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DOROT Westchester


Rima Starr - Friendly Visitor

How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?

About a year and a half.

How did you get involved with DOROT?

I was a professional singer and Certified Music Therapist. I was forced into early retirement due to three cancers and a bone marrow transplant. I had heard of DOROT and I hoped volunteering could fill some empty space in my life and in my sense of identity.

What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?

I visit homebound seniors; I'm called a Friendly Visitor. And that's exactly what I am: for an hour a week I'm just ME, doing something I love, that actually helps someone else, too: quite amazing!

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

It has deeply impacted my life. I did not expect to make rich and rewarding relationships with some of the people I visit. The genuine love that can develop in such a relationship is quite a wonderful surprise. Even our families have shared delightful social experiences together.

What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?

It feels fantastic and I know I'm doing good work. I have always believed that the real reason to volunteer for any specific position is because it just fits GREAT. I wind up getting so much more than I give.

Most memorable volunteer moment:

I was paying a Friendly Visit to a 97 year old woman I'd been seeing for about a year. She had fallen at home, was placed in a Nursing Home rehab department I visited her in her room. She was somewhat confused, lethargic and minimally responsive. I began singing for her. She immediately brightened markedly, began singing along to some of the phrases, and even started to conduct the music in an animated way. After that session, and after her release back to her home, we continue to sing together for part of our time. We both enjoy ourselves and end with a big hug and kiss and then she shouts out, "don't forget to give your husband a hug!"

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

Be yourself; ask questions so as to empower the person you are visiting. Don't be afraid to enjoy the experience; that will be felt by the person you are with. Remember YOU are the gift!

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