Carolyn Streicher — DOROT Westchester Friendly Visitor
DOROT volunteer since: My volunteer work with DOROT began in May, 2006.
How did you get involved with DOROT?
After retiring from my professional career, I felt I now had the time “to give back to the community” as so many of us would like to do. I had learned from a friend who worked with seniors about the wonderful opportunity that DOROT provided.
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
Since the beginning, I have been a Friendly Visitor on a weekly basis to two homebound seniors at their respective residences. I visited with them for an hour (sometimes two) a week until their deaths. One died just recently at the age of 91 and the other a few months ago, at the age of 102. Both remained mentally alert and engaged until their deaths.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
In the course of over six years, I became very close to the two women I visited and also to their daughters. I spoke at the 100th birthday party for one, and sadly, two years later at her funeral. I have no doubt that their daughters and I will remain in contact. My weekly visits were extremely important to the two seniors and they looked forward to seeing me. This was apparent from the warmth of their greetings at the door and their concern when either of us had to change the date or even the time of a visit. I had not, however, expected how important this volunteer service would become to me. We became good friends. We talked about everything. We shared the events of our lives — the highs and the lows. What’s more, I became much more aware of and attuned to the daily life and issues which seniors, even those with family, constantly face — personal, medical, emotional and financial.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
DOROT affords me the opportunity to enrich my own life while doing important work for homebound seniors.
Most memorable volunteer moment?
The most memorable moment for me was at the gathering of family and neighbors at the 100th birthday party of one of the women. When I was looking down from the podium at which I spoke, I became so aware that she (and all seniors) was not to be seen as a person in isolation, but as part of the community.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
I would recommend volunteer service with DOROT to anyone who wants to do important and “hands–on” work with seniors. This is a volunteer service which can provide as much satisfaction and enjoyment to the provider as the recipient.
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