Volunteer Spotlight – Amy Manning
January 6, 2023
Meet Amy Manning
Wings: Tell us a little about yourself.
Amy: I’m 45 years old and the mother of 2 amazing daughters aged 13 and 18. I’ve been married to my amazing and supportive husband for 20 years. I grew up in a small town in southwest Ohio…Michigan fans I am an OSU fan! I enjoy a good sense of humor of which was passed down from my father’s side of the family. My paternal grandparents are from the Holland, MI area so moving up to Michigan 5 years ago felt a bit like coming home. I earned my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from University of Dayton and Miami University. Being a stay-at-home-mother for 18 years is where I exercised my teaching skills and I’m incredibly grateful for the joy that role has brought to my life. Four years ago I trained and received certification as an End-of-Life Doula and now practice with Wings in that role which has been an absolutely incredible experience. I truly love to serve my community and people.
Wings: How long have you been volunteering with Wings Of Hope?
Amy: I have been volunteering for Wings Of Hope since 2021.
Wings: How did you get started?
Amy: After earning my certification as an End-of-Life Doula through Lifespan Doulas in Ann Arbor, MI, I wasn’t sure where to apply my new skillset. Remembering the care of grief counseling I received from Hospice after my father passed and the suggestion from Lifespan Doulas to volunteer with Hospice started me on a path of seeking out a local hospice to serve my community.
Wings: What motivates you to serve with Wings?
Amy: I have experienced many losses in my life. My twin passed when we were 16. My artistic and incredibly funny uncle passed away shortly after my dad, which was around the time my family experienced the death of many family members within 2 years of each other. Then when my father passed unexpectedly in 2013, my experience and relationship with death and grief challenged my point-of-view on how our culture is in relationship with death and grief. Seeking understanding led me to training to become an End-Of-Life Doula. After attending a Death Cafe at Wings of Hope, I chose to pursue volunteering with their organization because Wings just felt absolutely right for me. Wings of Hope is an amazing place with loving and compassionate people.
Wings: What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with Wings?
Amy: My favorite thing is the people I serve. It is such an honor. The joy of hearing other people’s stories is…well, there are no words to describe it. We all are here on this incredible planet with our stories and our suffering. Serving strengthens my spiritual journey and my faith in humanity. Ram Dass says, “We’re all just walking each other home,” and living that quote has enriched my life beyond words.
My other favorite thing is the people who work for Wings. I have learned so much from the care teams, employees and chaplain. The compassion and love the teams have beyond judgment is remarkable and admirable. It’s an honor to be among the people at Wings.
Wings: What would you say to someone who is thinking of volunteering?
Amy: For me, I really needed to search myself as to why I was truly choosing the role to volunteer with people who are dying and their families. It’s a role that is in service to others where I check myself before entering the role as it is not about me. Honing my compassionate listening skills and leaving myself out of the scene is key. If you choose to volunteer, be prepared to be challenged and changed.
Wings: What is your favorite Wings memory?
Amy: My favorite memory was walking with the chaplain one day. We visited an elderly woman in a nursing home who was going to pass soon. It was one of my first experiences volunteering. This woman was full of joy and unafraid of her journey quickly approaching. I watched as the Chaplain held her hand and they shared in singing a hymn together and a prayer. The comfort of his touch, the soothing quality of a shared song together, the looks of compassion and love between the two almost strangers…it reminded me why I chose the role. I’m not sure how long she lived beyond that day. But the human connection, the joy between two seemingly strangers but a shared humanity, it is something that will forever be in my heart and mind.