Volunteers staying connected during the pandemic

Helen Yarad is one of the volunteers at Montefiore

Dedicated volunteers continue to nurture connections, including Helen Yarad with her online discussion group for Hunters Hill residents.

I started volunteering at Hunters Hill nearly 18 years ago. My son worked there casually after he finished high school and wisely thought I would like to join the team of volunteers. I run a discussion group every Monday, where we discuss subjects that are current and a little controversial, often challenging. I enjoy doing a group like this as it reflects my own interests and passions. Regardless of our age and circumstances, I believe we need to stay connected and think about how life is evolving – both at a personal and wider level.

When I first started the group more than 10 years ago, it was often quite heated. There were a couple of lively and very vocal attendees with opposing views on almost everything! Although the group is much more sedate these days, I find it helps give structure to proceedings. Now, everyone has a chance to share their thoughts.

With the challenges of COVID, we have switched to a Zoom format and share some video content for discussion too. I couldn’t do it without [Volunteer Coordinator] Jane Silverman setting up everything at her end and keeping it running smoothly.

Although I enjoy using technology, I miss actually seeing and chatting to the residents. I can’t get close enough to see their expressions on video. And I dare not think how my face looks for the residents on the huge TV screen at their end!

Continuing remotely has helped me through lockdown, too. Preparing the topic and connecting with the residents gives a rhythm and structure to my week.

To learn more about our dedicated team of volunteers at Montefiore, or to apply to become a volunteer, click here

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