Volunteer Spotlight- Joseph Lore

December 4, 2012 Volunteer Stories
While in training for his Bar Mitzvah, Joseph Lore chose the Lutheran Home of Southbury (LHS) for his Mitzvah project – doing a good deed within his community. LHS provides quality, compassionate, and comprehensive elder care in Southbury, Connecticut. Although Joseph’s Mitzvah project is completed, he continues his volunteer service. When asked why he loves to volunteer Joseph said, “The staff’s sense of compassionate care, given with such energy, inspires me, adding life to my life as well as to that of the residents.”

Why I Volunteer by Joseph Lore 

"I never before felt what it was like to volunteer my heart, time and energy until I found the Lutheran Home of Southbury. I started volunteering here when I was 13 years old and the reason was this: that due to my religious faith, I was in training for my Bar Mitzvah, a monumental ceremony in which one goes from a kid to an adult. Prior to taking this step, I had to complete a Mitzvah project, namely, a good deed within my community.

"Following a long period of struggling as to where and how I would complete this project. I became aware through a family member, of the Lutheran Home of Southbury, and investigated its volunteer options. This commenced my volunteer services. The Bar Mitzvah project was completed and the ceremony itself became history; yet I discovered that the Lutheran Home, its staff, the residents and fellow volunteers had grown on me. The staff’s sense of compassionate care, given with such energy inspires me, adding life to my life as well as to that of the residents.

"My fellow volunteers bring me back, again and again, because of their loving support for me and their many good wishes for my future. Most of all, however, I primarily volunteer here, because of the residents. Without them, there is no Lutheran Home of Southbury. Each one of the resident’s with whom I have become acquainted, has touched my heart in a way that I cannot express.

"Over the past two years, I have acquired tightly-knitted relationships with residents through various activities. From the regularly scheduled weekly bingo to 'fun-in-the-sun' in the outer courtyard; from various floor-to-floor activities on a daily basis, to one-on-one discussions with some who have touched me in an extraordinary way by sharing their very own life experiences. If not for these loving, caring, admirable and sometimes, hectic residents, I might have never stepped through the doors of the Lutheran Home of Southbury ever again.

"I also find volunteering here very satisfying because I perpetually put a smile on several residents’ faces. A funny comment, joke or spontaneous action causes me to find joy in their lovely, elderly eyes. I can truly feel that joy! When I began to volunteer here, I was encouraged to help make the residents’ last moments, some of the best moments of their lives. This I attempt to do, day in and day out. But as in any relationship, this is a two-way street. They have helped to make my life a much greater life.

"For the past two-plus years, I have never felt so good about myself, as when I volunteer here. Each day, after spending time and energy volunteering, I have the feeling that I am actually changing peoples’ lives for the better. Putting my feelings about this volunteer service into words is most difficult as the words will always fall short.

In summary, I volunteer because of the residents. I am deeply appreciative of all that the Lutheran Home of Southbury has done for me in this service."

Collette Kowalski, director of recreation at LHS, feels that Joseph is very special to LHS. 

“Joseph’s greatest gift is making himself available to others, especially the most vulnerable.This very mature 14 year old gentleman has lifted the spirits of many of the residents of the Lutheran Home of Southbury, offering his time and energy to each one as though he/she was the only one needing service, at that given moment. His services include: 1) transporting wheel chair bound residents to all events, including religious services and activities; 2) visiting people in their rooms and having supportive conversation with them; 3) assisting with activities that are enjoyed, in common; 4) participating in worship services as a lector and as a speaker at Memorial Services where he shares stories about the deceased resident who impacted his life in very positive ways. In turn, family members attending these services were better able to work their way through the grief process.”

Lutheran Social Services (now Ascentria Care Alliance), the residents, and the staff at LHS applaud you, Joseph Lore!