Lynette Koppel — Friendly Visiting
DOROT volunteer since: Fall 2005
How did you get involved with DOROT?
I initially learned about DOROT from seeing information about it in our synagogue. When I stopped working and had free time, I called DOROT to explore volunteer opportunities.
What type of volunteer activities do you do?
I have been a Friendly Visitor for over 6 years, until Gladys passed away in January.
I also volunteer at the Jewish Home Lifecare. I previously volunteered for a food pantry in my community, and delivered food packages to the elderly. I have been a member and continue to be a member of various charitable boards.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
Once I stopped working and had additional time, I wanted to do something meaningful. I had a grandmother who spent her last years in a city without any children or grandchildren nearby to visit her, and I know how difficult that was. Gladys also had no family, and I know that my visits were something she looked forward to. As we got to know each other and became friends, I began to realize that I also really looked forward to our weekly visits. It was a routine we both counted on, and until the last year of her life, the visit included coffee, lively discussion and sometimes baked goods! It was so easy to keep one afternoon a week reserved for our visit, and the warmth and friendship permeated the whole week. The DOROT experience encouraged me to volunteer for other organizations as well.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
My outlook on life is that if everyone could do a small “random act of kindness,” it would change the world for the better. It is so easy to volunteer and I love it!
Most memorable volunteer moment?
My most memorable moment was celebrating Gladys’ 93rd birthday. She had no family to celebrate with, so I invited her to join me and my family for a birthday dinner. Gladys had visual and mobility impairments, and was not comfortable going out on her own. I went with my daughter, picked her up and brought her to our home. I enjoyed watching her interact with my girls, and they enjoyed talking to her and hearing her stories.
It was such a special day that for years after, when Gladys had become unable to leave her apartment, we would reminisce about that day when she had come to my house for her birthday.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
It’s so easy to do and you get so much back! You get more out of it than the recipients! I was so busy with my career and raising young children for years, and I never realized how much satisfaction volunteering brings. Volunteering at DOROT is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If it wasn’t for DOROT, I would never have met Gladys. She truly became a friend to me, and I loved her.
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