Community Stories

Introducing Marisela Martinez, our Digital Outreach Coordinator

April 8, 2022

Marisela Martinez is the Digital Outreach Coordinator

Marisela Martinez is Heart2Heart’s Digital Outreach Coordinator, in charge of launching and supporting our new iPads for Seniors program.

Marisela’s job is a new position, created in December when we received a grant to distribute 250 iPads to care centers throughout Broward County. Marisela has been connecting with care centers to prepare them to receive iPads this spring. 

“I love the impact in the community that we’re making with this program,” she said. “We’re able to involve young adults and teens with aging people through video calls.

Marisela grew up in Venezuela. She was one year away from finishing a veterinarian degree when her country’s economic crisis caused her university to shut down for more than a year. 

“I felt like I needed to grow somehow,” she explained. 

So in 2017, Marisela moved to South Florida on her own, without speaking any English. She learned the language quickly by taking evening classes at a local high school until she felt comfortable practicing in the grocery stores and everyday interactions.

Now, Marisela and Alex, her husband of a little over a year, live in North Lauderdale. 

Marisela said she’s felt drawn to older people ever since she volunteered as a high school student at a Catholic nursing home that served people with poor health and low income. 

“It was seeing their need and how vulnerable they were – they wouldn’t have control over anything,” she said. “How privileged we are by picking the food we want, where we want to go, what we want to do.”

Her affection for older adults grew when she joined a South Florida church whose members were mostly 75 years or older. Despite encouragement from her peers to join a young adult ministry, she discovered that she didn’t want to leave. She loved talking with her older counterparts.

“They share their crazy stories from when they were young. It just makes me laugh all the time,” Marisela said. “I love the wisdom they carry.”

Join the Team!

Becoming a Heart2Heart volunteer means that you are dedicated to serving the aging community. It means you want to connect in a meaningful way to a specific individual or to several people. It means you are committed to a consistent amount of time per month – whether that’s several hours a week or just a few hours per month.

Heart2Heart volunteers must be background checked and trained. Our training can be completed from your home on your computer or device, through the online Volunteer Portal. We run fingerprints in our office in Fort Lauderdale, and you can schedule an appointment with us after you finish the training.

The first step is to create an account on our Volunteer Portal. To get started, click here!

Read more …

Student Volunteers and Seniors Connect at Sun Village Homes

Student Volunteers and Seniors Connect at Sun Village Homes

Nursing student Maria Namendy shares he experiences volunteering at Sun Village Homes in Hialeah.

She’s learned the power of giving seniors a voice — just by listening to their stories.

She’s just one example of how West Coast University students are making a difference.

Read the story
https://www.heart2heartoutreach.org/community-stories/student-volunteers-at-sun-villiage-homes

118 Volunteers Needed as Food for Hope Relaunches

118 Volunteers Needed as Food for Hope Relaunches

Food for Hope is BAAACK!!! And the volunteer-led meal delivery program is bigger than ever!

So we need your help!

To deliver meals to Broward County seniors, we need 118 volunteers to give 2-3 hours each week.

This month, our CEO Juan Gallo made a special appeal to Broward County churches for this community-wide effort.

Read about the (relaunched!) Food for Hope

Big Ideas and Small Acts of Kindness

Big Ideas and Small Acts of Kindness

We were inspired by the story of Rashaad Green, an inspirational student we met at a college volunteer fair. At 22 years old, he is helping homeless people, including a 64-year-old senior, and he’s started a club that will bring art therapy to seniors. He dreams of one day curing cancer and opening a permanent and temporary housing facility for the homeless.