Travis Beisheim

Community Companion

1) How did you get involved in PHC / Companionship?

In 2016 I was finishing my undergraduate science classes in preparation for medical school and finally had more time to expand my activities, and wanted to help out in the local mental health field. I started googling around and found a collection of volunteer organizations on one site based on their focuses. I found Plymouth among those listed and it sounded like a cool way I could get involved without having licensing or post-undergrad training. I sent out an email and met with Holly Bahnick to talk about the program over coffee, and when I heard about the companionship opportunities it sounded right up my alley. A few weeks later I sat down with Jacob, Holly and my participant for a casual chat. We  have gotten along great ever since. 

2) What inspires you to do this work?

I've always been interested in the mental health field and figuring out how I can fit into it, what I can do and what is rewarding to me. I'm inspired by small moments of gratitude when I hear from people I'm working with that my time means something to them, and that I made their day better even when it starts out rough. It's a very rewarding feeling when I feel I've made even a small difference to help someone through a difficult time.

3) What would you consider to be the most meaningful parts of your companionship experience? 

Sitting down with my participant and having a simple conversation where I know he will feel like anyone else at the coffee shop, and like any label he may have had loses its power just through sharing space.

4) Favorite memory (or memories) of companionship?

I mentioned off-hand to my participant that I come out from Issaquah one day, and the disbelief on his face that I would come out on a Sunday just to walk and sit and talk with him, and his gratitude at the end of our visit, is still a memory that warms my heart. He is always so grateful that I come out and its always a great feeling to hear someone be glad you came to keep them company. That makes me feel like, if nothing else I do that week matters to anyone, my coming out to spend time with him matters a lot to him.

5) If you could create one holiday, what would it be and why?

National Pizza Party day. My participant is overly thrilled about pizza parties and I hear often about the ones he is looking forward to with more excitement than I hear from most people about most parties they look forward to. I think if we had a National Pizza Party day we could all share in that kind of joy.

Kenneth Lam

Community Companion

1) How did you get involved in PHC/companionship?

Tripp Williams (my mentor at GT) introduced me to PHC during one of our 1:1s and encouraged me to get involved. I was very interested in getting involved in work that aims to combat the homelessness issue in Seattle and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take on the leadership role in kicking off a GT/PHC partnership.

2) What inspires you to do this work?

I do it because it its such a humbling experience and I am meeting people that I would never have gotten to know before. Because life is always moving a hundred miles a minute, I believe its important to slow down, take a few steps back, and look at the bigger picture of what’s happening in the Seattle area. I have a lot of pride in this city and I want to give back.

3) What would you consider to be the most meaningful parts of your companion experience?

The most meaningful moments are when people are genuinely having fun and enjoying the time we have together.

4) Favorite memories of companionship?

Playing Settlers of Catan with G-money, Bridget, Tripp, Caroline, and Prashant.

5) If you could create one holiday, what would it be and why?

Diversity Day (Multi-cultural day) – a day where people from all different cultures get together to celebrate with different foods, performances, etc.

Tripp Williams

Community Companion

1) How did you get involved in PHC Companionship? 

A friend and co-worker had been volunteering with PHC in 2016-2017. He passed away unexpectedly in July 2017, and to honor his memory a group of co-workers got together to develop a companionship program with PHC.

2) What inspires you to do the work?

The friend who inspired my involvement, Shaun Maurer, shared with me multiple times how frustrated he was that people don’t recognize the humanity in each other often enough, especially the humanity in people who have struggled through difficult times. His perspective resonated with me and I stay involved to share a smile with residents and extend to them the dignity they deserve as people.

3) What would you consider to be the most meaningful parts of your companionship experience?

I’ve had genuinely good times with residents playing games, listening to stories, sharing laughs, and sharing meals. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know fellow volunteers- in our case, co-workers were able to connect and get to know each other differently than we had at work. I also enjoyed learning new games!

4) Favorite memory or memories in companionship?

Residents jumping into games with us, and joking with us as they did well and we did poorly. One game in particular ended with a victorious resident, and he was happy to remind the volunteer who had introduced the game that he (the resident) had won.

5) If you could create one holiday, what would it be and why?

I would create spring day, celebrating the arrival of spring. I’ve come to enjoy the growth and rejuvenation that spring brings, and would welcome the chance to officially enjoy it with friends and family!