Monday, July 30, 2012
'The Vampire Diaries' Star Torrey Devitto on Her Volunteer Work with Hospice (Interview)
Interview by Sarah Davis
Torrey Devitto is mostly known for her work in popular television shows like Pretty Little Liars and more recently, The Vampire Diaries, but when she's not acting, did you know that she is a dedicated hospice advocate? She has been an active volunteer in hospice for over four years and in 2011, she became the very first Hospice Ambassador for the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Torrey was kind enough to take a break from filming The Vampire Diaries to answer a few questions on why she is so passionate about this cause!
Style & Wisdom: Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement with the National Hospice Organization?
Torrey: I started volunteering with Hospice about 5 years ago. From the beginning, I knew that what I was doing was something I was meant to do. My involvement with Hospice will always be a part of my life. I was unaware of Hospice before I started looking into volunteer work. The more I got involved, the more I started realizing how many people don't really understand what an incredible organization Hospice is. That's when I reached out to NHPCO; I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to bring more attention to this organization. It was my understanding that they never had a spokesperson and I wanted to be that person. Everyone is so aware of volunteering at children's hospitals or in animal shelters, I wanted to help get Hospice on that list too.
S&W: We have to ask- do you think people often neglect the idea of how important hospice care is because it scares them? Death is the number 1 fear that people have in life. Do you think the stigma of death often gets attached to hospice care?
Torrey: When I first started volunteering, my Mom had a similar reaction. She really didn't want me to do it. She said, "Don't you think you are too young to be able to handle caring for people who are dying?" But after observing what I did for so many years, it totally changed her viewpoint about Hospice. My Mom is a volunteer now and calls me every day expressing how much she LOVES being a part of this beautiful foundation. I feel like if most people would just spend some time volunteering, it would assuage all their fears and it be more fulfilling than they can even imagine.
S&W: Why did you feel the need to spread awareness for this cause among young people?
Torrey: Death is the one thing in our life that is guaranteed. It has made me appreciate every day even more now. I think it could change young people's lives. Every young person that I have talked to that volunteers for Hospice has had their life change in a positive way.
S&W: Along with being an actor comes being a role model, which you do well. Who has been the biggest role model for you?
Torrey: I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to grow up with lots of great role models around me. I have very strong amazing women in my family that I look up to in awe daily. My grandmothers and my mother are 3 of the most incredible women I have ever met. Both my parents always raised me with strong morals and values, love and respect. I am always asking them for advice. Even still, after 28 years, they never seem to let me down with their words of encouragement and wisdom. They set such good examples and laid down such an incredible road map for me to follow as a child. I am forever indebted to them. Giving back is such a huge part of who they are and always were.
S&W: What are your personal words of wisdom?
Torrey: Never judge your own path or journey through life. Stay present and trust yourself. Always speak, live and breathe your own personal truth.
S&W: You volunteered at the Mission Hospice Glendale, California for many years before becoming the Hospice Ambassador- were there any experiences that changed your life?
Torrey: Yes. I still volunteer through Mission Hospice whenever I am home. Every single time I volunteer, a new life changing experience happens. Every person I meet and with every story they want to share with me, forever changes my life.
S&W: How can we get involved?!
Torrey: You can go online to www.caringinfo.org and look up a phone number for your local Hospice. They are always looking for volunteers and would have all the information you need to get started. It's so easy!
Click here to purchase a t-shirt designed by Torrey for the NHPCO (all proceeds go directly to the organization.)
Image Credit: Zimbio