Length of Volunteering: 1 year, 8 months
What do you and your match like to do during your meetings?
We always spend time just talking about our weeks, our families, and interests. It’s amazing how quickly time can pass once we get to talking. When it’s nice out we would sit on her porch and just enjoy time together in the warm weather. Maria loves the summer!
What have you learned from your match and what have they learned from you?
The beauty of intergenerational friendship is that there is so much to learn from your friend and from their perspective. Maria emigrated from rural Italy in the 1950s to Brighton, where she has been in the neighborhood ever since. Hearing her talk about her story, how she got here, and how much Boston has changed fascinates me. She’s also taught me a few words in Italian! I travel frequently, so wherever I go in the world I get Maria a souvenir and explain where I got it from – she really loves hearing those stories and seeing the photos I take.
What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?
Several months into our visits, Maria brought out some old family photo books and we went through them together. Seeing her eyes light up as she told me all about her siblings who are spread throughout Europe was such a treat. This is my favorite memory so far because I knew that it was an important milestone in our friendship. I knew it could take a lot of vulnerability for her to share that part of her life with me, and talk about her family who she hasn’t seen in a very long time because of the distance.
What future activities are you looking forward to doing with your match?
Since Maria enjoys the warm weather so much, we’re really looking forward to finally getting outside. At our last visit we talked about going to a nearby park and having a little picnic, once it gets warmer.
Why do you volunteer with FriendshipWorks?
I really believe in the power of intergenerational friendships. Ever since I was a kid, I gravitated to those who were much older than me because I loved hearing their stories. I was looking for volunteer opportunities with older adults and heard of FriendshipWorks which was a perfect fit. I’m so grateful to FriendshipWorks for matching me with such a sweet, kind, and wonderful friend. Seeing Maria is absolutely the highlight of my week, and at this point, we don’t just feel like friends, we’re family.
Any additional comments:
Keep doing what you are all doing. This is a wonderful organization and I’m so happy to be a part of it.