Julie Vincent Smoot — Homelessness Prevention Program
DOROT volunteer since: June of 2001
How did you get involved with DOROT?
I had been searching around online for volunteer opportunities (in the beginning days of people really using the internet) and I couldn’t get any charities to call me back. Then I received a call from Elazar at DOROT’s Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP) and I knew it was the place for me. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for seniors in need.
What type of volunteer activities do you do?
I help with the dinner service every two weeks on Thursday night. Thursday night is a “special” night at the HPP program, because we have another volunteer who cooks a home cooked meal for the group which consists of current and former residents. Since we moved locations our Thursday night dinners have gotten bigger and more fun. The dinner crowd can sometimes be 30 people! I help to set up, serve and then clean up and generally anything else that needs to be done during dinner.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
I absolutely love everyone I’ve met through the HPP program. I always look forward to going there to serve dinner. The clients/residents are positive and upbeat and make me grateful for the life that I have. No matter how bad of a day I may be having all it takes is two minutes of being with the group and I feel incredibly blessed.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
My main motivation is I always try to do onto others as I would have done onto myself. Anyone of us, through a series of misfortunes, could end up with no place to call home. I would hope that if I found myself in a position like that I would have a place like DOROT to go to for help and friendship.
Most memorable volunteer moment?
There isn’t one in particular that stands out, but I always love the feeling I have when I get to DOROT. It’s like going to a big family dinner every other week.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
That the people are amazing, both the people you will work for and along side. It’s a truly diverse mix that is really representative of what life in New York City is all about.
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