When Ramona Pierson was 22, she was hit by a drunk driver and spent 18 months in a coma. At TEDxDU she tells the remarkable story of her recovery -- drawing on the collective skills and wisdom of a senior citizens' home.Unable to see, walk, or speak. Senior citizens came to her rescue and slowly re-taught all of her life skills. Several masters and PhD's later, Ramona credits their personalized care as driving her passion for customized education in our schools.
See complete bio and all TEDxDU Talks at www.tedxdu.com.
Hi, Jean Robb here. Senior citizens are such a great resource . The knowledge they have for the jobs they once held is something really valuable. I hope that this story will encourage the seniors out there to think about sharing their remarkable gifts with others. Here's some ideas!
About VivianVivian Littlefield has always been passionate about nursing. After all, she served as the Dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing for 16 years, and was active in local, state and national roles related to health and health care. Then she was asked to serve on the Board of the Badger Red Cross Chapter in Madison, Wis. That was the beginning of a 25-year relationship that has reshaped the entire Red Cross organization and expanded Vivian's own impact beyond anything she would have imagined. When she joined the board of the Badger chapter, Vivian learned that the American Red Cross humanitarian mission matched her own professional commitment and professional preparation as a nurse: To save lives, promote health and safety, and respond to individual and family needs through service to communities. She was also intrigued by the importance that nursing played in the early development of the Red Cross, and how Red Cross nurses, including Jane Delano, Clara Noyes and Julia Stimson, played strategic roles in the development of American nursing. Vivian became the Chairperson of the Badger chapter board, and served on the State Service Council. She was also the volunteer chair of the chapter's Health and Safety Department. While the chapter was searching for a new Executive Director, Vivian stepped in to fill the interim role.
Volunteers and staff from around the area were deployed to ground zero, the neighboring New York Chapters and several points in-between to help with the overall American Red Cross response to the crisis. As increased numbers of people wanted to contribute blood, Vivian coordinated with blood services that depended on the Badger chapter for volunteer management. "I believe that I was able to lead in a challenging time," Vivian says. Vivian also served on the Regional Committee of the Red Cross and on the National Nursing Committee. Twelve years ago she became the National Chair of Nursing, a position that is over a century old. "The Red Cross at the local and national levels respected my background and experience," says Vivian. She felt that the work they gave her was important, and used her leadership skills and professional nursing experience
The Red Cross leadership heard them and their external supporters. Ten months later, they had a new Chief Nurse. When the new Chief Nurse, Sharon Stanley, arrived in March of 2009, they had a functioning State Nurse Liaison Network, an administrative home and a promise of funding for critical activities. "We had a base to build on," Vivian says. Today there is an infrastructure in place to support volunteer nurses across the country, a plan for the future of how nurses can assist in meeting corporate and business line goals in health related activities, and a strong National Nursing Committee with members who are advocates and advisors for what nurses can do to assist in meeting the mission of the Red Cross. "I feel good about where we are given the challenges," says Vivian. "But I know there are still challenges ahead." "Vivian has been the glue that has held the nursing function together while it went through some difficult reorganization," says Sharon Stanley. "Without her, nursing could not have revived in the way it did." Now Vivian is stepping down from her role as National Chair of Nursing. "I hope to be supportive of Red Cross and Nursing in the future, but believe it is time after 12 years to let others assume the major leadership roles," she says. She feels sad that she won't be as large a part of the next steps, connecting with so many colleagues daily. But there is also joy that there are talented leaders ready to step up and continue the mission. "I'll be in the cheering section!" she exclaims.
Volunteering with the American Red Cross allowed Vivian to continue her involvement in her profession of nursing post retirement, gave her new challenges, new learning and a lot of great colleagues. "Vivian was more than a volunteer for the Red Cross," says Sharon Stanley. "It was her full time job, but most of all, it was her full time mission. "Volunteering gives you new learning opportunities," Vivian says. "It brings you in contact with committed, interesting people and it allows you to give back and to use your past learning and experience." So to others she only has one thing to say: "VOLUNTEER!"
Vivian, we think that is excellent advice.
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