Volunteer Spotlight: Laura
Welcome back to the blog! This week, we are hearing from Laura, a Letters Against Isolation volunteer. In her blogpost, Laura writes about what she's been up to during the pandemic, and how she heard about LAI!
My name is Laura and I work in technical theatre in Alabama. When theatres closed down at the beginning of the pandemic, I was working hard to fill my time with a few different projects. In the biggest project, which I call The Great Photo Project, I have taken all my family’s old photos and scanned them to have a digital copy of each one. I started it out thinking it would take me a few weeks but the more I found pictures in nooks and crannies of my parent’s home, the photo project has taken on a life of its own. After months of working on this project, I have taken on the photos that go back generations as well. These have been the most rewarding, as I can see special pictures like when my grandmother was very small (in which I think she looks exactly like my aunt) or pictures of my other grandparents and their siblings right around the time they were married (with my grandfather in his uniform during WWII). Through studying these pictures, I feel a new connection to the family I have only known through the narrow lens of my experiences, or have never had the change to know at all. What started out as a small project to organize some old photos, has turned into a project I know I will work to keep up to date for the rest of my life.
In a similar vein, when I first heard of Letters Against Isolation, I thought it sounded like a good way to fill my extra free time, but it has also grown into something I had not expected. I have always loved making cards and writing letters. I make cards for my family and friends regularly, but I’ve found when I try to come up with new designs for cards or other paper craft, I don’t have the drive unless I’m making them for a specific person in mind. With LAI, I may not know the specific person, but I know my cards are going to someone who will appreciate them. Over the months of volunteering for LAI, I have found ways to streamline some of my favorite designs for when I’m busy and have the change to come up with new designs when I have more free time.
Since we live in a mostly digital world, I do not keep up with letter writing the way I would sometimes like to. I have one friend in another state who we keep up primarily through letters, and a handful of other friends that write to each other sporadically, but not continuously. When writing letters, I believe there is a much greater connection to the person you’re writing to. Maybe it’s the physical paper that I write on, or maybe it’s the time it takes to write out a letter and physically take it to the post office, but this is what I find writing for Letters of Isolation to be about. While we don’t hear back from the people we write to, I hope that in some way, they people who get my letters feel a connection. I hope they know that someone is thinking about them and is wishing them well.
In my letters, I usually write about the projects I’m working on. As it is my biggest project, my favorite project to write about is The Great Photo Project. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of photos from my grandmother. For those who receive my letters, I like to imagine that they take a chance to look at the photos they have, like I know my grandmother does when I return her photos to her.
I love writing for LAI and look forward to writing more letters for the seniors who may need a friend!
Thank you Laura for sharing your story with the LAI community!
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