Erica Shein — Volunteer Services
How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?
How did you get involved with DOROT?
When my father died in 1995, I felt a void. I grew up in a home with my parents, sister and maternal grandfather. I missed a “father” figure and I missed someone close to me of a certain generation. I attended a local synagogue with my family for a DOROT information session and was hooked after the video! I felt it was a good idea to start as a family by participating in a Holiday Package Delivery at Chanukah. We went to visit an elderly woman named Hilda. I loved her immediately and found her in need of company. I asked to be her Friendly Visitor and we were matched.
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
I continue to be a Friendly Visitor, spending time every week with the same older adult. Each Tuesday, I lead Senior Café which engages elders in conversation about current events. I teach classes over the phone on University Without Walls, organize intergenerational programs with local schools, lead museum visits and escort frail elders when needed. I worked on the Days of Beauty program, which enables frail seniors an opportunity to go to the salon. I am a member of the Programming Committee and help with office work, too.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
It has made it so much richer. I feel needed and I strive to give as much joy as I receive.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
There are older adults who are bright, fun, and engaging with lots of free time who really like to be with people — I get a spark from helping them! I also love bringing teenagers and seniors together. It’s my passion.
Most memorable volunteer moment:
I think it was when the family of Hilda asked me to do the eulogy at her funeral. I was very honored and moved.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
It is a life changer. There is a tremendous need for volunteers and once you start, you want to do more and more. It is SO worth it. It is the best place to be. People are all warm and giving.
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