Most of us know that volunteering has multiple benefits for improving the quality of our lives, and that couldn’t be truer here at Kavod. We have a robust volunteer program run by staff member Rebecca Gershten and she can attest to some specific positive outcomes from both residents and community members who get involved as volunteers.
According to Rebecca, individuals who contact Kavod about volunteering are often seeking ways to connect with older adults and make a difference. Many times families are spread throughout the country which can create limited contact with parents or grandparents and those bonds are inherently missed. People can plug in and restore connections with older adults by helping with English as a second language for our non-native English speakers on campus, provide creative expression, offer companionship, and add wellness activities, to name a few.
Some of our most powerful volunteer programs center on intergenerational activities between children or young adults and our residents. Both groups are at risk of experiencing social isolation, depression and stress due to life choices and cultural pressures. Kavod invites community teens for activities like baking together where participants can share memories around food; these activities show positive outcomes for everyone involved. Young people find surprising similarities to older adults and are drawn to the wisdom, affection and storytelling from residents; in the same vein, residents enjoy the youth, vigor and new technology coming from their young new friends. Residents also always love challenging outsiders to Wii bowling competitions, and they rarely- if ever – lose.
Kavod additionally just instilled a new program on campus called Opening Minds Through Art (OMA), where teens and young adults work with Kavod’s Assisted Living residents or individuals battling early signs of dementia. Residents find relaxation and memory through the art-making process, and the resulting pieces are amazingly beautiful!
The most active group of volunteers on the Kavod campus are our residents themselves, giving back to their own community! Residents also help welcome other residents, run beneficial programs such as our free food program, assist with translation and provide companionship for others. One of our residents takes it upon herself to sweep the pavement after big storms before the maintenance crew gets there to keep it tidy and looking nice, an example of the pride our residents take in living here. Kavod celebrates all campus volunteers with a big banquet in the summer as a thank you for contributing so much to our campus for the good of everyone who comes through our doors.
Overall, volunteering from both groups shows benefits in:
- Decreased sense of social isolation and depression
- A sense of purpose, stress relief and increased happiness
- Connection with others, creating community
Volunteer opportunities at Kavod Senior Life are plentiful and yet we always welcome new ideas, skills and talents, as well as partnerships with outside groups for more formal collaborations. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Rebecca at 720-382-7820 or by email.