Community Stories

Connections through conversations, stories and plants

June 20, 2023

Sabrina Bortz: Volunteer of the Month

Every week, Sabrina Bortz looked forward to delivering meals to Louis. 

After she handed off his weekly meals, the two of them wandered around his immaculate gardens, talking about all his wonderful plants.

“It was so nice whenever I did his food delivery,” Sabrina said. “He took such pride in getting to share his passion with someone.”

Tropical flowers, vegetables, herbs – the Brazil native took pride in his garden, and it made his modest trailer look absolutely beautiful. 

“He has the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen! He even gave me cuttings of his Christmas cactus and some oregano, and I still have those growing in pots at home,” she said.

Sabrina is this month’s Volunteer of the Month. She has volunteered with Heart2Heart since January, and she has loved the connections she’s made with the seniors she helps. From food deliveries to seniors like Louis, to relief care and special services, it feels good to give back.

Sabrina used to work six days a week from opening to closing, running her own business. A few years ago she retired, but she wanted the chance to give back. She has always loved working with seniors because they have such great stories and have seen so much, so Heart2Heart was a great fit.

Providing relief

Most recently, Sabrina has provided relief care each Sunday for a pair of sisters. One sister is the primary caregiver for the other sister who has Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Sabrina stays with the one sister to visit and interact with her while her caregiver sister can get out of the house for a little while.

The woman Sabrina stays with loves sports and politics, so often they watch the news and sports together and talk about the woman’s fascinating life. 

The caregiving sister is so appreciative to have some time to go to church, do some grocery shopping, and sometimes even have the luxury of going to Starbucks to relax with a latte for a little while.

“There’s such a need for relief care and volunteers for our senior population,” Sabrina said. “Sometimes they just really need someone to help them go to the store, get their medicine, or bring them some food. Gosh, they need that food! And sometimes they just need someone to listen to them.”

Making friends along the way

Sometimes, some seniors have very specific needs that crop up for volunteers. Once, Sabrina spent more than 8 hours with a 69-year-old woman who lives by herself, bringing her to Miami for an eye procedure. 

She waited for her, helped calm her nerves, and brought her home after the procedure.

“That was very nice. I made a friend out of her,” Sabrina said. “Now she’ll call me and I’ll call her.”

Sabrina always sends her seniors birthday cards, Easter cards, and brings them flowers. After all, everyone should have someone think of them on their birthday, she said.

The benefits go both ways

As much as Sabrina’s service makes a difference in the lives of the seniors she serves, the act of volunteering impacts Sabrina’s life as well.

“My husband is not well,” she said. “He is ill and has dementia. It’s hard being the caretaker, but volunteering gets me out, and it feels good. It takes me out of that caretaker role in a way for a little while.” 

Sabrina urges everyone to volunteer in some capacity. It is rewarding and helps you refocus on what is truly important in life. 

“It feels so good to help, and it gives a real sense of accomplishment,” Sabrina said. “And seniors are so fun to work with. Their life experiences are interesting, and their perspectives on life are so different. They calm me.”

We’re grateful to Sabrina for her dedication and care!

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 …

Volunteer and her Quilting Group Sew Quilts for Seniors

Volunteer and her Quilting Group Sew Quilts for Seniors

Helping seniors feel love with quilts

Judie Nance and her quilting group have donated more than 150 quilts to seniors in care centers around South Florida. They’ve made smaller quilts that fit on top of wheelchairs and quilts with zippers, buttons, and little animals for seniors in memory care.

“Oh, we’ve had tears and so much gratitude,” Judie said. “It makes you feel good that you could brighten someone’s day, give them something to smile about and to live another day.”

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Wheelchair Wash Connects Hearts and Boosts Confidence

Wheelchair Wash Connects Hearts and Boosts Confidence

Sometimes, the key to happiness is shiny wheels and simple conversation.

Members of Parkridge Church teamed up with Heart2Heart to host a wheelchair and walker wash at Park Summit Senior Living in Coral Springs.

They set up something like a car wash in a sliver of sunshine. They tied ribbons on the newly cleaned wheelchairs, and the seniors bragged about the free service for the rest of the day.

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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.

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