Friendly Visitor Volunteer Program
The Project Guardianship Friendly Visitor Program matches volunteers with a Project Guardianship client who resides in either their own home or apartment, or in a facility such as a nursing home, in one of the five boroughs of New York City.
Volunteers are an invaluable resource. Our staff visit clients at a minimum of once per month to check in and make sure that all client needs are being met. But many clients would also benefit greatly from interacting with a new “friend." As a volunteer, you can make an immediate difference in someone’s life, you are a valued member of the Project Guardianship team, and you will be an active part of your community of fellow New Yorkers.
After the application process is completed — after we learn of your availability, your interests, your preferences, and the location of your home or place of business — our Volunteer Coordinator will match you with a client that lives close by, and with whom we believe you will have a mutually beneficial relationship.
Our clients may live in their own homes or in a care setting such as a nursing home. They over 18, and they may be senior citizens or living with a disability such as a visual impairment or have limited mobility. Many of our older clients may be widowed, and do not have any close family or friends at this period in their lives. Or their children or families may live far away. One thing for certain is that they will greatly appreciate and benefit from your visits and companionship.
What a Visit May Look Like
Your visits will be unstructured — and are up to you and your “friend” to decide. How to spend your time? The client may want you to read to them, talk about old times, play cards, watch TV or simply keep them company. If the weather is good, and the client is up to it and is able to travel, you may want to enjoy a visit outside with them.
Your visits WILL be important — research has found that social interaction for those who are elderly or living with disabilities greatly improves not only their quality of life, but also their physical and mental health!
You will be visiting an individual whom the courts have provided with a guardian (Project Guardianship is the guardian). Many Project Guardianship clients are living with various limitations that have impacted their lives: Alzheimer’s or dementia, mental illness, developmental disabilities, or a traumatic brain injury. Some may be living with a physical disability or chronic health condition, and their mobility may be impaired.
While each client is unique, they all have one thing in common: they do not have the opportunity to regularly socialize with others. Some may live at home and rarely go out. Others may live in a nursing home surrounded by people but no one from the outside world visits them. As a volunteer in our program, we thank you in advance for giving your time to helping others.
What We Ask of Volunteers
We ask volunteers to:
- Visit with clients on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
- Provide us with feedback after each visit.
- Commit to a minimum of six months in our program, if possible.
- Act in a respectful, compassionate, and professional manner during client visits.
- Have good listening skills and patience and want to offer their companionship and friendship to an often-isolated individual.
- Be able to interact with an individual with a significant physical or mental impairment and is perhaps from a different socioeconomic background.
- Be able to keep all information related to a client in their confidence.
- Have a strong desire to make a difference in someone’s life.
Are you interested in joining with us to make a difference?
Getting Started and Volunteer Application
If you are interested in our Friendly Visitor Program, or have any questions, please telephone our main number at (347) 296-1874 and ask for the Volunteer Program Coordinator.
The first step in joining our program is to complete the Volunteer Application.
The next step is to meet in person with our Volunteer Coordinator who will describe our program in more detail and provide you with additional documents to complete. A background check will be performed, and a confidentiality agreement signed, to help us to ensure that our client’s safety and privacy are safeguarded. You will also be provided with a Volunteer Handbook and other materials that will guide your Friendly Visitor experience.
After the application is complete, and you have been matched, you will be ready for your first visit. For the first visit, you will be accompanied by one of our case managers who will introduce you and provide you with any additional information that will be useful for your future visits with the client.
Volunteer Feedback Form
For current volunteers, please send feedback on your last visit within 24 hours. Please complete our online Volunteer Feedback Form, or you may provide feedback by calling the Volunteer Coordinator at 347-404-9350.