I place daily calls to the Center’s seniors enrolled in the Hello Club.During conversations varying in length from a few minutes to more than an hour, I get a sense of how they’re doing physically and emotionally and learn of any challenges they may be facing regarding their health, well-being, finances, and housing. If needed, I connect them with available Center or community resources.
By doing this work, I have learned about the importance of connection, of having people in my life who matter, and how much I receive by giving of myself to others.
There have been so many memorable conversations with remarkable people: the determined woman experiencing homelessness who was seeking and eventually landed housing during the pandemic; the dancer who shared a recollection of the day a promising newcomer named Barbra Streisand showed up on set to sing a duet with Judy Garland; the nonagenarian who he feels connected with his late partner of 50 years whenever he tends to the rose garden kept in his memory; the trans senior who has experienced the joys and tribulations of a embracing their true identity for the first time; a legendary film critic who offers his thoughts on the current state of the movie industry; and someone who witnessed Stonewall.
Volunteering has given me a greater sense of the needs of the LGBTQ community and the age-specific needs. I’ve been able to observe the different ways people deal with adversity, depending on their coping skills, resilience, and willingness to ask for help when they need it. Perhaps the greatest gift I have received from volunteering for the Center is my own renewed sense of purpose.
Volunteer Position: Senior Services Hello Club
Hometown: Montréal, Canada
Year Started Volunteering at Center: 2020