Claudia Deutsch — Occasional Volunteer Corps.
DOROT volunteer since: 1978 or so (I’m now 64, but nowhere near ready to switch from volunteer to client!)
How did you get involved with DOROT?
At this point, I can’t remember. I just know that I have always had an affinity for old people — perhaps because my dad was 45 when I was born, and we used to visit my grandma every week until she died at age 87.
What type of volunteer activities do you do?
I used to be a Friendly Visitor. These days I do package deliveries, birthday visits, and whatever sundry job that I seem qualified for (e.g., I helped a blind man my age pack up for a move to Brooklyn, it gave us a chance to reminisce about being 1960s hippies. I’m a retired newspaper reporter, so I also helped a woman write her memoirs by interviewing her and then writing the results as an as-told-to piece).
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
It keeps me young, since almost everyone I help is older than me. It makes me miss my parents less. And it helps me feel less guilty about not pursuing a second career after retirement.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
I feel that my volunteer work has a positive impact on the lives of the seniors, so it makes me feel good about myself. So almost by definition, volunteering with DOROT has a positive impact on my life as well.
Most memorable volunteer moment?
Helping to host a Thanksgiving dinner, dancing with a lovely man who uses a cane, having him tell me I made him feel young and dapper again. For some reason, that just touched me.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
That the appreciation you receive from the clients is way disproportionate to the work involved in helping them out. I always feel I should somehow be working harder for that kind of gratitude!
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