Cecilia Pardo, our Volunteer of the Month for October, has volunteered with us for a little over a month, but she’s already made a big impact on the lives of seniors in South Florida.
More importantly, she has discovered a fountain of joy in her new work.
“It has been amazing. I’m so happy,” Cecilia said. “I don’t know why I have such a connection with elderly people. They’re just beautiful to me.”
Already, Cecilia has visited three different care centers, including MiCasa Senior Living in Hollywood and Sonata Coconut Creek. She’s been helping residents learn how to use their new iPads at Atlantis Senior Care in Oakland Park through Heart2Heart’s C.A.R.E. Tech Program.
She’s also delivered meals to seniors living independently through Food for Hope.
“I want to bring happiness to the elderly if I can and fill a bit of their day that otherwise would be boring,” Cecilia said. “They melt my heart. It makes me sad that a lot of them don’t end up receiving a lot of visitors.”
Cecilia’s 95-year-old grandmother lives in an assisted living facility in Argentina. Ever since her grandmother’s stroke about four years ago, Cecilia has prioritized her annual international visits.
During a recent visit, Cecilia realized how much she loved interacting with all the residents in the facility.
“I was obsessed with everyone, not only my grandmother,” she said with a laugh.
Over the summer, Cecilia resigned from her job of 11 years. She had been working as a senior project manager but decided to make a change.
“I realized that job wasn’t allowing me to do what made me happy,” she said. “Whatever my work schedule is in the future, I’ll definitely make time to volunteer, which is something I didn’t do before.”
At first, Cecilia wasn’t sure where to volunteer. She knew she wanted to help either children with special needs — like she did as a teacher for five years — or seniors at a care center.
Through VolunteerMatch.org, she learned about Heart2Heart.
“Heart2Heart makes it a lot easier for someone to start volunteering,” she said. “I like that it offers a wide range of programs
Cecilia doesn’t regret taking her sabbatical from working to invest in herself and her new passion.
“My favorite thing to do is going to the centers. I love just playing games with the seniors and spending the whole hour, just talking to them,” she said. “They all have different stories. It’s really nice.”
Heart2Heart thanks Cecilia for spreading joy to our seniors!