Enriching Lives As We Age

Student beats summertime blues at Rosener House

Pooja Goel, 16 and a student at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, has been volunteering at Rosener House Adult Day Center since she was in eighth grade.

Rosener House, a program of Peninsula Volunteers, Inc., is a model adult day program that provides therapeutic activities to older adults facing challenges and limitations including Alzheimer’s and other dementia, early memory loss, stroke, as well as other chronic conditions. What began as a parental directive became passion for the honor student who started a club specifically to benefit the Rosener House participants. On any given Wednesday, the students can be found helping serve lunch, working on art projects and in general helping the participants enjoy their Rosener House experience.

 

Here is Pooja’s experience in her own words: I started volunteering at the Rosener House when I was in 8th grade. My mom was tired of seeing me sitting around at home all day during the summer, so she forced me to look for something better to do with my time. I searched up “volunteering opportunities” in the bay area, and came across the Rosener House. The first day I arrived, I sat in a room and put letters into envelopes for a mass mailing; it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be. I was disappointed to hear that I wouldn’t be able to interact with the seniors as I hoped, but nonetheless, I came back the next day. I started coming in more and more, and I got to know all of the staff members. They all were so passionate about what they did, and I learned something new every day. Pretty soon it didn’t matter whether I was filing or entering in data in the computer, because I knew that I was making a difference in the lives of others. Before I knew it, I was able to interact with the participants, and I can honestly say that becoming friends with them has been one of the most eye opening experiences in my life. I have heard war veterans talk about their pain in WW2, and I have heard someone tell me about their journeys as a former journalist. Although many of the participants have dementia, they are always willing to have a great time. Seeing them get so excited by the littlest things in life has allowed me to look at the brighter side of things. I cannot even imagine how hard it must be for them to not be able to remember the details in their life, but they still make the best out of every situation. This year I started a club in my school and we come to the Rosener House almost every Wednesday to do various activities with the participants. I wanted to share my experiences with others, and allow them to form the amazing bonds I did. Everyone absolutely loved it, and we look forward to continuing our partnership next year!

For more information about Peninsula Volunteers, Inc., Rosener House, visit www.penvol.org or call 650.322.012

Castilleja high school students visit participants at Rosener House Adult Day center. They belong to a school club that supports Rosener House

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