For HomeCare Hospice patients in Hattiesburg who needed a friendly face, there was no more reliable visitor and volunteer than Kenlynn Morgan, a junior social work major at Southern Miss.
The social work program requires students complete 40 hours of service, but Kenlynn far surpassed that during the fall semester – and she has continued to volunteer during the spring semester.
Dr. Laura Richard nominated Kenlynn for a top University service honor: “The (hospice) volunteer coordinator said Kenlynn was dependable, very impressive and loved by the clients she spent time with. Many times Kenlynn was the first person to visit with a client in months. Kenlynn went above and beyond for the patients she spent time with, giving much more time than the 40 volunteer hours required for the class.
“Kenlynn has a passion for social work. She is excelling (in class), and I think her volunteer experience plays a large part in that. Kenlynn is very deserving of this honor. Home Care Hospice agrees 100%.”
And this week, Kenlynn was honored by the Center for Community Engagement with the University’s 2018-19 Outstanding Service-Learning Student Award.
“I ended up loving it more than I thought,” she says of her volunteer experience. “If I had a bad day, I could go and make someone else’s day. There were people there who were just kind of forgotten about, but they’ve done a lot for our community.”
She says it was hard when patients she was visiting would pass away, particularly one whom she tried to visit during the December holiday break.
“I was actually in Hattiesburg and wanted to visit and tell her merry Christmas,” says Kenlynn, who is from Hickory, Mississippi. “She was a sleep so I decided I would come back that night. I went back and she had passed away during the day. It’s so hard. But she’s in a better place, out of misery.”
Kenlynn, who will graduate in December 2020, is interested in exploring a placement in a mental health facility like Pine Grove for her 450-hour internship this fall. She’s not sure what she wants to do when she graduates, but knows she will have “so many options. With social work, I feel like you have the ability to do so many different things, so why not? There’s not any one thing I just love yet … but I love it all.”