Teralyn Hodge, Suncoast Hospice Volunteer
BY KAREN DAVIS-PRITCHETT, Empath Health Vice President of Access & Inclusion
ST. PETERSBURG — Teralyn Hodge knows all about serving her community. A retired Pinellas County teacher, charter member of the local chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, bible teacher, and church outreach worker, she has dedicated most of her life to the principle of giving back.
Sometimes, opportunities for volunteerism show up in unexpected places. In 2000, Hodge’s father became ill and was admitted to Suncoast Hospice, a member of Empath Health. It was a new experience for her entire family.
“Suncoast Hospice provided excellent care to my father during his illness and comfort to my family when he transitioned,” explained Hodge. “I had never experienced anything like it in my life. Everyone on his team was compassionate while my father received care at home in his own bed.”
The experience made a profound impact on Hodge. As a result, she made a personal commitment to become a volunteer for the organization that was so attentive to her family.
In 2014, she started as a bereavement caller, making check-in phone calls to families after losing a loved one in the care of Suncoast Hospice. Each family receives a call every three months for up to a year. Volunteers follow up with multiple families and can make calls from their own homes.
In addition to providing a caring ear for families, Hodge serves on the Empath Health Family Advisory Committee. This group provides valuable insight and information to Empath Health leaders to ensure families receive expert and compassionate care.
“The best part of volunteering is offering hope to those who have lost a loved one and to recommend improvements for services provided to all Suncoast Hospice families from community and personal experiences,” said Hodge.
Hodge shares her passion for volunteering with others as the founder and president of the Naomi Titus2 Covenant Alliance, Inc. (NT2CA), an organization dedicated to encouraging women to give back to their community. Through volunteerism, NT2CA supports community organizations that help women, youth, and families. With the support and encouragement of Hodge, 10 members are volunteering in various areas across Empath Health.
Hodge has continued to volunteer faithfully throughout the pandemic, making bereavement calls from home and participating in Zoom meetings for the Empath Health Family Advisory Committee.
“If you have one to two hours a week or some time monthly, volunteer opportunities are waiting for you,” Hodge added. “Empath Health provides all the training and support you need. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
For more information on volunteer opportunities and other ways to get involved, visit EmpathHealth.org/Volunteer.