105 Chauncy St. Suite 801, Boston, MA 02111 friend@fw4elders.org 617-482-1510

Join The Intergenerational Literacy Program

Bringing together grade school children and older adults in Greater Boston. The Intergenerational Literacy Program is an enriching experience with several goals: to enhance literacy, comprehension, and social skills for children, to help children build a sense of understanding and respect for elders, and to decrease elder isolation by creating a space for elders to engage with each other and with children. Through storytelling, hands-on activities, arts & crafts projects, and social interactions, all program members will be rewarded with lasting memories and relationships.

There are 20 spots available for children (currently enrolled in Grade 1, 2, or 3) and 10 spots available for elders age 55+. Beginning in April, we will convene once a week on Saturday mornings at the Presentation School Foundation Community Center in Oak Square.

For additional information or to sign up for the program, please contact Samuel Raymond, Program Coordinator at samuel.psfcc@gmail.com or (203) 219-161. We look forward to hearing from you!

Program Dates (Saturdays 10:00-11:30AM)

  • April 14
  • April 28
  • May 5
  • May 12
  • May 19
  • June 2
  • June 9
  • June 16
  • June 23

This program is made possible through the partnership of the Presentation School Foundation Community Center and FriendshipWorks, who share a mutual mission to enhance the community and quality of life for those living within Greater Boston. Join us to make our mission a reality!


Friend of the Month March 2018

Celebrating One Month as a Volunteer

What does volunteering mean to you?
Barbara:  “To me, volunteering is a chance to get re-involved in the world and it brings me out of isolation. Maybe it also helps someone else. I hope so. I was feeling as though all my skills and talents (such as they are) had been laid aside for my retirement….”

What do you expect to learn from volunteering?
Barbara: “I have already learned a lot! How to manage a wheelchair, how to fold a walker for transport, and how to deflect questions better unanswered.  I expect to learn patience, as I slow down to the speed of the elders I serve. I expect to learn a lot of listening skills. My career had me barking orders…and now it’s the other way around.”

What is your most memorable experience that made you want to give back/volunteer?
Barbara: “The experience that made me want to volunteer was the day I finished assembling a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. As I looked at the finished product I thought, ‘How many hours did I spend doing this, and how wasteful of my time was it?’ It’s not as though I had used it to rest from a busy professional job. No, I realized right then that I needed to find a way to use those problem-solving skills with human problems, and my life and health depended on it. “

What are your hobbies?
Barbara: “I read, sew, decorate and cook all the time. I have a lot of homebody interests. In the spring and summer I camp and hike (short distances!).”

What did you find surprising about your first escort?
Barbara: “As a dyed-in-the wool reticent white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, I was totally surprised when my first elder took my hand and squeezed it.  I hadn’t expected that! And then when she thanked me so profusely for what was, for me, a very small thing, I realized that it had meant something bigger to her.”

What advice would you give someone that is thinking about volunteering?
Barbara: “I’d advise anyone to volunteer doing direct service for others because of the way it makes you feel part of something larger. It is the perfect way to get out of your own head, and think about how someone else feels. It expands everything.”

Friend of the Month February 2018

Gerald and Zipi have been volunteers for over a year!

Gerald talks about how he first met his PetPals companion: “In September of 2015, I was celebrating my Dad’s 94th birthday in Maryland where he had been a resident of a nursing home for 5 years. I stopped at a pet store where I met Zipi and adopted her instantly, thinking that my sister could raise the pup and visit my Dad daily. As luck would have it, she had no interest in raising the dog. To the surprise of my 13 year old Tibetan terrier, she had a new sister.”

Gerald explains how he and Zipi got started with PetPals: “I wanted to have a well-trained dog to do therapy work with, and after 30
years of working in Healthcare, I was cutting back my hours at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I devoted myself, with the help of Animal Rescue League Boston, to train her.  Zipi now has 13 diplomas. FriendshipWorks and PetPals seemed a perfect fit for the two of us. We enjoy the time spent during our visits and keep the memories close to our hearts.”

Gerald and Zipi’s first experience as volunteers: “Our first match was Ellis Adult Daycare. From the first day, Zipi thrived with the
attention and love showed by the clients and staff.  Each person that we connected with felt they owned a part of her.  My first
interaction was with a stranger who looked at my dog, opened her arms, and said ‘Give me that baby!’ I will never forget the smile she wore, the sweet embrace she gave Zipi, and the stories she told of her past dog.  Each week we were greeted with hair brushing–hers not mine–song singing, colored pictures, and connections I will always treasure.”

Gerald talks about his other hobbies: “Photography is one of my passions and many clients wanted photos with Zipi.  For Birthdays, I would take photos and frame them with a card for their special day.  Unfortunately, Ellis closed the day before my Birthday; however, I was included in a wonderful catered lunch that was such a special conclusion to a year I treasure.”

Gerald mentions how he gives back to FriendshipWorks: “On my birthday this year, I used Facebook to raise funds for FriendshipWorks and hoped to reach a goal of $200. By December 31, with the help of many friends, I was able to raise $780. I realized years ago that many people are isolated or disconnected from the world. I have seen my dog put a smile on a sad face and I have watched her tail wag so fast you would think it would fly off her body.”

Gerald where he and Zipi are today: “I now have a new assignment at an assisted living facility and our first impression is that we have found a home there.  Someone profound once said, ‘If you can touch the life of someone new, there is unlimited joy for you and that person.’  I am so grateful that PetPals opened that door for us.”

Friend of the Month January 2018

Chenyu has been volunteering for 1 year!

Chenyu is FriendshipWorks’ January 2018 Friend of the Month! He is a volunteer who works in the administration office managing and building Salesforce (the central database system). We like to say he is our Salesforce expert!

We asked Chenyu why he chose to volunteer for FriendshipWorks. He replied, “It’s a great place for me to learn how to use and manage Salesforce in a well-built organization and practice my skills in real-world situations.”

“I am also a Friendly Visiting volunteer,” says Chenyu, “I see how much elders need care and companions in their lives. I believe if there are more and more people that join us to help elders; we can bring more happiness and love to this world.”

Chenyu is matched with 88-year-old Barbara, an elder who is the same age as his grandma. “She is very happy when I visit her. She was excited when I told her I was about to become a dad in March. Barbara and her daughter gave me valuable advice on how to plan a baby shower and how to raise a baby.”

Chenyu works closely with many of the staff here at FriendshipWorks. Operations Manager, Diana, says, “We are so lucky to have Chenyu as a volunteer! He is up for anything and has infinite patience for our persnickety Salesforce questions. He always has a smile on his face AND he volunteers with our elders AND he volunteers for additional tasks when no one else can step up. He’s amazing! “

Friend of the Month December 2017

Tasha has been volunteering for 3 years!

Why do you volunteer for FriendshipWorks?
Tasha: “I volunteer for FriendshipWorks because I value intergenerational interactions and I think that helping to minimize elder isolation is really important. I really enjoy my visits with my elder friend, Resurreccion, and have learned a lot through her stories and wisdom.”

What have you learned from your experiences?
Tasha: “I have learned so much about what Boston was like during the 1950’s and about Resurreccion’s experience as an immigrant. It is very interesting to exchange stories about our working lives and to realize how different our experiences have been. “

What is your most memorable experience as a volunteer?
Tasha: “I really enjoyed taking my elder friend to the Museum of Fine Arts. We had a nice walk around the antiquities wing and watched an Indian dance performance during the Diwali festival.”

“Though I know I am only one person, I think that my position as a volunteer can help raise awareness about elder isolation.”

 Fun fact:
“My elder and I were both born in Bogota, Colombia and my elder made me a summer sundress with her sewing machine!”

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