Alana and Sammi, her first certified therapy dog, at work.
Alana and Sammi, her first certified therapy dog, at work.

Meet Alana Knoppow, a volunteer program manager with the Hospice of Michigan.

Alana Knoppow, 36, of Ann Abor was nominated by Hospice of Michigan (HOM) for her dedicated service to the organization as a volunteer program manager during and after her work hours.

“Alana has been an employee and a volunteer with the Hospice of Michigan for almost 10 years now,” said Alison Wagner, the statewide director of volunteer services and complementary therapies at Hospice of Michigan.

“Over the years, Alana volunteers with her pets with both our pediatric and adult patients and has really brought a lot of joy to patients with those visits.”

As the volunteer program manager, Knoppow specializes in bringing in volunteers to help meet the needs of patients while creating relationships between patients and volunteers.
“We’ve been able to line up volunteers to visit patients who share common interests and can bring joy to the patient,” Knoppow explains.

“Volunteers also have been with patients in their final moments — being there for them when other family couldn’t be present or maybe there wasn’t any. Our volunteers will sometimes be there for a patient, holding their hand and reminding them that they aren’t alone.”

One of the things Knoppow loves about being part of the HOM family is helping create those bonds and relationships between the volunteers, patients and their families.
“I’ve had instances where it’s only one family member or an elderly spouse, and they just want someone else to be there with them while their loved one is passing, and it’s been a really beautiful thing.”

When Knoppow isn’t working, she also spends time volunteering for the organization.
“I’ve been volunteering since 2015 as a pet volunteer and a musician. I get to share my second certified therapy dog, Albert, with patients since they can’t care for a pet themselves. To be able to bring one back into their life can change their whole day and their whole demeanor.”

Alana’s current pug, Albert.
Alana’s current pug, Albert.

Originally from Farmington Hills, Knoppow says she has always been connected to the Metro Detroit Jewish community.

“I used to sing for Jewish Senior Life in Oak Park and did therapy dog visits with Jewish Family Service and JARC,” Knoppow added.

The impact Knoppow makes throughout the community means so much to her, and she hopes to continue to inspire others through sharing her story and her work.

“I hope that people will be inspired and consider HOM as a volunteer opportunity. They can pursue and reach out to me to see if it’s a good fit or ask any questions, even if they’re just thinking about volunteering anywhere in any capacity.”

If you’d like to get involved and learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Hospice of Michigan, email Alana Knoppow at aknoppow@hom.org.

If you would like to nominate someone to be the next volunteer of the week, send a nomination with a short paragraph telling us why to rsweet@thejewishnews.com.

Previous articleSynagogue Spotlight: A Resort Town Synagogue
Next articleComfort from Beyond