Through volunteering with the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center Auxiliary, Lou Bareno sees firsthand how his efforts make a difference in the community. He has also been a recipient of the community education and outreach awards provided by the hospital and its volunteers.
When Bareno’s beloved wife, Maria, passed away in 2008, he felt uncertain about how he would spend his time without her. “I knew what it felt like to be in the hospital or to have a loved one who is sick, and I wanted to help people like I was helped,” he says. Bareno began volunteering at the hospital and later joined the Auxiliary board of directors as vice president for community outreach.
While volunteering at Sharp Chula Vista’s inaugural Changing Minds – Minds Matter South County Behavioral Health Resource Fair, Bareno attended a presentation by a local motivational speaker with bipolar disorder — a mental illness marked by severe mood swings.
Bareno was transfixed by the speaker’s message, having personally experienced the challenges of living with a relative who has bipolar disorder. He and his wife had struggled for years to understand their family member’s mental illness and now Bareno was finally learning both how to cope, as well as how to help his loved one.
“It truly impressed me how open the speaker was about his disorder,” says Bareno. “He talked about how to talk to our loved ones and, more importantly, how to listen to them. He told us never to give up. Like volunteering, his message gave me hope.”
Learn more about mental health services at Sharp HealthCare.