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DOROT - Addressing The Challenges Of An Aging Society

In 1976 a group of graduate students and alumni from Columbia University on New York City's Upper West Side became concerned about elderly homebound neighbors who were isolated in their apartments within the community. They joined together and began to visit them, delivering meals and spending time in conversation. The relationships grew. Bonds were formed. This was the seed for a now large program in the area whose focus is on Aging Services and Volunteerism. They named their program Dorot which is the Hebrew word for Generations.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
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                            DOROT - GENERATIONS

DOROT WEBSITE

A multi service agency addressing the challenges of an aging society.
 
A faith based initiative providing outreach services and programming to the home bound and mobile elderly, as well as volunteer opportunities, to all within the greater community.

Alleviates social isolation.

Brings generations together.

Provides services to the elderly so that they can live independently as valued members of their community.

Supports and guides volunteers of all ages.

Innovates, addressing creatively the needs of the elderly and the volunteer communities.

VOLUNTEER SERVICES 
Customized to -  meet the needs, incorporate talents, work around scheduling, of all volunteers as well as servicing the elderly.

Youth Volunteer Services 
College Volunteer Services
Programs for teens, college age, and young professionals.  
Programs emphasize friendship, shared interests and the capacity of people of all ages to learn from each other.

Hear Their Stories
Meet Abraham - Teen Volunteer
Meet Rebecca - Teen Volunteer
Meet Zayfer - Young Adult Volunteer

"The Word " - Teen Blog

Next Generation Teen Council

Activities include:
Shopping together
Home visits
Computer training
Oral History Projects
Mentoring
Arts Programs
Intergenerational Chess Club
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner Young Professionals Program

SENIOR PROGRAMMING
Friendly Visiting Program
Homelessness Prevention Program
Kosher Meals for the Homebound Program
Shop and Escort
Wellness Classes on site - nutrition, health, and exercise classes!
Cafe, Meals together on site.
Hand in Hand - Arts Program.

"University Without Walls"
    Telephone Conferencing Program -  The home bound elderly can join in classes lead by professionals, and volunteers, on subjects such as history, health, current events, and the arts.  In this way they can interact, join lively discussions, make friends and learn with others.  One can participate from anywhere in the USA.  (offered in English and Russian languages)

Telephone Access Program for Caregivers of the Elderly
Providing for information access and support from other caregivers.


WHAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM THIS MODEL PROGRAM?

Identify issues that youth are concerned about close to home!
Dorot was started by youth in graduate school.  They identified a need in their immediate community and joined together to find solutions.   

Enlist youth in using innovation to find solutions.  Youth are all about innovation and technology.  Home bound elders with active minds want to learn and socialize.  University Without Walls!

Look to communities within communities as resources to find and engage youth -  What communities of youth are in place that can be tapped as a resource for mentoring programs for seniors?  In this case it is a faith based community that is reaching a wider community.  Where else do youth congregate together?

The importance of support, facilitation, feedback and guidance for youth that volunteer in a program such as this:
Volunteers, especially youth, need guidance, support from facilitators, and mechanisms in place to reflect on their experiences.  This appears to be built into the programming at Dorot.  The website has blogs and interviews which share stories that reflect this.







  

 

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