The following is a guest post from the Legacy Corps for Veterans & Military Families AmeriCorps program, written by Rita Liebel.
Alan Newmark became an AmeriCorps volunteer through Alpert Jewish Family Service in West Palm Beach, Florida. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Lake Worth, Florida in 2008. Upon retirement, Alan decided that he wanted to help seniors in the community, and after learning about the program, he took the steps to become an AmeriCorps volunteer. This was Alan’s first experience as a volunteer and he ambitiously took on 2 clients. This was the beginning of a series of enriching experiences and new friendships for Alan.
Alan speaks very fondly of his first client, a 45 year old man, who is cognitively impaired and has a fascination with firehouses. Alan made it possible for his client to experience the excitement of visiting several firehouses throughout the area, and it became part of their routine and a favorite activity. Their match ended after 2 years, but they still stay in touch and continue their friendship.
Alan’s second client is an 80 year old veteran and Holocaust survivor, who is legally blind. He lives with his beloved black lab and although legally blind, loves to play golf. Playing golf has become part of their regular activities, along with food shopping and running errands. They’ve become very comfortable with their friendship, seeing each other 3 times a week.
Alan said that he appreciates the opportunity to get his client out of the house to enjoy his favorite activities and decrease his social isolation. Alan laughed when asked about any challenges in the match. He replied, “The loud arguments with him when we talk about politics, they get really loud!”
Alan found great fulfillment as an AmeriCorps volunteer. He particularly enjoys the individual attention with the seniors he serves. What is most rewarding about being a volunteer? Alan replied, “Bringing happiness to someone’s life by getting them out of the house to see and do things.”
Although Alan’s volunteerism started with AmeriCorps, it doesn’t end there. He has grown to enjoy volunteerism immensely. Alan also volunteers for Honor Flight South Florida, a non-profit organization that honors American Military Veterans by taking them to their memorials devoted to their service in Washington D.C. Additionally, Alan spends time helping to transport his neighbors to doctor’s appointments, while also an active member and Treasurer of the local Brooklyn Club.
With all of his volunteer activities, you would think that Alan has no free time. Wrong. Alan is very active, a prolific reader, enjoys Broadway show music, playing cards and going to the movies. He enjoys activities with his wife and opportunities to visit his children and grandchildren, who live out of state.
Alan is a shining example of a person who lives life to the fullest, enjoying daily activities, hobbies and travel balanced with giving back to the community and making a difference in the lives of others through volunteerism. We are happy that he will continue his work as an AmeriCorps volunteer for a fourth year.
For more information on our AmeriCorps Volunteer program, contact Nancy Frent, AmeriCorps Director, at (561) 684-1991.