During my year in Chicago, I am working with an organization called Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly. They are a wonderful organization and I am very excited to be a part of what they are doing in Chicago.
Their mission is to relieve isolation and loneliness among the elderly. They operate on the philosophy of "flowers before bread" - that the elderly need the special pleasures in life in addition to the basic necessities.
So, my job with them will be that of a "Program Assistant," (P.A.) which means I will have a list of 20 or so elders in one area who I will visit, get to know, and basically be a friend to.
Yeah, pretty much my job is to be a friend. How cool is that??
Little Brothers will give me a small monthly stipend to use to buy my elders gifts, to take them out to lunch, and to take them on outings. They also have cars that I will be able to use to get to them, so I don't have to walk everywhere (which is great, but also a bit scary to drive around such a large and busy city as Chicago). Besides visiting them, Little Brothers has monthly and weekly clubs that the elders can come to the Little Brothers building for - like Coffee Club, and Craft Club, etc. I will also help to plan these activities and events. There are a number of other PAs too, who come to Little Brothers from different organizations and directly to the Little Brothers program - some of them even come internationally to volunteer to be a PA for a year!
So, this week and next week is my "Orientation" with Little Brothers (Yes, this is the third orientation that I have had!), during which time I am having meetings with the staff (Besides PAs, Little Brothers also has around 30 full time employees) and am going with the other PAs on some of their visits.
I am excited about this opportunity to work with Little Brothers because I see it as a way to be Jesus' hands and to love a group of people who are, unfortunately, often ignored and forgotten. I can't wait to get to know my elders, to hear their stories, and to make some new friends!
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