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DOROT: A History

DOROT was founded in 1976 by a group of Columbia University graduate students and alumni who were concerned about the plight of the homebound elderly “hidden” in apartment buildings on the Upper West Side. They banded together to locate and visit these frail, isolated men and women, delivering food and spending time in conversation. These young adults forged a loving bond between the generations, which is reflected in the name they chose: DOROT, the Hebrew word for “generations.”

From these beginnings arose a multi–service agency mobilizing thousands of volunteers of all ages and offering numerous services for the elderly. These include, in addition to our hallmark Friendly Visiting program, an innovative Homelessness Prevention Program; Kosher Meals for the Homebound; a yearly cycle of holiday food package deliveries; a Shop & Escort program; and University Without Walls, an adult education and support program linking homebound students throughout the metropolitan area via teleconference.

Many of the frail elders we serve have outlived or lost touch with their families and friends. DOROT is the only family they have. As the aging population in this country undergoes a period of unprecedented growth, more and more lonely seniors will need the kinds of services DOROT offers.

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