DOROT has helped me become more aware of those around me. It has made me want to help and spread joy to others. DOROT makes me appreciate those I have, my family and friends. It has taught me that it is possible to make a difference in the world. By being there for others creates positives change in someone’s life. Everyone gives back in their own way, what DOROT has taught me about myself is that working with others and seeing the happiness you can bring into someone’s life is how I am able to give back and feel like I made a positive change. We are all just living our own lives and it makes it a whole lot easier being surrounded by people that care about us. I have learned so much here but I would say what I have benefited most from this internship is how it has effected me as a person, and the life lessons I have learned this summer.
Yesterday I had the opportunity of attending the “New York stands with Israel Community Wide Rally.” It was a really great experience to see so many people joining together all in support of the same goal! During the rally I was standing in a spot that had a lot of traffic from people entering and exiting the perimeters of the rally; and at that spot there was a big ledge that people had to climb over in order to walk through. I realized that at this rally all ages were being represented! Several seniors needed assistance in getting over this ledge that was in their path. I held out my hand to help balance these seniors so that they felt comfortable stepping over the ledge. The seniors were so appreciative and it felt warm inside to be helping them. In the back of my mind I realized that I was taking the ideals and lessons that DOROT has taught me and I was applying it to an everyday situation. DOROT has a way of changing one’s perspective on the aging population, and they have most certainly changed my perspective!
Last week I sat in on Kol DOROT and was able to listen to the seniors (and sing along) as they practiced for their upcoming concert. Every senior seemed to gain so much enjoyment from the program and you could tell that the songs light up their life. I am extremely excited for the upcoming concert at the Jewish Home and I know the seniors are as well! This experience reminded me of when I used to sing in High School and made me miss it. I hope that I can begin to get involved with singing more when I go back to school, or at least pick it up again for fun. I can’t believe we only have 8 days left here. It is such a surreal feeling to be coming close to the end!
It feels strange to say that the Game Day I have been working hard to plan for weeks is finally over! After calling all the seniors for their feedback on the event, I can happily report that everyone had a great time and was glad they came to Dorot for Game Day! The best compliment I received was that Game Day was “different and really something special.” After reworking the plans for the day entirely, changing up both what games we would play and how we would set up the room, it really did turn out to be something completely unique and amazing. Instead of walking into an ordinary room with some chess boards and a deck of cards, as the seniors may have been expecting, they stepped into a room filled with bright colors, balloons, sparkling confetti, excited teen and college interns, delicious snacks and new games. As they played “Headbands” and “Make a Memory” the teens and seniors alike were smiling, exchanging stories and making new lasting memories. As these games in particular are very interactive, they encouraged the teens and seniors to really engage and therefore get to know each other better. After everyone had left, I walked around the room collecting garbage, gathering the balloons, and boxing away the games. As I cleaned up, the excitement and happiness from Game Day still felt palpable around me. I reflected on all the smiles, the “thank you’s”, the pictures we took, the conversations we shared and I felt truly ecstatic. There really is no better feeling than knowing that you helped make someone’s day. Every day that I work at Dorot I feel like I am helping in some way, but actually being able to see the work I do making a difference in someone’s life is another level of satisfaction and joy entirely. Seeing this Game Day go so well, I feel revitalized in my work and excited to work on the next Game Day!
It is so great to be able to work with seniors in so many different settings; from their home, to the office, to the cemetery, it is interesting to work with seniors and see how they are in different locations. One thing that has always caught my attention is their livelihood when they speak of their loved ones, no matter the location.
Last week, I assisted a senior to the cemetery to visit his late wife. He said so many great things about her and the life they lived together. He asked for some privacy to speak with his wife. When he got back he mentioned that he told her about his life now, their children, and told her stories. From the way he spoke about her, I could tell that she was a magnificent woman.
Additionally, when I did a cook and dine at a seniors home, she spoke of extremely pleasant things about her late husband, too. They met when they both taught at a school. He saw her from the back and realized then that she was the woman he would marry. He then pursued her and they fell in love. And she said that she always tells her children that she “gave them the best father.”
It is so nice to hear about stories of lasting love!
Today, while on the phone with a senior, I asked him about his marital status. He said “I had 40 years of a remarkable marriage. I treasured every moment–we were soul mates. I would really say it was a special relationship. We had differences of course, but we never had bitter arguments or anything. We were just so well together-our interests were in common and she was just a fantastic woman spiritually, politically, and emotionally, and of course I have to say she was a great cook too. I had everything, and I feel I was blessed. It was great fortune that we met.”
Even though I have never met this man or his late wife, his description of her brought their relationship to life and took my breath away.
This week was our final week (technically) with cemetery visits. After witnessing and working on everything that goes into this project I am so happy to say that it was a huge success. My visit yesterday and trip to the cemetery with two seniors Ms. B and Ms. K went extremely well. The ladies were both super friendly, chatting all the way to the cemeteries and back, and so grateful for everything that DOROT does. I am really glad to know that everyone enjoyed their visits to the cemetery and that the rain held out! It really makes it worthwhile to see a project from the beginning to the end! This was one of the main projects I have worked on during my time here and DOROT and I can’t believe it is already over. This internship is flying by way too fast.