Do you have a few hours to spare? Would you like to put those hours to good use in a mutually beneficial way? FriendshipWorks thoughtfully matches volunteers with older adults for short - and long-term volunteer opportunities to provide assistance and to build friendships. Yes, you can make an impact in an older adult's life by volunteering with FriendshipWorks! Imagine your call, visit, or assistance making such an impact that it is life-changing. Why? Because studies show that creating connections reduces social isolation and its ill effects on older adults thereby improving their quality of life and well-being.
But did you know that our volunteers also benefit from spending time with their match? Volunteers report that they:
- Gained a sense of purpose
- Received the gift of friendship
- Felt connected and less lonely
- Filled a void left by the loss of a loved one
- Were reinvigorated by making an impact in their community
- Learned resilience and perseverance particularly while volunteering during the pandemic
We have many opportunities available, and invite you to look through our program listing below to see if there is a particular fit for you, a family member, colleague, or friend. We look forward to hearing from you!
Don’t see what you’re looking for but still want to volunteer? Please go to our Contact Us page and select the coordinator for the program you would like to contact.
What Opportunities Are Available?
Friendly Visiting: Friendly Visitors develop one-on-one relationships with older adults. They visit once a week to drink coffee or tea, share stories, go for walks or do errands together or assist with small tasks. Over time, both people grow and learn from each other, often becoming good friends. While most visiting is in person, opportunities for visiting by telephone exist. Serving Boston, Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, Somerville. We ask for a commitment of 1-2 hours/week for 9-12 months. Visits can be scheduled based on your and the older adult's schedule.
Medical Escorts: Our Medical Escorts offers comfort, reassurance, and mobility/navigation assistance to elders beginning inside the home, continuing to the doctor’s office and appointment room, and ending with a safe return back inside the home. Serving Boston and Brookline. Weekday availability is required and usually, a 3-4 hour block of time is needed for door-to-door medical escorts. We ask for a minimum of a 6-9 month commitment. Volunteers with and without cars are welcome.
Friendly Helpers: Volunteers provide short-term assistance to older adults who have a specific need but no one to help them. Activities might include: helping with organization, seasonal tasks, errands, or picking up library books. Serving Boston and Brookline. Volunteers should expect to spend 1-3 hours per task. We ask volunteers to commit to 3 “helps” during a 6-month period. These helps can usually be based on the volunteer's schedule.
PetPals: This pet visitation program brings volunteers and their pets to visit older adults living in long-term care facilities. Serving Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge. Volunteers make weekly visits based on their schedules. We ask for a 9-12 month commitment. Please see our Volunteer applications page for dog and cat requirements.
What’s the process for becoming a volunteer?
- Complete and submit the volunteer application online
- You will be contacted by a FriendshipWorks staff member to confirm your interest, availability, and arrange an interview. (Please Make sure to check your spam folder for any communication.)
- Schedule an interview with a coordinator
- Review and complete paperwork, including a CORI background check
- Attend a volunteer program training
- If you want to volunteer with your pet, your pet will also need to pass our scheduled screening with an animal behaviorist and fill out our PetPals Volunteer Application.
Who’s eligible to volunteer?
- 15+ for Friendly Helping; 18+ for all other in-person programs
- Must pass a CORI background check
- Be willing to make a minimum of a 6-12 month commitment depending on the program (see below)
- Have flexible hours of service but some programs require weekday availability (see below)
- No car is needed
What happens after I’ve been screened and attended a training?
- Matches for Medical Escort and Friendly Helping can become available quickly. Your program coordinator will contact you directly with specific opportunities after you complete the training process.
- For Friendly Visiting, you can expect a match within 2-6 weeks. Matches are based on geography, availability, and the interests and preferences of both the elder and the volunteer. You and a FriendshipWorks staff member generally attend the first visit to your elder together.
- Screening of pets is held quarterly for the PetPals program. Matches will be made following the pet screening. A PetPals liaison at your placement will meet you on your first visit to a facility.
How does FriendshipWorks promote a safe and inclusive environment?
FriendshipWorks strives to create a diverse and inclusive culture where everyone feels welcome and supported. FriendshipWorks provides equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, religion or creed, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, veteran status, disability, physical appearance, or ability. We endeavor to create an environment where all those who engage with us feel safe and welcome.
Internally, FriendshipWorks contracted with a consultant to help us assess the next steps to ensure that we create a welcoming and inclusive environment for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. In addition, FriendshipWorks contracted with YW (InclusionBoston) on an 18-month engagement on DEI and has resulted in changes to our operational practices, volunteer recruitment and training, employee hiring, marketing, and outreach initiatives. We consider this an ongoing process and welcome input from our constituents.
If you would like more information about our protocol regarding our work with older adults and volunteers, please click here.
Necesitamos voluntarias que hablen español!
Visit our Contact Us page for staff emails or phone numbers.
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