Tammy Stone — Friendly Visitor
How long have you been a DOROT volunteer?
Oops, I think I have lost track of time… maybe 8-10 years?
How did you get involved with DOROT?
I saw a listing for volunteer activities for Thanksgiving in the magazine TimeOut NY. When I called, they said, “Oh we already have all the volunteers we need… but what are you doing for Chanukah?” Which I hadn’t thought about yet but I said “nothing” and they said “Oh we have another package delivery then, let me sign you up” So, Thank YOU quick thinking DOROT person on the phone so many years ago☺
I went to school in Brooklyn and have lived in NYC since 1985, and have always been involved in some sort of volunteer work. As I have always considered it a privilege to be able to work and live in this city that I love, I feel it is important that I give back to it through volunteering.
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
I started with the Holiday Package Delivery, which is where I met the two women and became a weekly friendly visitor for them. I also have spent time Holiday Gift-Wrapping at Barnes & Noble (which I always think is a great program and a nice way to spread the word about DOROT). I also escort one of the seniors to the DOROT Thanksgiving Banquet.
In what ways has your DOROT volunteer experience impacted your life?
I realize this has been said by other volunteers, but it is so true visiting an elderly person who is not a family member opens up your life to learning so much about experiences and personal life histories that you might never had the opportunity to be exposed to otherwise. It’s a big world out there, and it’s fascinating to learn more about it through people’s experiences that are nothing like your own.
Also, something that would have never occurred to me when I first got involved with DOROT, but now directly reflects what I am experiencing is that as my parents are getting older and need more support, the things I learned about aging (things I hadn’t even considered until my DOROT experience) from talking with the people I visit, as well as the social workers at DOROT, have proven invaluable; and have enabled me to be more ready to manage certain issues that are now being faced within my family.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
I get a lot of satisfaction when I feel that I can make a difference in someone’s life even if it doesn’t seem to be a big difference to me, I’ve come to learn that the “small things” also do make a difference, i.e. bringing a slice of pizza for someone who no longer goes outside, watching TV with them, or just sitting and holding their hand.
Most memorable volunteer moment
When I first started visiting Mrs. J, she wasn’t very mobile, but we would walk up and down the halls in her building and she would talk to me about her life, and when she started going to DOROT when she turned 60 and now she is in her 80’s. After she had an accident and was unable to live on her own, she was moved to a home, which is where I continue to visit her. She also has dementia and other ailments, and as she may not know what month or even year it is, upon seeing me, she will announce to anyone around (whether they are listening or not) “Look who is here, my DOROT friend… they never forget me there”. Yup, totally true story, and it always makes me smile, which is why it’s so memorable to me.
What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT?
As mentioned, I have spent my years in NYC volunteering for various programs, and I have to say that the folks who work at DOROT are truly wonderful, which makes me want to do more for them. As much as volunteering brings to you great things like opening up your world to new people and experiences, and realizing there are things you can do out there that maybe you didn’t think you could, volunteering for DOROT gives you the opportunity to work with fabulous people who are doing so many great things in the community that it is really is a privilege, to be a part of it.
Anything else you would like to share?
Without a doubt, my experiences with DOROT have made me a more mature, thoughtful, empathetic individual and I can’t say THANK YOU enough for giving me the opportunity to grow into the person that I am today through volunteering with you.
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