One of my New Years resolutions going into 2018 was to volunteer and start giving back to my community. I wasn't exactly sure how I wanted to go about it, but in a moment of reflection (okay, likely a few moments of reflection probably in the shower as we all do) I realized that some of my favorite moments in my current role as an event planner at Dana-Farber are often the interactions with our older donor population.
This realization ultimately led me to Friendship Works. Their mission is to reduce social isolation, enhance quality of life, and preserve the dignity of older adults in Greater Boston. They recruit and train volunteers of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to provide friendship, advocacy, education, assistance, and emotional support.
I figured I had a few extra hours on my hands every week, I enjoy talking to just about anyone (it's starting to be a problem), and I believe that it's always nice to make a new friend - especially one in need of company. I'm happy to report, so far, so good!
I visit my elder friend, Myrna, on the weekends and we talk about everything and anything. We've covered her life story and I've shared snippets from mine. We discuss how both of our weeks progressed to how my dating life hasn't really progressed... although I will say she is always the first one to tell me to never settle!
Myrna is an artist and discovered her passion for painting later in life. We had talked about doing watercolors together since our very first visit and last week, we finally had the chance to create something together. Myrna walked me through all of the steps with patience and helped me paint a beautiful water scene with a sailboat.I still have a long ways to go but she sent me home with a set of watercolors and a homework assignment!
Although I've only been volunteering for a few months now and have just spent a handful of weekends with my elder friend, I can see how it makes a difference in her day. I can also see how the work FriendshipWorks makes a difference in the Greater Boston community. Genuine human interaction isn't always easy to come by, especially with the various barriers brought on by aging.
All that being said, I hope you support to my first Walk to End Elder Isolation. I also hope you are able to find something in your own life that you feel is equally meaningful and that you are continually contributing to the world around you in positive, love-filled ways.