banner image

New Friends Across the Map & Generations

"It's a wonderful concept to bring different generations together, this is one thing in this culture we don’t do enough of!"

It's easy to feel the enthusiasm and the joy of connection in the words of Kamal, a 78-year-old retiree in Manhattan. What sparked them is the new friendship he’s made – through DOROT’s Caring Calls program – with Abigail, a 21-year-old UPenn undergraduate and DOROT volunteer who’s also a varsity pole vaulter, heading to medical school.

DOROT's Caring Calls program matches seniors and volunteers for weekly calls over eight weeks. In many cases that initial commitment is just a beginning! As it has been for Kamal and Abigail, who've been connecting regularly by phone since May 2021.

“A lot of seniors need to talk to younger people and tell them about our experiences,” Kamal shared. “At my age, we tend to lose people to talk with … you can’t help but feel cynical, but Abigail is not. Having someone who’s so bright and easy to talk with – this program is absolutely wonderful!”

And, as is the case with many of DOROT's volunteer programs, the benefit is mutual.

“I love listening to Kamal’s stories!” Abigail said. “I’ve lost my grandparents, and I always loved listening to their stories. Bringing the generations together is such a valuable thing. It’s easy to forget there’s a difference in age. Kamal gives me the best movie recommendations and, every once in a while, he shares his poetry – and updates on his pickle recipes!"

Interested in becoming a Caring Calls volunteer but nervous about getting started? Abigail had these words of wisdom for new volunteers, "I was so nervous to make my first phone call, but you shouldn’t be. There’s always something to talk about. Just go in with an open mind! The comfort you give and receive is truly transformative.”

You can learn more about volunteering through Caring Calls here and participating as an older adult here

Take a chance! It might just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.