Isabel Genn and Ally Hodder - Next Generation, DOROT’s Teen Leadership Council, Co-Presidents
How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?
Isabel: I have been a volunteer since the summer of 2015 when I was a teen intern.
Ally: I’ve been volunteering for a little over two years.
How did you get involved with DOROT?
Isabel: I got involved when my mom recommended DOROT to me as a good summer opportunity. I went for an interview and I got into the internship program, and I fell in love with it and have been heavily involved ever since.
Ally: My 98-year-old great grandmother had received friendly visits and holiday packages from DOROT for the past few years and would always talk about the teen volunteers. I eventually looked online and found the Summer Teen Internship, which I ended up participating in that summer.
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
Isabel: I am a school-year intern. I make friendly visits to the same senior each week. I am also the co-president of the Next Generation Teen Council, which is a program for teens who want to be more active participators in DOROT. We have meetings as a group and we also volunteer at package deliveries, the Thanksgiving Banquet and various other events throughout the year like baking for HPP (Homeless Prevention Program) and spreading the word about DOROT at Winter’s Eve.
Ally: I am currently a co-president of the DOROT Next Generation Teen Council, which is a group of committed teen volunteers that lead package delivery orientations, learn leadership and team-building skills, and partake in various volunteer services for DOROT throughout the year. In addition to participating, I coordinate and plan council meetings throughout the year.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
Isabel: I get attached to the seniors that I visit and I love hearing their life experiences and (sometimes) crazy stories. I feel that their experiences offer me a different perspective that I would not otherwise have gained as a 16 year old. It is a unique opportunity that most teenagers do not have access to.
Ally: I have heard stories and received wisdom from elders that have made me realize the true closeness of the NYC community and the value of a single person’s story. I began volunteering with DOROT as freshmen in high school and quickly began to see the importance of looking at the bigger picture and doing everything in your power to achieve your goals.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
Isabel: I love feeling that I am helping people and bringing some light to the life of a senior is so rewarding. I feel like seniors are often ignored in our society when in fact they have so much to offer. In addition, I look forward to my visits every week and my other volunteer opportunities.
Ally: Through hearing countless fascinating memories of seniors at DOROT, I have learned that the experiences in life worth remembering are those when you go out of your way to help better the lives of others. As I volunteer with DOROT this becomes more and more evident, continuously increasing my motivation to volunteer and help at DOROT.
Most memorable volunteer moment:
Isabel: When I participated in the summer internship two years ago, I was assigned to interview a senior with another intern and bring her incredible story to life through film. At the final ceremony at the end of the internship, everyone screened their films, and the senior I interviewed came. It was such an honor to have her watch it, and it brought tears to my eyes because of how deeply emotional and powerful it was.
Ally: During the 2015 Summer Teen Internship at DOROT, I participated in an inter-generational theater program. This program, which lasted four weeks and included a variety of drama-games, storytelling activates, and workshops, created strong bond between the group of teens and seniors. On one of the days, a five-minute story telling activity evolved into me chatting with a senior for 20 minutes about how she provided food and shelter to a group of financially struggling dancers for months. This is a story that I will remember forever.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
Isabel: I do not even think of it as volunteering because oftentimes I feel that I receive more from the senior than the senior receives from me. Make the most of your time at DOROT, and you will see that you will be rewarded tenfold.
Ally: Volunteering at DOROT is a once in a lifetime experience that not only significantly helps others, but that you will gain an immense amount of knowledge and wisdom from.
Anything else you would like to share?
Isabel: DOROT has helped me become a more caring and giving person, and I don’t think that I am the same person today as I was three years ago. Now that I have been volunteering at this organization for so long, I cannot imagine my life without it.
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