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DOROT Westchester


Rebecca Halpern — Friendly Visiting/Homelessness Prevention Program

Rebecca Halpern How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?

I am just about to approach my two year mark and I couldn’t be more excited to say that I have been involved with such a wonderful organization for this long!

How did you get involved with DOROT?
I had been searching for some volunteer opportunities in the neighborhood and I came across the DOROT website. From my very first Holiday Package Delivery where I was greeted with such warm faces, it was clear that DOROT was a unique organization with so much to offer everyone.

What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?

I started out doing package deliveries on the high holidays and special occasions, and on my very first trip, I met and made a great connection with Mrs. B., despite our 77 year age difference. Mrs. B. blew me away with her stories, and before I left, we had already decided we wanted to set up weekly visits. Saturday afternoon is now one of the highlights of our week. I am also involved with the Homelessness Prevention Program, where I serve dinner once a week and have the opportunity to socialize with wonderful senior citizens under the incredible leadership of Elazar Stepansky and Gretchen Quinn. It’s always a great time for everyone!

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

When I first started volunteering with DOROT, I was looking for a good way to fill my free time by helping out those in need in my community. I visited a homebound senior once a week and within the first couple of visits we knew we were kindred spirits. Mrs. B. is constantly trying to find proof that we are related! To me, my visits with Mrs. B. are not “volunteer work” at all, and it’s more than just a nice Saturday afternoon visit that I always look forward to each week — it’s a couple of hours where both Mrs. B. and I get to talk about relevant topics. I learn about her past and her struggles, and she intentionally (and most of the time, unintentionally!) gives me great life advice. At every visit, she teaches me about living life to the fullest, and she is without a doubt one of the most energetic and spirited people (and centenarian!) one will ever have the pleasure of meeting. She inspires me daily and I know we will both cherish this friendship forever. My weekly role with the Homelessness Prevention Program is also something that I look forward to each week as each time, it brings more laughter and great stories into my life.

What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?

Every time I visit Mrs. B., and I’m greeted with, “Rebecca, boy do I have a story for you!” I know how much Mrs. B. looks forward to our visits — that smile on her face makes it so hard to end the visit each week, but we both look forward to the next one.

Most memorable volunteer moment:

One of my most memorable volunteer moments occurred at my third Holiday Package Delivery. I had come to check in and pick up my package for my senior, when a couple of the volunteers that were helping staff the event recognized me and began to chat with me. Everyone was just so incredibly warm and friendly, and after meeting briefly just a few times before, they were treating me like family! It made me feel so special, and it made me even more excited to become more involved in DOROT’s many incredible programs.

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

Whether you are looking to volunteer a few times a year or a few times a week, DOROT has a program for you. They offer all types of programs so you can find one that exactly fits with what you are looking for in a volunteer opportunity. Every staff member that I have interacted with is so wonderful to work with, and they all do such a magnificent job connecting with both the volunteers and seniors.

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