Mission: See form 990, part 1, line 1 for mission statement
Programs: Friendshipworks signature friendly visiting program makes informal, long-lasting friendship matches between isolated elders and community volunteers, rewarding to both. Matches share experiences and favorite activities, and recognize one another's individuality and passions. Many call on friendshipworks because they are without family and friends. With age, a lack of friendship can become an obstacle to independence. Friendshipworks volunteers also desire to give back through connection. Through informal friendship matches, friendshipworks is breathing life into a lost tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.
friendshipworks neighborhood chapter, the lacadena de amistad (the chain of friendship) program in jamaica plain, provides bilingual, bicultural volunteers to english and spanish speaking elders. Volunteers help with medical escorts, one-time & short-term assistance & friendly visiting.
friendshipworks' medical escort program provides volunteers who escort elders to and from medical appointments. Volunteers provide emotional support and physical assistance to those whose age, health or disability would prevent them from going alone. In this fiscal year friendshipworks provided over 1290 medical escort one-way trips to 125 elders.
I've volunteered for this organization for seven years now and the elder I was matched with is now in her 90s. I have enjoyed spending time with her and being a companion she has come to trust. She has little family nearby and no children, so I know she gets lonely. I see her once weekly, and we walk to get tea, to pick up an avocado or yogurt from the market. We go to free concerts at the local music schools where it's fine to leave at intermission if she's too tired to stay for the whole thing. Some weeks, I spend an hour, some weeks 3 hours, but we both have a good time. These days, my match has chosen to save dessert from her assisted living facility to share with me when I arrive. When I'm away on vacation we trade post cards, and hers is usually awaiting me in my mailbox on my return to tell me about something she has thought to tell me of a past memory or a brief occurrence I have missed while away. This organization has made me feel truly valued as a friend to someone else, and I know I make a difference. I hope more elders can find matches, and more young people slow down to talk to an elder they may soon call friend.