KCH Volunteers Are Amazing…and They’re Getting Younger!

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By:  Melissa Basgall, KCH Director of Volunteer Services
Published:  April 17, 2024

As we welcome April and the awakening of spring, we also embrace the opportunity to celebrate National Volunteer Month—a time of special significance for our organization. We’re delighted to honor the invaluable contributions of those who embody the spirit of service and compassion.

My Own Journey: Age 14, A Young Hospice Volunteer

Reflecting on the diverse areas within our organization that hospice volunteers serve, I’m reminded of my journey as a hospice volunteer. At 14, I embarked on a path that profoundly shaped my perspective on life and service. Inspired by my mother, a dedicated hospice social worker, I began volunteering at Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care. This decision ignited my own passion for hospice care. It set me on a lifelong course of service.

In my first hospice volunteer role, I offered cheerful visits to patients in long-term care settings, engaging in activities like polishing nails, folding socks, building puzzles, and bird-watching. This role laid the foundation of my understanding of hospice care—a philosophy rooted in dignity, compassion, and support. 

As I matured, I transitioned into administrative volunteering, assisting with quality monitoring and family surveys in the office. Through these experiences, I gained a deeper appreciation for the multifaceted nature of hospice care. 

I came to understand and appreciate the pivotal role volunteers play, even behind the scenes.

Introducing Our KCH Program for Young Volunteers

This spring marks a significant milestone as Kansas City Hospice unveils a new volunteer program tailored for teens and young adults: Team Pajamas! Spearheaded by Emmy Kenzer, an honor roll University of Kansas practicum student volunteer, in collaboration with our exceptional staff, Team Pajamas offers a unique opportunity for people ages 16 and older to contribute to our hospice house care setting during the evenings.

Team Pajamas volunteers will provide compassionate support by ensuring families are comfortably “tucked in” for the night. They’ll offer a selection of items such as pillows, earplugs, herbal tea, books, and other comfort items.

Fourteen year old Melissa would have loved this program.

My hope is that through this program we can inspire the next generation to understand and embrace the value of hospice care. We’re hoping to ignite a passion for service and community engagement, similar to that which guided me to a lifelong career in hospice. 

Help Spread the Good Word

I encourage you all to join me in spreading the word about this exciting new opportunity for young people ages 16 and older. Click here to review the Team Pajamas informational flyer.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for updates and share this opportunity with your network. Contact me, Melissa Basgall, at mbasgall@KCHospice.org with any questions. 

Complete a Team Pajamas application to serve Kansas City Hospice House here.

Complete a Team Pajamas application to serve NorthCare Hospice House here.

As we honor National Volunteer Month, let’s unite to celebrate the incredible contributions of all of our more than 300 volunteers, illuminating Kansas City Hospice with their light, warmth, and unwavering dedication.

Team Pajamas Informational Flyer


Learn more about Emmy:

Emmy Kenzer

KCH practicum student Emmy Kenzer is a senior at the University of Kansas. Emmy is majoring in Applied Behavioral Science with a minor in Psychology, and is on the pre-med track. Her final requirement before graduation is the completion of a practicum, dedicating more than 300 hours of service to an organization. Emmy was excited to choose KCH to complete this requirement. She helped plan, organize and launch Team Pajamas alongside KCH staff. After graduation, Emmy plans to take a gap year and then attend medical school.


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