Testimonial: Newark Manor by Mackenzie Janus

Newark Manor was the first project I attended as an MIT. At the time, I didn’t really know a whole lot about it or their purpose, but I knew I would be working with the elderly and that the project fit my class and work schedule. We walked in and were greeted by the friendliest staff. They were so appreciative of just our simple presence and willingness to help out, I was immediately excited about what we were going to get into.

While we were there, we assisted residents with finding their numbers to cover playing Bingo and socializing with other residents, and just made conversation between the two of us. Beyond my own grandparents, I had never worked with people their age on a more personal level, so I was unsure of how to appropriately assist them as to not be overbearing and allow for them to make their own decisions while still helping, but I figured it out. It’s not as scary as you’d think. The light I saw in my Bingo partner’s eyes when she realized someone was visiting her and spending time with just her, just because, was just the best feeling in the world. We laughed and talked, and my Bingo partner would tease other residents. A couple hours flew by, and it was time for us to go. I hugged my partner goodbye and told her I would be visiting again. She was so happy, and that made me happy.
This opportunity opened my eyes to what service is really all about.  I fell in love with service that day (yes, playing Bingo with the elderly!) and I am forever thankful for the residents of Newark Manor with their spunky, uplifting personalities, and their genuine happiness just to spend time with a stranger. It has changed my life; I have a (fairly) new found passion that effects more than just me in so many positive ways, and I will take that with me beyond UD and Gamma Sig. Since my first project, I’ve tried my best to make a difference in as many lives as my time allows.
The smallest things can make the biggest impact.
So much gamma love,
Mackenzie Janus
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