Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:
Lisa Wolfman - September 2014
Lisa Wolfman, a 29-year-old Personnel Assistant and graduate student at California State University of Sacramento, loved volunteering at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (SFBFS)’ annual Run to Feed the Hungry but wanted to commit to volunteering more than once a year.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology, Lisa is working towards a career in helping seniors. “As you get older,” she explains, “you begin to lose your cognitive ability, which can affect your ability to communicate with others.” The Senior program at SFBFS focuses on the importance of nutrition and social interaction for seniors who do not have families or friends nearby and have limited access to senior-oriented resources. The program strives to serve isolated seniors by empowering them to get involved in their community and access services and programs that will help them maintain their independence, become more active and healthy, and build relationships with their volunteer visitors. This is how Lisa met Jeanette.
Lisa and Jeanette, matched based on their compatibility, have been friends now for 6 months. “I love going to Jeanette’s house!” Lisa reveres. “When I come over, she asks me to tell her all about my day. We share stories from our lives and she cares a lot! She has made a great effort getting to know me and making a friend.” Jeanette, a retired nurse, and Lisa spend most of their visits just talking and laughing. “I have a real passion for helping the elderly,” says Lisa. I just think they are so wise and that we can learn so much from each other. Jeanette gives me support that’s different than what I get from my parents or husband. She gives me an outside perspective, and, at the same time, treats me like family.”
SFBFS’ Senior Program Manager, Marie-Louise Nelson, says Lisa and Jeanette are an ideal match. “It just lightens my heart to see the kind of connections that can be made across generations.” With more than 130 matches made in the community since its inception 3 years ago, the Senior program today has 45 regular volunteers who visit their seniors twice a month. Before one of their visits each month, the volunteer can stop by SFBFS’ Oak Park facility and pick up a box of fresh, local produce catered to the dietary needs of their senior. “I brought Jeanette flowers once and it made her so happy!” Lisa shared. “She is so grateful to receive the fresh produce, especially apples. She’s on a special diet but she can eat the food SFBFS assembles for her.”
What would seniors in our community do without volunteers like Lisa? “I feel like every person, no matter how old, just wants someone to talk to, someone to be and open and honest with. And I think that I volunteer because, as a person, I need that too. Not just seniors. When I leave Jeanette’s house, I just feel so happy about our friendship. I don’t even look at it as volunteering.”
Are you interested in changing lives in your community? Visit our Web site today for a list of volunteer positions and their descriptions.
Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights: