Volunteer Spotlight: Pamela from ‘New Friend’

There are more than 300 people involved with volunteer programs at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SECS), helping out with nutrition, medical appointments and companionship, to name a few.

In honor of National Volunteer Month, SCES is highlighting some of our dedicated people who are doing important work in our community. 

Pamela Worth has been an SCES volunteer with our New Friend program since 2006. We recently caught up with Worth to say thanks, and to ask a few quick questions…

Pamela Worth (right) has been an SCES volunteer with our New Friend program since 2006

Q Tell us about your New Friend.

A She’s an extraordinary person. She left Vietnam in the early 1990s to move here at age 75, not speaking a word of English. She went to English language classes, she became a citizen, and she lives with her daughter and son-in-law. I can’t imagine the courage it takes to start over at 75. And she’ll be 98 next month!

Q What do you do?

A When we first started spending time together, she was a lot more mobile. I was 25, and she was using a walker. We’d go on walks, I’d take her to Walgreens, we would go out to eat. I learned to be really attentive to what she needs. For her to trust me that much, that I wouldn’t let her fall or make her walk up a curb by herself – that was so meaningful for me. In the last couple of years, her mobility has decreased. So now I go over to her house and we watch sports. When she turned 95, her temple in Braintree held a celebration for her, and my partner and I were invited by her family to come. It was great to see how much everyone honors her, and to be considered part of the family.

Q Why do you volunteer?

A I guess I feel like a very fortunate person and I was looking for ways I could give back. I lost two of my grandparents before I was born, and the other two passed away when I was young. Volunteering as a New Friend is quite special. I’m afraid I’ll never stop, because I love it so much.

The New Friend Program matches volunteers with isolated older adults in their homes to    provide companionship, share interests and hobbies, and share their experiences. For more information about New Friend, or any of our other volunteer programs, call 617-628-2601, x3051 or send an e-mail to vol@eldercare.org.