My name is Jenise Chung and I’m currently a sophomore at Boston College studying finance, business analytics, and computer science. I’m affiliated with Little Brothers through our PULSE program and served at Morville House for the past year. Overall, it has been such a life-changing experience and even though it was virtual this year, I still found so much value in the work that I was doing. Now more than ever, the elderly need a companion and I’m grateful that I was able to serve during such an unprecedented time. Although I learned so much, there were definitely struggles along the way and all of them taught me how to better serve the community.
In the beginning, it was difficult to get consistent turnout every single week and was discouraging to sit in an empty Zoom room. However, because of that, I grew a lot as a student leader as I had to brainstorm new ideas to encourage more older adults to show up every Thursday. Because the older adults at Morville House only speak Mandarin and my Mandarin speaking skills are only conversational, I had to steer away from conventional activities and find new engaging activities that they would enjoy. With the help and guidance of my supervisor along the way, we were able to come up with something that would be beneficial to both the students and the older adults. Starting second semester, I began to lead weekly sites that taught the older adults basic English. Through prior conversations with them, I learned that they really struggle being independent in America without knowing the mother language. The pandemic drove them into isolation and they wanted to find meaningful things to do every week as they were separated from their friends and families. For so many of them, learning English has been a life-long goal and I’m humbled to have been able to be a part of their journey in learning this new language.
At the end of my time at Morville House, it was so rewarding to see how far they’ve come with their English speaking abilities. They were able to respond to basic questions and converse with me in English when in the past, the older adults were only able to speak a few words here and there. It was heartwarming to hear what the past year meant to them and how they considered me to be one of their friends. Overall, it has been a blast being able to get to know them 🙂
My name is Jenise Chung and I’m currently a sophomore at Boston College studying finance, business analytics, and computer science. I’m affiliated with LBFE through our PULSE program and served at 2Life for the past semester. Overall, it has been such a life-changing experience and even though it was virtual this year, I still found so much value in the work that I was doing. Now more than ever, the elderly need a companion and I’m grateful that I was able to serve during such an unprecedented time.
The programs implemented at 2Life were especially helpful this year with a shift to a virtual world. Many older adults don’t know how to navigate their technology and complete certain tasks online and because they are isolated at home from their friends and family, they aren’t able to always get the help they need. Everything is online now — from scheduling appointments to making reservations at restaurants to getting your vaccinations.
Though I didn’t lead this site, I was still able to learn a lot every week alongside the older adults and the student leaders did an awesome job facilitating and planning the activities/lesson plans each week. It was rewarding to see their technology skills improve over the course of the semester and hear about the small victories they had with technology each week.
Aside from learning about Zoom and more, my favorite part about serving at 2Life is the times in the breakout rooms when the older adults and I would just talk about anything and everything. Over time, they really started to open up about their lives and trust me with the information they shared. It has been nice forming and building these relationships/friendships with them because I’ve never been close to my own grandparents. I never really knew or understood the struggles this community of people faced and it was fulfilling to learn more about them in order to best serve them. In our PULSE class, we always discussed the right way to live. Greek philosophers like Plato explained that justice is to give to each what is proper to each, meaning in order for me to act justly, I have to give to the elderly what is proper to them. I was able to accomplish this and learn what they really need through meaningful conversations and this is something I’m going to take with me for the rest of my life. I’m glad I was able to serve them to the full extent and getting to know them was one of the highlights of my semester.
Don’t forget to check out next week’s blog to see who will be highlighted then!