Found in Translation

Vanderbilt Student Supports Spanish Speaking Families with Compassion…and Snacks!

Vanderbilt student Yahir Brito just started volunteering with Alive this year and is already making a huge difference for families in our Nashville residence. Yahir goes above and beyond as a companion at our Nashville residence every Thursday. He delivers snacks to patients and families and spends time with anyone who could use a little warmth and companionship.

He decided to do more and began donating to the snack cart. Not content to stop there, he went on to start a small non-profit on campus so his fellow Vandy students can participate with their own donations.

Yahir is also fluent in Spanish and immediately jumped in to help when we needed a translator during the admission of a Spanish-speaking family. He walked the family through each step of the admission process, even translating a prayer for the chaplain on duty. He stayed late to help the night shift with their assessment and returned for the entire next day to support the family.

“He is kind, gracious and so generous with his time. I was so grateful for his assistance, and you could see how much the patient’s wife appreciated him! He deserves a Big Shoutout and a WooHoo!,” Kimberly Watson, RN.

“I appreciate the times I can utilize my fluency in Spanish to help the patients because it shows Alive’s diversity. Patients see themselves represented.”
-Yahir Brito 

We caught up with Yahir to find out what motivates him to give back and how he got interested in hospice care at such a young age.

What got you interested in hospice care?

Growing up, my parents were always working; thus, my grandparents would watch me. As the years went on, and they got older, I decided to step up and learn how to care for them like they had for me. I would help by getting their medication, helping them use the bathroom and doing whatever was needed to prevent them from possibly hurting themselves. I did this up until the point where my grandfather passed. He taught me that there is beauty and sadness in life and death. I aim to do whatever I can to help others as they move on to the afterlife and simultaneously make my grandfather proud.

What is your favorite part of volunteering with Alive?

My favorite part of the experience is Alive’s loving and supportive staff. Hospice can be challenging, but everyone here is passionate about helping others and providing the best healthcare possible. Not only does this make the patients happy, but it also creates welcoming energy for everyone at the hospice. Moreover, I appreciate the times I can utilize my fluency in Spanish to help the patients because it shows Alive’s diversity. Patients see themselves represented.

One of the most pleasant surprises I encountered during my orientation at Alive was their unwavering commitment to providing equal treatment for all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. This commitment to ensuring a dignified end-of-life experience for everyone, regardless of their circumstances, is a testament to the values and integrity of Alive. It reaffirmed my belief that I had made the right choice in volunteering with this remarkable organization.

What do you want others to know who are considering volunteering with Alive?

I want everyone to know that volunteering at hospice requires a special kind of person who is willing to understand the many sides of life and death. Your role is to create the best end-of-life experience a volunteer can provide for the patient and their loved ones. Know that you, alongside the faculty and staff, are one unit made to work together and provide the best healthcare possible. A good volunteer will provide invaluable support and comfort during a challenging time through companionship, practical assistance, and empathetic presence.