Bethlehem Atoma: Dayton’s Bluff Seniors volunteer


Beth Atoma

I graduated with a BSN in Nursing in 2009 from Metro State University. I have worked as a nurse in a nursing home, group home, and hospital. Currently I work at Abbott Northwestern Hospital on a Neuro ICU floor. I also have a son, Galetta who is 3½ and a 2-year-old daughter, Nemona. I volunteer at my church, Ethiopian Evangelical Church in St. Paul and at Dayton’s Bluff Seniors LAH/BNP since 2008.

In fall 2008, I was finishing up my senior year. I vividly remember the compassion I felt toward a homeless man I met in Love Grows Here Wellness Center at First Lutheran Church.  He had very dirty, dry and cracked feet.  I felt immense internal satisfaction as I washed his feet. Right then, I decided to do more than one session of volunteer work. I joined the program at the Dayton’s Bluff Seniors and dedicated my time – regardless of my busy life – to continue serving the homeless and seniors. I now volunteer at two of the clinics: Wilson Hi-Rise & Parkway Gardens, which focuses on keeping seniors living at home as long as possible by providing health promotion and wellness services.

They say we “live to serve.” This may explain why I kept coming back to DBS; by helping others, I can fulfill my own destiny. At the end of each of my volunteer days, I go home knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life. It may be that elderly lady who can’t bend down to cut her toe nails. They grew until she couldn’t put her shoes on, so I cut them for her. It may be that person who needed to talk to someone just about anything because he had not talked to someone for so long, so I listened. When I do such things, something happens inside of me; I feel a sense of purpose which gives me the energy to keep coming back. It is holistic care; you touch the physical body and also the soul and the spirit. In return, your own soul is touched.

In addition to volunteering at DBS, Beth is a coordinator in Agape International Children and Family Support Center, a ministry that is founded by Ethiopian Evangelical Church Senior Pastor that helps 45 children and their families in Ethiopia by providing monthly basic necessities and educational supports.  Beth lives in Columbia Heights with her husband and two wonderful children.