer director for Arlington and Hallquist,, Amylyn Verrone, was very helpful, suggesting about a dozen categories, like dementia, volunteering in a facility setting, death and dying, family dynamics and communication, Medicare Medicaid, etc. With the help of other Capital Caring staff and volunteers, Monika developed an initial list of about 150 articles, videos, reports and other features so that volunteers could find their area of interest with one click learn more about a variety of topics. Also, lists like this can be very helpful for management, since they highlight new material that may be of interest to staff—and volunteers.

We are going to make this resource available to all potential users–volunteers, staff, management — sometime in May, from the Schar School website. We have had some very good support and help from many sources, like Ms. Kristen Nanjundaram, Manager, Continuing Education, Hospice Foundation of America, in addition to Capital Caring’s Ms. Amylyn Verrone, Jen Sheppard Director of Education, Capital Caring & West Virginia Caring and Chip Cagle, Director of Chaplains.
Here’s a mini-sample of some of the material that we will be making available. Our aim is to double the size of this resource by sometime in the fall. My center will continue to maintain this resource – it’s a great learning experience for interns and also definitely can be of help to hospice volunteers. Incidentally, we have also done the same thing for jail volunteers, and a mini sample that resource is also attached.

Steve Ruth
Professor of Public Policy
Schar School of Policy and Government
George Mason University

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