Ena and Sally

My first memory of participating with Friends Across the Ages was back when I was two or three years old. It was at one of the annual caroling parties Friends holds every year. We had finished singing, and I was walking around with my parents talking to the residents that had gathered in the room for the caroling. One of the residents we visited with told us that her birthday was April 1st, which is the same day as my birthday! Upon hearing this, the kind woman gave me one of the stuffed animals she had with her. I was very fond of stuffed animals at the time an was more than happy to receive this gift. In fact, I still have the stuffed animal today.

Since then I have participated in many of these events, and I have always loved doing them. I feel that they give me an opportunity to brighten people’s day and make the world a little better of a place. And this is not a gesture that requires money or that is limited to only certain people; anyone who has the ability to visit the nursing home can contribute. It’s a simple activity that means a lot to the residents.

My experience as a volunteer has taught me an important lesson about people. No matter who you are, your age, your race, or your financial situation, you are not all that different from everyone else. You can always find something in common to talk about. People are people and there’s no reason that we should be afraid to have a conversation. More than this, everyone deserves to have someone to talk to, someone with whom they can share their thoughts, hopes, and memories. Friends Across the Ages works to ensure that these residents feel cherished and understood by providing volunteers who visit them and can listen to what they have to say. My experience has definitely given me a broader perspective on life and society, by making  me see other people as friends I haven’t made yet rather than strangers.