For senior Priyansh Patel, taking care of elderly relatives was simply a fundamental part of being in a family, a value he grew up with in an Indian culture. That’s why when he saw the Youth for Elderly Service booth at Fall Fest, he immediately took the chance to get involved.
“There’s a great importance to the elderly or anyone that’s older than you in Indian culture,” Patel said. “You have to respect and foster them like they fostered you growing up. Those values were instilled in me in an early part of my life.”
Co-chairperson Patel said YES began about four years ago under the Campus Y. Members volunteer at a Carrboro nursing home, Crescent Green Assisted Living Communities, where they provide companionship and build relationships with residents weekly and at larger-scale monthly events.
Sophomore and marketing coordinator, Lorena Dujmusic, said it is important for college students to volunteer with the elderly. According to a University of California, San Francisco study, 18 percent of seniors live alone and 43 percent of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis.
“In college, we’re isolated,” Dujmusic said. “We only really see people around our age and that’s who you interact with on a daily basis. (By volunteering) you interact with community, and elderly have such great stories to share.”