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Hospice awards scholarships to two teen volunteers

Hinsdale – Adventist St. Thomas Hospice awarded a pair of $500 scholarships to two stellar teen volunteers who unselfishly gave of their time to serve others.

 Over the last three years, Caitlin Salach, a senior at Hinsdale Central High School and a Hinsdale resident, and Hunyah Basathia, a senior at Hinsdale South High School and a Burr Ridge resident, worked a combined total of 300 service hours.

Both girls have also worked one week each summer at Tommy’s Kids Summer Camp, a children’s bereavement day camp. For their service the girls earned the Theresa Rollheiser Memorial Scholarships at the hospice’s annual volunteer banquet, held April 21 at the LaGrange Country Club.

“We chose these girls because they are the gold standard when it comes to volunteers,” said Heather Kochen, hospice youth coordinator. “Their communication style and sense of self is beyond their ages. They interact very well with all the populations we serve with very little guidance.” Salach said she is proud to have made a difference in the lives of others. “I’ve met some really incredible people who were going through very fragile times in their lives and they’ve taught me some incredible lessons,” Salach said. “I’ve learned how to help people feel better in different situations and that even a smile can make someone’s day.”

She plans to attend Marquette University in Wisconsin, where she will study communications and psychology. Salach hopes to one day work in the advertising field for a non-profit organization. Basathia called volunteering at the bereavement camp a “rewarding experience.” “I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of things in my life that I have – like my family – because there are kids who don’t have them,” Basathia said. “I’ve never had to deal with the loss of an immediate relative, but I realize now how difficult it would be.”

She is undecided of her major when she attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall, but is leaning toward a teaching degree. Basathia hopes to be the type of educator who inspires students to make right choices. Both Salach and Basathia wish to volunteer with the Peace Corps.

The late Adventist St. Thomas Hospice volunteer Bob Rollheiser created the scholarship in honor of his wife, Theresa, in appreciation for the care she received from the staff and volunteers of the hospice program. Adventist St. Thomas Hospice, 8230 S. Madison, Burr Ridge, is part of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Certified by Medicare and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, Adventist St. Thomas Hospice serves patients and families in DuPage, eastern Kane, northern Will and western Cook counties. To volunteer or for more information, call (630) 856-6990.