If I were asked to pick a goddess to symbolize Pratima Penumarthy, the 10-headed Goddess Durga would be my pick. Multi-faceted, gracefully juggling many roles, I’d wonder what I might invite her to talk about. A few months ago, when we spoke, we struggled about the timing. Our Lumiere Learning Monday and the Torchbearer Thursday are live events and we go on air at 10:45 am IST.
We found a work around when we decided we had to do a recorded event. Another issue was, what might I invite her to talk about? It was tempting to invite her to speak about her life and work journey at the Lumiere Learning Monday.
In June 2021, I saw Pratima’s Facebook posts on Volunteering for Seniors
A friend wrote on Pratima Penumarthy’s Facebook page, “The Penumarthy family has a long track record of community service and civic engagement. This new organization, spearheaded by them and through your help, should alleviate loneliness and optimize the quality of life of our community’s seniors. Thank you for all you do to bind, uplift and educate us, Pratima and Rama”.
Volunteering For Seniors
After joining her husband in the US, telecommunications engineer, Pratima, did her MS in Education. She set up her day care center. She felt inspired to set up a day care center while navigating her role a mother to two little girls. Teaching her kids math must have been her inspiration to set up another venture, Arya Math Academy. Pratima is passionate about women in STEM. Getting qualified with appropriate certifications, setting up the right organisation vehicle and putting the right team together is her forte.
Her latest venture tackles a dire need gap – elder care and is again rooted in her own personal experience of taking care of her mother who was stricken with cancer. Pratima did a a Torchbearer to talk about her newest venture, “Volunteering for Seniors Inc” on 1st July.
In our conversation, Pratima talks about her vision in setting up Volunteering for Elders Inc.
Our mission is to help Seniors stay energetic in their homes and active in their community. The idea is that they should enjoy being around their places.We aim at making sure that they blend into their communities without difficulties. We achieve this through meaningful volunteering. Those who join this noble cause have a heart for their work. Our volunteers will make a huge difference in the lives of our members. They will do this by providing transportation, friendly visits, and computer help. They also include many other services. These include services like giving our members a platform to express themselves. Our volunteers create connections and friendships with our members.
What makes for a good volunteer?
A long term experience of caregiving for elders, makes Pratima and Rama a very compassionate couple. Two core values, humility and a positive attitude define them.
These are the core values that find way on their website.
Humility – We exhibit humility in serving everyone; no job is below anyone and we all pull together to get the work done.
Positive Attitude – We bring a smile and a positive attitude. We treat each other with respect, ensuring an energised work environment.
How does this work?
When a volunteer fills in the application form, their profile is matched with an elderly or vulnerable senior, due to illness or age, from the community.
Volunteers attend ongoing training after which they are connected with a senior, invest in their well-being, and support them through a variety of opportunities.
Engagement activities – movies, puzzles, physical activities, reading books etc.
Respite Care – allowing a Caregiver an opportunity to take time for self-care.
Tasks Assistance Activities – dog walking, meal preparation, getting groceries, gardening, etc.
Volunteer for at least 2 hours per week for a minimum of 6 months.
I want to volunteer!
Pratima’s husband, Rama and their two daughters and their friends are their first volunteers. “Count on us Mom”, say her daughters.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 508-682-1020•
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