Ellen Goldwyn — Intergenerational Programs
DOROT volunteer since: About 2004
How did you get involved with DOROT?
I had a neighbor who was on the board at DOROT and he knew that I was involved with computers. At the time, DOROT was starting a program geared towards educating seniors in using computers. This program offered a natural fit for me because I really feel like the elderly have been lost in the age of computers. DOROT provided a venue for reaching out to seniors and bringing them into the twenty–first century.
What type of volunteer activities do you do?
I have been primarily involved in computer tutoring programs that match middle and high school students with seniors. Recently, I’ve participated in running orientations at PS 84, The iSchool, as well as The Heschel School.
In addition to facilitating intergenerational interaction, I run an ongoing digital photography workshop/interest group with a small group of seniors. I instruct the seniors in digital photography and enjoy visits to museums with them.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
Volunteering at DOROT has impacted my life in so many ways. I just love being there. Seeing how enthusiastic the seniors are has really enriched my life. Getting to know the seniors and witnessing their excitement in getting to know the students and watching the students respond with equal excitement is incredible. I always wanted to be able to give back and once I retired, I thought “What do I do now?” DOROT has answered that question. It gives me a purpose.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
The programs I am involved in are ongoing. But mostly, it is just an incredible feeling volunteering at DOROT. The staff and other volunteers are inclusive and encouraging. The women I have worked with are so enthusiastic and intelligent. I just really enjoy being a part of the DOROT family.
Most memorable volunteer moment?
Every time I introduce the kids to the seniors that they are going to tutor, I have the seniors stay and give me feedback. Their enthusiasm and response to the younger generation is incredible. Through the tutoring sessions, the seniors start to realize that the younger generation really does care and the students are genuinely interested in connecting with the older generation. When I see a similar response from the students, a realization as they interact with the seniors and really connect, this is the best part of it. It’s a two–way street. It keeps me coming back.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
The people at DOROT are just so welcoming and the environment to volunteer in is wonderful. They are inclusive and encouraging. The feedback from staff and other volunteers is one of appreciation. DOROT is a great place to volunteer because the staff is so accommodating and supportive.
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