Sylvia Gao and Andrew Salazar - Teen Internship Program
How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?
Sylvia Gao: I’ve been a DOROT volunteer since 2014.
Andrew Salazar: I have been a volunteer at DOROT since January of 2015. I started out doing weekly visits to different seniors around the city. DOROT then matched me with Sylvia and together we visit Elaine every Tuesday.
How did you get involved with DOROT?
Sylvia Gao: I got involved with DOROT my junior year of High School. I found out about DOROT while searching on the internet for community service opportunities. I was captivated with DOROT’s mission and knew immediately that volunteering for DOROT would be a phenomenal experience.
Andrew Salazar: During my junior year of high school, I was looking for a place where I could really contribute back to the community. Growing up with grandparents, I always had a liking for the wisdom and charisma associated with older generations, so I knew I definitely wanted to get involved at some sort of senior center. DOROT really stood out to me because it was different. It was a place that I thought was really cool because of the visiting aspect, it was truly unique. I was determined to get involved, and a few weeks later I was in.
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
Sylvia Gao: Currently, my partner Andrew and I visit a senior named Elaine every week and assist her with her iPad. In the past I’ve done many activities such as arts and crafts, birthday visits, technology assistance, and friendly visits.
Andrew Salazar: Every Tuesday, Sylvia and I visit our senior Elaine to help her with her iPad. This includes teaching her how to operate the tablet, as well teaching her how to use the internet. We help her find the things she needs online, which can range from community events to healthy recipes.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
Sylvia Gao: My DOROT volunteer experience has impacted my life in many ways. I’ve gained so much knowledge, happiness, and fulfilment from my visits. This experience has also presented seniors in a new light along with a better understanding of their lives.
Andrew Salazar: Volunteering at DOROT has honestly helped close that generational gap that is often present between seniors and teenagers. It's helped me realize that significant age difference doesn't mean that there are no similarities in life. I've grown to appreciate the genuine moments I have with people, keeping my experiences with Elaine in mind everywhere I go.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
Sylvia Gao: What motivates me to continue volunteering at DOROT is the impact that I’m making in seniors lives. Knowing that Elaine looks forward to my visits and how much joy and excitement she gets from them, causes me to feel very fulfilled and happy as well.
Andrew Salazar: Seeing how happy and open the seniors are into letting us come into their home and helping is one of the best feelings ever. Knowing that a simple game of Scrabble or computer help can make such a positive difference is really what keeps me coming back every Tuesday.
Most memorable volunteer moment:
Sylvia Gao: My most memorable volunteer moments would probably be teaching Elaine how to work her iPad because every time she learns something new and accomplishes it she would have such a delighted reaction.
Andrew Salazar: We've been teaching Elaine the ins and outs of everyday iPad use for over a year now. It can be quite a tricky task to master, especially for someone that hasn't grown up in our current digital age. When Elaine got to the point where she was confident enough powering the device on and off (as well as browsing her favorite website, www.doctoroz.com), it was one of the best moments knowing how far she had come.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
Sylvia Gao: I would want other volunteers to know that volunteering at DOROT is truly an amazing and unique experience. It will impact your life in a positively significant way and can potentially do the same for a senior as well.
Andrew Salazar: Volunteering at DOROT will absolutely affect your life in a positive way. There's something special that comes with taking time out of your day to help others with whatever it may be. A simple one hour visit has so much incredible potential to make a person's week brighter.
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