Thank you for helping us bring joy, support, and meaningful connection to over 1,300 older adults this year in Greater Boston, Brookline, Newton, Somerville, and Cambridge. I am pleased to share this report with you. It highlights some of the ways you are making communities safer for those aging alone and experiencing loneliness or isolation by gifting them with life-affirming friendships, purpose, and dignity. Every action you undertook by either donating, volunteering, or advocating for FriendshipWorks made an impact, and enables us to reduce social isolation and sustain our critical programming for older adults in need. I share my deep gratitude with you for being on this incredible journey with us!
Experts continue to expound on what we here at FriendshipWorks have known for decades—that friendship is vital to the physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being of older adults, particularly those who live alone or without family or strong social connections. After all, we thrive when we are surrounded by folks who love and care about us, and your compassion and involvement with FriendshipWorks makes this beautiful support system for our elders possible.
Your kindness has also given our 550 volunteers the opportunity to reap the benefits of learning and growing—both spiritually and intellectually—from the wisdom, lived experiences, and different perspectives of their elder friends in ways they never thought imaginable. Yes, you have transformed hundreds of lives, and I encourage you to visit www.fw4elders.org to continue reading more about the ways your support is creating connections and community at every level.
Yours in friendship,
Janet Seckel-Cerrotti, Executive Director
Program Highlights FY2022
Your support in FY2022 helped us create connections for 1,300 older adults including Friendly Visiting match Carol Haas, and her volunteer Shivani Shah. A member of the FriendshipWorks community for 20 years, Carol wrote to us recently expressing her gratitude for Shivani’s friendship, which helped her get through a challenging time. Carol writes:
“Shivani and I never even laid eyes on each other for the first 18 months of our blossoming friendship, as along with COVID restrictions, I was hospitalized for nearly two months. Yet this determined young person wasn’t going to let any of that get in our way. Shivani called me frequently in the hospital, offering a friendly, kind voice reassuring me all would work out. What a gift! That voice became so dear to me. Finally, we got to meet each other in person, instantly recognizing each other at a distance simply by our bond forged by those telephone chats. I am so proud of her and pleased to call her a friend as well as to share this journey we call life.”
Thanks to you, over 500 elders benefited from having weekly visits with a caring volunteer as part of our Friendly Visiting program. After the loss of her husband and son, Altagracia was feeling lonely and isolated. She was matched with Fernando, who was settling into Boston to teach at Tufts University, away from his family in Mexico. Both enjoy speaking Spanish and sharing their cultural heritage together. “Si. Esta muy bien,” Altagracia says. “Fernando is like a son to me.”
Not too many patients would tell you that going to the dentist was an exhilarating event, but for Judy Jackson, the experience proved to be just that, thanks to the assistance and support of her Medical Escort volunteer Laura. In fact, on the ride home, Judy announced, “My life changed today!” and repeatedly thanked Laura for her companionship and calm assurances roundtrip in the car ride, and inside the waiting room. Thanks to supporters like you, 287 trips like Judy’s were safely made, ensuring elders could receive the care they needed, and get back to scheduling appointments and medical procedures they had delayed for months due to COVID.
Woof! Over 400 older adults in Boston experienced the unconditional love and joy of a pet, thanks to you and the help of PetPals volunteers like Susan Mulski. Says Susan: “Visiting with my dog is so simple, it takes one hour out of my week. After each visit I always feel I’ve done something worthwhile. It also puts things in perspective in my own life. With the residents, even if we don’t speak the same language, we share the joy of interacting with my dog.”
Because of you, over 100 older adults who needed a little extra help to remain independent were able to accomplish a task, errand, or chore with a Friendly Helper. “From the bottom of my heart I want to thank you. I had to wait months for a prescription due to not having anyone to pick it up until FriendshipWorks.” – Emma, Program recipient
Together, Goddard House Community Initiatives and MusicWorks helped 315 older adults connect with each other and experience the joy of music through zumba, dancing, and playing musical instruments with multicultural musicians and performers. “Thank you for giving us old souls joy, one song at a time.” – Enid, MusicWorks participant
Thank You to our Benefactors:
Sandra & Anita Albright
Toby Axelrod & Larry Marks
Joan DeNapoli-Byrne & Patrick Byrne
Dean K. Denniston, Jr.
Joy & Robert Fallon
Catherine & Fulvio Fabrizi
Meghan & Paul Lynch
Mary Jane Moreau & Scott Smith
Kyle Robidoux & Jill Kimmel
Alice Tobin Zaff
Congratulations to Emily Kozak, recipient of the David Libby Award in Service to Older People
FriendshipWorks Volunteer Emily Kozak personifies what this award stands for: selflessness, energy, and concern for elders. For almost three years, she has provided friendship and support to her match Kate. Emily explained, “I went into this experience thinking of what I was going to do for others, not realizing the profound impact that meeting Kate was going to have on me. She’s become a true friend and confidante.” Kate told us: “She has made quite a difference in my life. Emily is like a sister, I love her.”
Dana Farber Cancer Institute
VPNE Parking Solutions
Mt. Pleasant Home
Boston Medical Center
Central Boston Elder Services
The Cambridge Homes
Home Mobility Pros
In Kind Donations
JP Honk Band