Ma’ayan Schmidt — Teen Volunteer
How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?
I started volunteering with DOROT in 2010.
How did you get involved with DOROT?
My parents have been involved with DOROT for years — volunteering to visit homebound elderly and delivering packages on the holidays. When I turned twelve, I decided I wanted to get involved with DOROT in honor of becoming a Bat Mitzvah.
I’ve always enjoyed interacting with older people. When I was little, I visited the Jewish Home and Hospital and it had a big impact on me. I visited individuals in their rooms and heard their stories. I realized the impact I was having on their day. I knew I would have a similar experience at DOROT.
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
Every week, with Lotte, a senior who lives alone at home.
When I visit Lotte, we talk about everything. I share my own personal stories and Lotte can sometimes relate to them, so she’ll share her own experiences when she was my age. We also talk about travel. Lotte has traveled all over the world. We also speak a little bit of French together, since I take French classes in school and Lotte speaks French fluently.
Additionally, each year I participate in Holiday Package Deliveries with my family.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
Being a DOROT volunteer has definitely impacted my life significantly. Although I am one of the youngest volunteers, I get such fulfillment from my weekly visits. I have gained so much knowledge from my visits and conversations; knowledge about the world and about experiences, that I could not acquire in any school setting. Lastly, partaking in weekly visits has taught me several skills that are extremely useful, such as being more communicative and empathic towards others.
I’ve learned from Lotte that it’s important to maintain good relationships with friends and family, so that you don’t end up lonely.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
My weekly visits are really what motivates me to continue volunteering at DOROT. I get so much satisfaction from my visits, and seeing how I can make someone a happier person by visiting them, makes me a happier person!
I like visiting Lotte because it’s nice to have a break from school and from always seeing the same people. I can visit Lotte and for an hour we can talk about anything.
Most memorable volunteer moment:
I have had some very memorable volunteer moments, but interviewing the senior I visit each week about her life, for a history assignment in school, was very interesting and memorable.
While interviewing Lotte for this assignment, I learned about her journey to the United States. She traveled through many countries before arriving in the U.S. Through Lotte’s stories, I was able to understand how New York City has changed since she arrived here.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
Volunteering, and specifically partaking in weekly visits, is an incredible experience. Not only is it a good deed, but it can also really impact the life of a senior citizen. The most gratifying part of Friendly Visiting, is knowing the difference you are making in someone’s life.
Volunteering with DOROT and visiting a senior provides mutual satisfaction. Visiting Lotte makes me a happier person and my visits make Lotte a happier person.
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