Like the light through a prism, we have all had to bend to the times that we now face. Not only have we bent, but we have stretched on a personal and professional level to challenge ourselves to create, innovate, and reassess volunteer opportunities at CJE SeniorLife.
In collaborative efforts with other departments, many of our volunteers have been able to adapt their presentations into online offerings. Others have tapped into their creativity and talents to give back to our older adults in new ways, such as teaching Yiddish or narrating a video about a different country. This means volunteers are accessible to more clients and residents than they ever were before. Together, we are broadening our reach into the community.
The biggest shift was made by Home-Delivered Meals drivers who are volunteers. They took on extra work by also becoming friendly callers. The drivers were asked to call the same clients on their route, furthering their relationships. In addition, one of the bright spots to occur during this pandemic has been that several new groups have contacted us to see how they could help CJE provide support to vulnerable seniors. This came in the form of nursing students making friendly calls, individuals making over 400 masks, and young students creating handmade greetings to send messages of joy and hope to every resident.
As a team, the staff in Volunteer Services has adapted and stretched as professionals. Each of us can also share personal stories of growth. This time has allowed us to discover our ability to pivot and be extraordinarily creative, an essential skill for now and the future. We’ve talked about re-visioning the role of volunteers rather than dwelling on what used to be. We’ve likened this to the light going into the prism: It may not produce the results we expected, but what does come out on the other side is often more compelling and beautiful than we might have imagined.
As always, our volunteers continue to be a vibrant resource throughout our multi-faceted organization. With a diverse set of talents, and abundant dedication, they are vital to furthering the mission of CJE.
With sincere thanks,
Manager, Volunteer Services