I learned about Dorot when I was in my 39'w (I'm now 65) and have been volunteering with them ever since. The reason I love them so is that while yes, they make sure that elderly people see doctors and have enough to eat and are generally cared for, their sights have always been squarely set on quality of life, on making sure that their "clients" are enjoying their latter years. As a Dorot volunteer, I've taken people to concerts and theaters, I helped one woman write a 15-page memoir to leave to her grandchildren, I helped a blind man pack for a move. But most of all, I've visited people and given them a welcome ear for their life stories, for their joys as well as their concerns. Dorot is focused on making old age a time to relish, not to endure.
Dorot is about 35 years old -- I've been volunteering for them for 33 of those years. Their goal is to enhance the experience of elders in every sense -- physical, intellectual, emotional. And their preferred method is to enlist young people as volunteers to do so, those helping to bridge the generation gap for both sides. They have computer tutors, they offer telephone university, they have cemetary visits, they run the gamut. As a volunteer I have visited home-bound seniors, delivered birthday cakes, taken seniors to doctors and to concerts, helped host Thanksgiving dinners, visited seniors in the hospital, all kinds of things. I even once helped a senior write her memoirs, to leave for her grandkids. And it is as much a joy for me as it is for the seniors. When I'm finally too old to volunteer, I will transition into Dorot client -- they are the best organization for serving seniors I have ever seen.
Dorot is an organization that provides help to the elderly, on a personal level. As a volunteer, you get immediate gratification of providing companionship, friendship or just support for someone in need. Dorot has the most professional staff that works with the volunteer to assure the best effort is being delivered to the "clients".
I look forward to cooking for a group of elderly folks weekly and I know, they too look forward to my visit. We have a connection I never knew I could have. As I meet new people, I know, they too, will become my friend as the weeks go by. Sometimes I 'm one of the first people they learn to trust again, and it feels very special to be "let in" to their life.
I had a wonderful experience visiting a woman who taught me how to be the woman I always wanted to be. My friendly visiting friend was an 80 year old non ambulatory brilliant woman, who lived life every day to the fullest, with passion and no fears. I fetl exposed at first, at her forthrightness. Her directness was so raw. Her experiences leaving pre-Nazi Belgium to NY showed me how fearlessness and following your instinct is the best way to live life. Now, I enjoy another volunteer experience at Dorot. I get to be humbled every Tuesday night as I cook dinner at the HOmeless Prevention Program for elderly people who have somehow ended up homeless. As we watch Jeopardy together, I realize how special each person is, as everyone has some individual area of knowledge others don't. I feel so priveleged to meet these brave souls come together to rebuild their lives. I thank Dorot for these experiences! My life is so defined by my time with Dorot.
One of my most memorable visits involved a 90 year old woman who was almost completely deaf. She had suffered a devastating fire in her apartment 5 years prior, during which all of her possessions had been ruined. However, instead of dwelling on this unfortunate event, she explained to me that she was not upset over it, but rather thankful for her life and for the people that helped her after the fire. The way she was able to have such an appreciative and optimistic outlook on her tragedy really put things into perspective for me, as do all the seniors I visit every week. Every senior has a different lesson to teach. For her, it was to not dwell on past events, and find the light in every dark occurrence. I am reminded of what's really important in life, and being a junior in high school, I all too often think that college applications are of this immense importance. Its hard to believe that I am in fact the volunteer; I always think of myself as the student or friend. Its these mutualistic relationships I form that have me falling in love with DOROT over and over again.
Dorot gave me a new appreciation for not only the greater Jewish community, but also the elderly. I've met people from all walks of life with all kinds of interesting perspectives.
In my experience, Dorot has been a really great help to seniors living in Manhattan. However, it helps not only seniors, but it is really great for teenagers like myself to be able to get to know what it was like for the seniors growing up, and being able to relate to them. There is nothing more satisfying than to see the smile on a senior's face when they get a visit on their birthday, or when they figure out some new cool thing on a computer. On one occasion, a senior needed help installing a voice recognizer on her computer in order to type things just by speaking. After I helped her install it, the thing worked so well that I strongly considered getting one myself.
I am the co-chair of the Social Action Committee of my synagogue. For the last four years we have individually and as a group participated in Dorot's Thanksgiving meal delivery programs in which volunteers deliver a Thanksgiving meal and stay for a friendly visit with a homebound elderly client. I also personally participate by making phone calls for their delivery programs for Rosh Hashana and Thanksgiving, The feedback that I get by making those phone calls from people who speak so very positive of the work of Dorot is very gratifying to me as a volunteer. Dorot means generations in Hebrew, and is a play on the Hebrew phrase, L'Dor V'Dor from generation to generation. Volunteers of all ages benefit by seeing how vital and productive some seniors can be well into their nineties; and last night I spoke with a happy centenarian who will be attending the Thanksgiving Banquet in a wheelchair with her aide. Such interaction gives me hope for my own later years (I am 68, an age that I once thought to be old.)Dorot is a non-sectarian agency under Jewish auspices.
I have been a volunteer for Dorot for several years now. Their work is absolutely outstanding. I gone on birthday visits and seen the faces of seniors light up when they are told that their friends at Dorot are thinking of them on their birthdays and have sent a birthday cake. I have accompanied seniors on cultural events to museums, and watching how Dorot enables the seniors to interact and engage with other seniors is outstanding. I strongly believe that if seniors are kept busy, socially engaged, and culturally active, they will continue to be young at heart and enjoy each moment in life. What better gift could be given to people in their older ages? The work of Dorot is truly impacting and I have seen firsthand how their work has changed the lives of so many seniors (and all volunteers gain a tremendous amount as well!)
I had been searching for a volunteer assignment with senior citizens for months when a friend told me about DOROT. I applied to DOROT and before long I was making more progress than I had with any of the previous organizations I had contacted. Pretty soon, I was interviewed and cleared the screening process. I have now been a DOROT Friendly Visitor volunteer for two months and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I was matched with a delightful senior citizen. We thoroughly enjoy each other's company and look forward to our weekly visits. We have taken walks, gone to the movies and shared meals together. I have also accompanied her on Doctors' visits. She, on the other hand, is very encouraging and supportive of me. We both feel our lives have been enriched as a result of our relationship. Thanks to the amazing staff at DOROT for bringing us together!
A well-organized and well-respected organization. The mechanics of large-scale projects are so beautifully organized. For example, for holiday package delivery there is an orientation with a short video and a Q&A period. There are also options (such as the chance to make a card or choose a partner and/or recipient) that allow you to tailor the experience to your group (in my case, my children's desires).
this is a fabulous program to assist, participate and help the elderly...it's a great community service....the appreciation by the recipients is wonderful...its a great learning experience.