Dedicated to the Elderly and Community — DOROT Staff Thrives
DOROT hosted an event honoring the long–standing service and dedication of staff members. “The organization hosts periodic milestone celebrations to recognize and thank these individuals who have dedicated themselves to improving the quality of life of the seniors in the community,” said Mark Meridy, Executive Director of DOROT. The recent celebration honored three employees — one who has been with the agency for 25 years, and two who have each been with the agency for 20 years. Almost 40% of all 65 employees have worked for DOROT for more than 10 years, and a remarkable 15 of those have remained with the organization for over two decades.
Many of DOROT’s employees are licensed social workers who gain crucial experience with the elderly through the agency’s individualized approach to serving seniors. Their ongoing involvement with older adults, volunteers and other professionals in the community provides a sense of continuity that keeps them connected to DOROT.
Judy Ribnick, Director of Community Services, will celebrate her 30th anniversary with DOROT in 2014. Reflecting on the event, she said, “From the minute I walked into DOROT when I was a graduating social work student in 1984, I felt that DOROT would be an exciting place to work. DOROT’s mission — helping “hidden” seniors by utilizing volunteers with the support of professional staff seemed like a wonderful arrangement for everyone and, (almost) 30 years later, I still feel the same way. I believe strongly in what we are doing, and feel privileged and honored to work with wonderful seniors, fantastic volunteers, and amazing staff who feel similarly. I am glad for the opportunity to have watched DOROT evolve over the years, and to be a part of its — and my own — continued growth. I look forward to many more productive and satisfying years together.”
DOROT was founded by Columbia graduate students who wanted to engage “hidden” seniors and remind them that they were valued members of the community. They realized the enormous potential of friendships between the young and old. DOROT means “generations” in Hebrew — and that is what the agency’s founding principle is — to provide meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships that span the generations.
Sara Peller, Associate Executive Director of Programs for DOROT and an over 25 year employee, said, “DOROT’s unique approach provides a positive working environment while making a real impact on the lives of seniors and volunteers of all ages. The connections made professionally and personally are highly rewarding and keep people involved. In my early days with DOROT, I helped to place homeless elderly in permanent, affordable housing. It’s such a great feeling to see some of them in the neighborhood, living as members of the community, and knowing that our work has made such a difference in their lives. The seniors we serve also give back to the volunteers and staff — DOROT is a real intergenerational community.”