This week marks not just the final days of National Volunteer Month but also Global Intergenerational Week! Now in its third year, this annual worldwide campaign connects everyone who is passionate about everything intergenerational. We're thrilled to profile some volunteers who participate in DOROT's varied intergenerational work.
First up is Courtney Dennis, a volunteer for Response Team, Friendly Visiting and Caring Calls!
How did you get involved with DOROT?
Shortly after moving to NYC, I found myself missing the connections I had with local seniors in my hometown community, so I searched online for volunteer opportunities near me. I wanted to do something good for others, but also alleviate my own loneliness as a newcomer to the city!
What type of volunteer activities do you do at DOROT?
I started out as a Friendly Visitor. Currently, I connect virtually through the Caring Calls program and periodically serve on the Response Team by helping DOROT clients with errands and making birthday deliveries.
How do you fit volunteering into your schedule?
Since DOROT has such a broad range of programs, I've been able to find activities with time commitments that work for me. I don't view DOROT activities as "volunteer time," but instead as a part of my social life, which I always have time for!
What is something you learned as a DOROT volunteer?
Older adults have the same questions about younger generations that we do about older ones! I previously had this assumption that people older than me had "seen it all" and don't need any insight from me, but my senior friends are actually very curious about what it's like to be a young person in 2022, what we think about pop culture and politics, and what we do in our spare time.
What motivates you to continue volunteering at DOROT?
It can be far too easy to settle into the same old routines and social bubbles. Beyond being a good deed, every activity DOROT offers is also an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and experience something I haven't before -- whether it be having a new discussion with a stranger or simply walking on an unfamiliar city block.
What's your most memorable volunteer moment with DOROT?
I wasn't sure exactly what my friendly visitor client Alicia and I would connect over at first, but one of the first subjects ended up being food. Alicia confided in me that she had never had what I know as a quintessential New York breakfast sandwich: the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese. So, of course I had to run to the deli so she could try one. Upon tasting this delicacy, she declared it her new favorite and I knew it had exceeded her expectations. In turn, she introduced me to linzer tart cookies, which are now among my favorite sweets. I can't eat one without thinking of her. What would you want other volunteers to know about volunteering at DOROT? It does not take that much to make a difference. Even the (seemingly) littlest, simplest displays of kindness can make a senior feel cared about and connected with a larger community.
Learn more about volunteering HERE!