Summer Interns Bring Added Vitality to DOROT Programs for the Elderly

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While assisting isolated seniors, high school and college students gain valuable skills.

DOROT Summer College Interns 2013

As DOROT’s Summer Interns carry their experiences forward in their academic, professional and personal lives, they will help build a better and more caring community for older adults.

High school and university students will add their energy and enthusiasm to DOROT’s programs this summer as part of the agency’s cohort of annual Summer Interns.

The program, which runs from June through August, offers dozens of interns a variety of opportunities to interact with the elderly, assist DOROT’s staff, gain leadership skills, and learn how a nonprofit agency operates.

High School Interns will participate with seniors in an intergenerational theater program, sharing personal stories that will become the basis for original short plays they will write and perform together. They will also make personal visits to frail seniors at home, celebrate birthdays with them, and introduce them to computer skills. Some will interview and photograph the seniors they visit, then create profiles of them for a “Living Histories” exhibit. Others will conduct teleconference sessions with homebound seniors to discuss materials read by all the participants, exchanging opinions and ideas informed by their diverse experiences.

This year’s College Summer Interns are from Alfred, Bard, Binghamton, Brown, Bryn Mawr, Connecticut, Hunter, John Jay, Queens, and York (Pennsylvania). They will assist staff in every department of the agency and interact with frail seniors in a variety of DOROT programs. These engagement opportunities include home visits, teaching computer skills, accompanying frail elders to the gravesites of loved ones, and singing with DOROT’s senior chorus. The interns will also join seniors participating in a weekly program for people with mild memory loss.    

DOROT Summer Interns bring with them a personal affinity for the elderly and an awareness of the needs of this growing population. “I really enjoy helping elderly people, and getting to hear each of their life stories,” said one college student. “If you take the time, you can learn so much from an elderly person.” Another noted, “I think about what will happen when my parents reach 65 and if they will have a good life or not, and I want to do everything I can to make sure that they will have a good life along with other senior citizens.”

In addition to enhancing the lives of the elderly, Summer Interns gain valuable insights that sometimes help them in making career decisions. After a successful 2012 Intern season, one college intern called her experience at DOROT “eye-opening” because she learned the importance of alleviating social isolation among the frail aged living in their own homes.

“As DOROT’s Summer Interns carry their experiences forward in their academic, professional and personal lives, they will help build a better and more caring community for older adults,” said DOROT Executive Director Mark L. Meridy.

Since 1976, DOROT has worked to alleviate social isolation among the elderly and provide services to help them live independently as valued members of the community. We serve the Jewish and wider community, bringing the generations together in a mutually beneficial partnership of elders, volunteers and professionals.

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Catherine DiTuri
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