Happy National Volunteer Week! East Side Elders relies on an incredible team of volunteers – drivers, nurses, students, snow shovelers, friendly visitors and callers, and so much more. With their help, we work to support older adults living on the East Side of Saint Paul. To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we are putting the spotlight on one of our volunteers, Emily:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you started volunteering with East Side Elders.
I am a life-long east side resident (JHS class of ’95) who counts volunteering as one of my favorite hobbies. Thrifting is a close second! I am married and have no kids (unless you count furkids – our pit bull mix Pip just turned 10 and is a world-champion snuggler). I do data and project management work for a nonprofit called the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging. We are most famous for running the Senior LinkAge Line and Medicare educational presentations. I am very committed to helping older adults age safely and successfully in their communities. I guess it’s easy to see why I started volunteering with East Side Elders. I started shoveling during January 2018 and have been making weekly trips to the grocery store with my new friend since April that same year.
What have you found most rewarding about volunteering with older adults?
Helping reduce isolation, which has a huge potential to build hope and sustain happiness.
Why do you think it’s important to help our senior neighbors remain an active part of the community?
Quite simply, because it’s their community, too. They helped build it through their contributions. A community is a living, breathing thing that requires all generations to thrive. It is where, like everyone else, older adults have made their home. And they should be nurtured by it for as long as humanly possible.
What are you most excited about as we head into spring?
Baby birds, green grass, the smell of flowers, and Easter candy!