WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Robison president David Singer knew his employees would feel rewarded for their volunteerism at My Second Home in Mount Kisco. But the deep connection his workers felt to the senior citizens surprised even him.
“I know from experience that any time you volunteer and do things for others, you get back twice as much as you put in,’’ Singer said. “But it was surprising. No one knew what to expect when we volunteered at My Second Home. We had a terrific response from the senior citizens and the employees enjoyed it. I thought it was important for them to experience it. It’s not a hard day at the office.”
Robison workers have volunteered on several occasions at My Second Home, which offers an innovative approach to inter-generational services. My Second Home, which is part of Family Services Westchester, offers older adults a safe, supervised, home-like environment with wellness activities, personal care, excellent nutrition, and transportation services. Volunteer of New York arranged the connection between My Second Home and Robison.
Robison employees spend about two hours there each visit, during which they play cards, painted bird houses, enjoy music, practice crafts and more.
“They come on Saturdays when there are fewer people willing to volunteer,’’ said Rita Bellamy, Executive Director of My Second Home. “They take a day that is important to us and make it special. They bring manpower, they bring resources and they bring the right people.”
Bellamy said Robison volunteers are skilled at working with the seniors.
“The people who come really want to engage and improve the quality of life,’’ Bellamy said. “You don’t attract a lot of volunteers for this age group. Many volunteers want to work with youth and children. Not many want to work with people who have dementia or are over 65. I applaud that they picked a population that needs to be served and is very under-served.”
“It’s a nice connection,’’ Singer said. “When our employees go, it’s a real event for them at My Second Home. The energy that they give off makes you feel good about your time being there.”
Singer said Robison requires community service from its employees. “Our motto is, 'The House That Service Built,'’’ he said. “It’s a core value that we have to do community service. We want to attract employees that are community based. We’re a community based company. If our workers don’t enjoy being with people, they’re not going to fit in with us culturally.”
Bellamy finds the Robison employees a perfect match for the people at My Second Home, and hopes the business plans on continuing its visits. Robison confirms that employees will visit every quarter.
“They come with a spirit of hope and caring,’’ she said. “I’m very grateful. When I hear that they want to come back, I’m always thrilled. I would say it’s a perfect match.”