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DOROT Westchester


Mona Yuter Brokaw — Occasional Volunteer Corps

DOROT volunteer since: I’ve been a DOROT volunteer for over four years. I first volunteered for a fundraiser at Barnes & Noble, wrapping gifts and telling customers about the wonderful ways DOROT serves the elders of our community.

Mona Yuter Brokaw How did you get involved with DOROT?

In the last few years of my mother’s life, I realized how isolated she had become. On some days, I was the only person she spoke to. She was also having trouble preparing her meals. I knew the past director of DOROT from long–ago days with our children at the playground. I called her and asked her to tell me more about DOROT services and how I could help my mother.

Mom soon had DOROT’s office volunteer, Harold, calling her to talk over meal choices. She also had Holiday Package Deliveries with Friendly Visitors and signed up for an opera appreciation class on the University Without Walls program over the telephone. The special bond Mom developed with DOROT was increased when Sharon became part of her life as her long–term Friendly Visitor.

What type of volunteer activities do you do?

As part of the Occasional Volunteer Corps, I’ve done so many different activities as a volunteer. I was surprised by the choices I’d have as a volunteer. I’ve delivered birthday cakes and practiced my singing of “Happy Birthday.” I’ve helped a gentleman go through his extensive book collection to try to weed out and pack up books he wanted to donate before his apartment was painted. I’ve sorted former work clothes with a woman who had retired years earlier and was donating clothing to the Homelessness Prevention Program. I’ve accompanied people to the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim Museum, and helped host seniors at the Thanksgiving Banquet. I’ve assisted a woman with transportation to her chemotherapy treatment and I’ve read poetry to a 95–year–old woman who is declining.

In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?

Being able to represent DOROT in the community of elders has enriched my own life. I’ve heard life stories and learned of the interests, work and talents of this community. I’ve brought friendship and a smile to welcoming new friends and have taken away some new–found wisdom.

What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?

DOROT to me represents the circle of life. It’s seeing programs that involve young children and aged adults sharing an experience...teens and young adults interacting with the elderly. When I discovered the many volunteer opportunities for adults in our community to ease and enrich the lives of the elderly, I knew I wanted to be part of this circle.

Most memorable volunteer moment?

One of my favorite volunteer moments was doing a Winter Package Delivery with Sharon, who was my mother’s Friendly Visitor for two and a half years. Through Sharon’s volunteering as a Friendly Visitor, she met my mom and immediately began reducing Mom’s feeling of isolation. Sharon and I have become good friends and I get to feel like part of her young family.

What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?

Just as going to the gym makes you feel good because you’re doing good things for your body, volunteering with DOROT and enriching the day for a senior does good things for your soul.

Anything else you would like to share?

The staff at DOROT is appreciative of your service and lets you know. The volunteer experience is a continuing education for each of the volunteers. In our own way we bring some kindness and attention to the elderly of our community by helping them live independently and less isolated.

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