Lori’s Hands is a grassroots, community health service learning organization founded at the University of Delaware in 2009. Founder Sarah LaFave named the organization in memory of her mother, Lori, who died in 2003 from breast cancer. Lori’s Hands connects college student volunteers with people in their communities who have chronic illnesses. Students provide in-home assistance (grocery shopping, yard work, light cleaning) and, in turn, these community members teach the students about the human experience of chronic illness. Lori’s Hands provides relief to patients during difficult times, and helps future professionals become more aware of the every day challenges that come with illness.
The Lori's Hands volunteer experience is now part of a service learning course at the University of Delaware. In the
classroom, students learn about chronic illness from a wide range of
interdisciplinary perspectives. Topics include public policy, the economic
burden of healthcare in America, Caregiver Role Strain, and a patient's own
sense of identity. In addition, students are required to make a weekly
volunteer visit to a client with an illness such as cancer, Parkinson's, COPD,
ALS, or MS. The course offers a unique opportunity for students to fill a gap in the community and provide a much needed service for patients, while also gaining knowledge and experiences that will better prepare them for future careers in human services, healthcare, or public policy.
Lori's Hands is ready to grow beyond the UD campus! The $50,000 raised through this campaign will allow us to hire our first paid staff person who will support students and faculty at other campuses who want to start chapters. We have received dozens of calls and emails from people who want help founding Lori's Hands at their schools. We want to offer our streamlined processes and years of experience to these eager individuals so that their chapters can be successful. One full-time staff person could support fifteen or more chapters, enabling Lori's Hands to reach hundreds of patients who need support, instead of dozens, and to impact thousands of students instead of hundreds.