In 1993 at the age of 62, Mikhail Vigdorov found himself in the United States as a Jewish refugee from Russia. He and his wife could not speak English. They were without friends and felt helpless. They received help from the New York Association of the New Americans (NYANA) where they were helped to learn English, get jobs, and take all the first steps in belonging to a new country. Mikhail says, “I never forget the help and attention that these people gave us. In 1994, we moved from New York to Denver, and I decided that it was my duty to help other people. I started volunteering at Jewish Family Service.” Here, Mikhail helped newly arrived people start a new life in America- helping them get jobs, arrange school for their children, taking them to medical appointments, and so on. Additionally, Mikhail supported donations for American’s Disabled Veterans.
In 2019, Mikhail became a Senior Companion (AmeriCorps Seniors) with Spark the Change Colorado where his favorite part of volunteering is to see the happy faces of his clients when they talk about their children’s and grandchildren’s successes. In these difficult times, some of Mikhail’s clients have Ukrainian roots and they are worried about the safety of their relatives and friends. “I try to help them contact their loved ones by phone and Skype,” says Mikhail. When asked what volunteering means to you, Mikhail shares, “A proverb comes to mind. ‘One good turn deserves another.’” When asked what advice Mikhail would give to someone interested in becoming a Senior Companion Volunteer, he says, “Treat your clients with LOVE and attention.”
Thank you so much for all that you do, Mikhail. You are a perfect example of why the Senior Companion Program is such a vital part of the lives of volunteers and clients, alike.
If the Senior Companion Program Sparks your interest, consider volunteering today! Visit our website for more information.
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