2019 SCHA Awards
Volunteer Hero - People's Choice

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Catherine Aaronson Catherine Aaronson

Catherine Aaronson

Position: volunteer

Organization: Cura-HPC


List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Cura Hospice (Cura-HPC) volunteer; Eucharistic Minister for the homebound and elderly for Holy Cross Catholic Church

Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
At merely twenty-one years of age, University of Tulsa student Catherine Aaronson knows more about senior care than many will experience in their lifetime. Catherine’s grandmother on her mother’s side experienced detrimental abuse and neglect at the hands of her nursing home caregivers. Additionally, her grandmother on her father’s side also suffered abuse, and she ended up dying from it. With both grandmothers, Catherine helped care for them when alleged professionals failed her family; whether it be at rehabilitation centers or at home, Catherine and her mother would take care of both women. Catherine dedicated time after school, before school, and during the summer to help care for her grandmothers, including aid with physical therapy, mental therapy, food, medicine, fluids, social interaction, laundry, cleaning, and with showering and grooming.

At the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Catherine dedicated a semester-long research paper to elder abuse, seeing if she could track the fall from grace over time by studying literature, film, photography, and pop culture from the 1900s to present day. Based on her findings, Catherine wrote and gave a fifteen-minute TEDx Talk on March 16th of last year titled “Abuse Hurts at Any Age,” regarding elder abuse awareness, to an audience of over 400 peers, faculty, and Tulsa community members. A transcript of the Talk was published in The Black Wall Street Times [link: https://theblackwallsttimes.com/2018/07/23/abuse-hurts-at-any-age/].

Ever since her sophomore year of high school, when Catherine is home in Kansas City, Missouri, she delivers holy communion to the homebound and nursing home elderly of her city. Since moving to Tulsa, she volunteers with Cura Hospice (Cura-HPC) every week and visits patients in hospice—painting their nails, reading to them, and learning from the stories they share—in addition to her university studies in biology, chemistry, and creative writing.

Catherine Aaronson is a girl with hair as big as her heart, and I truly believe she is most deserving of the Volunteer Hero title.