Volunteer Highlight: Anna Pulido
I first learned about B.R.A.I.N. when I attended a seminar at California State University, Fullerton in April of 2017. Danielle and Lynn represented B.R.A.I.N. by explaining what the organization was about and they invited students to become volunteers. Three things drew me towards volunteering for B.R.A.I.N. First, I found out that B.R.A.I.N. is literally down the street from where I currently live. Secondly, I am studying to become a speech pathologist, so I thought that volunteering would give me insight on working with adults who struggle with speech and language. Lastly, I thought of my mother and her problems with speech, language, and memory.
My mother had suffered from dementia for about 10 years at the time when I began volunteering for B.R.A.I.N. Anyone who knows about or has cared for someone with dementia finds that it consists of symptoms that get worse over time. There is no cure and no definite cause as to why it happens. Above all, there is no hope for recovery. The months and years slowly took away pieces of my mother that made her who she was. My mother passed away on June 29, 2017.
I began volunteering in May of 2017 during F.B.I. and discovered that B.R.A.I.N. was such a special place for many reasons. Everyone is so kind. The theme for F.B.I. meetings is always positive and up-lifting. I began hearing different stories from caregivers and survivors that I could relate to on so many levels. Only caregivers and survivors understand what it means to feel and experience loss. At the same time, they are the best at perseverance. B.R.A.I.N. is a place where they can face their losses and channel it into hope. That hope comes in small victories, such as taking their first step, producing their first utterance, or simply being able to flip on a light switch. It is a different kind of hope that I could not feel in my situation as a caregiver. This is why I love coming to F.B.I. nights. Everyone is there to provide support for each other in the forms of words, actions, and resources. Each victory is celebrated.