The staff of Chen Senior Medical Center closed their 10 offices in Broward County on Sept. 21 so staff could spend the afternoon volunteering in the community.
“To have that many people come and be a part of that experience was amazing,” said Monte, the activities director at The W.
The ChenMed staff divided into two groups to visit the seniors in memory care as well as the assisted living facility. They played board games and gave out ice cream. They hosted long games of bingo and gave out lots of prizes.
“We played a lot of bingo that day,” Monte said with a laugh. “I love the fact that they came through with prizes. They didn’t want anyone to feel left out.”
Some of the residents had received free cellphones earlier that week but didn’t know how to use them. The volunteers were able to offer one-on-one guidance to help them with their new devices.
Amy Hinojosa — a senior executive membership growth consultant for ChenMedical — is a Heart2Heart volunteer and sparked the connection between her office and Heart2Heart.
She said the experience was eye-opening, especially in interacting with the seniors battling memory loss. ChenMedical offers medical care specifically for seniors, but they don’t typically see the everyday challenges seniors face.
“If they’re complaining, you can understand it. You’re seeing what life is like for them on a daily basis. It makes you want to pamper them more,” Amy said. “It was a learning experience in empathy for everybody.”
The ChenMedical staff made friends with the seniors at The W and plan to stay in touch, she said.
Amy was surprised to see a familiar face at The W. She reconnected with a woman she met last year, after the woman was rescued from the roof of her New Orleans home during Hurricane Ida.
Monte said he was grateful for the dozens of extra hands to help him give the residents the attention they deserve.
“I’m only one person. Having others who are able to help out allows me to pull in the people who don’t normally participate in activities,” Monte explained. “Sometimes they’re a little standoffish. But if you engage them, they’ll engage with you.”
Amy said she and her colleagues were happy to help.
“We’re always trying to do something to give back to the community,” she said. “We’re all just doing God’s work.”