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DOROT Westchester

 


Rebecca Heller — Volunteer Services

Rebecca Heller How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?

Since the summer of 2010.

How did you get involved with DOROT?

My first experience with DOROT was volunteering with the Cemetery Visits program. At the time I was a part of HILLEL’s CLIP (Collegiate Leadership Internship Program) day of service. The program blew me away; it was organized flawlessly, and I could tell that the seniors both appreciated and depended on the important service DOROT provided. I had volunteered for other organizations before but had never had such a meaningful experience. Ever since I’ve been a big fan of DOROT!

What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?

Since the summer of 2012 and throughout the year, I would volunteer occasionally to deliver a package, celebrate someone’s birthday, or pay a friendly visit. I had so many positive experiences that when looking for a way to build my social work skills during the summer of 2013, my first choice was DOROT. With the help of the Coordinator of Adult Volunteer Services, Rebecca Zinger, I interned in the Kosher Meals for the Homebound department for ten weeks. I conducted re–assessments of seniors’ individual needs, delivered meals, maintained phone contact with seniors and connected them to various services. I also did some case assistance, most notably helping a senior apply for Access–a–Ride, which was a learning experience for us both! One of the most exciting projects of the summer was helping to orchestrate DOROT’s first ever Green Bag program. With the help of staff and other summer interns, I organized and coordinated volunteers to deliver fresh produce to seniors. The program was a success and I hope it expands next year!

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

I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to hone my social work skills while working at a well–run organization with highly dedicated staff. Beyond that, DOROT has allowed me to bring joy and support to seniors who need it.

What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?

DOROT is a wonderful organization. The staff values my time, however much I can offer, and gives me the opportunity to interact with seniors in profound, meaningful ways. I think of DOROT when I’m looking to feel refreshed and fulfilled.

Most memorable volunteer moment:

I’ve had many memorable moments this summer. But one that stands out occurred near the end of my ten–week internship. At the last minute, a senior needed her meals delivered, and I agreed to drop off the bag on my way home. When the senior opened the door, I realized we had met before. After Superstorm Sandy, I had signed up to visit a senior to offer comfort and support. And this was the same senior! Although almost a year had passed, and we had only met once before, it felt like we were old friends. The senior remembered that I had just started graduate school and asked how things were going. I remembered that she had been an actress and we talked about her past performances. This moment shows how even one visit, over a year ago, can still be meaningful for all involved.

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

There are so many small ways to get involved! You can make a birthday visit or help with Package Deliveries. Get on DOROT’s email list and you’ll be surprised how easily small tasks fit into your busy schedule. Also, as an intern this summer, I witnessed firsthand DOROT’s amazing volunteer network. I would meet with seniors who would request help going through mail, or wanted to play guitar with another musician, or were interested in visiting local museums. Within a week, DOROT found volunteers to match each senior’s needs. DOROT is an efficient, effective social service agency in large part because of its volunteers. If you have a talent, a desire, or an idea, I am confident that DOROT will match you with the perfect senior, for an hour or a year, to share that passion!

Anything else you would like to share?

I’m honored to be recognized. I thank the DOROT staff that went above and beyond to make my summer so enriching — Rebecca Zinger, Linda Libow, Karen Fuller, Danielle Kramer, Christine Hodan, and college interns Morgan Weil and Lauren Carey. I look forward to staying involved with DOROT throughout my career as a social worker.

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