Personal Story

Impact Feature Issue on Paraeducators Supporting Students with Disabilities and At-Risk

Caring for Others: John's Story

My name is John Garino. I volunteer at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Totowa, New Jersey. Little Sisters of the Poor is a nursing home run by the nuns from the Catholic church. I volunteered there from 1993-1997 and came back again in 2001. I chose to volunteer at the Little Sisters of the Poor because I was familiar with the people and other volunteers there. I participate in many church functions. I like to be around Fr. Doyle and the others. I also attend mass twice a week.

When I volunteer I get there around 10:00 a.m. and stay until 2:00 p.m. When I arrive I go to the break room and have a cup of coffee with a snack with some of the residents. I then go downstairs to the laundry room and fold towels and put them in order by color. I also fold sheets and pillowcases and separate them into colors. The other thing I enjoy doing is to go visit a woman on the second floor. She is one of the ladies who resides there. When I go to visit we sit down and just talk about our families or what else is going on that day. I really like spending time with her. I enjoy her friendship as well as she enjoys mine.

Volunteering is very fulfilling for me. I am able to help other people and meet a lot of new friends. And it gives me the confidence to keep a competitive job at an A&P supermarket as a bagger.

Contributed by John Garino and by Frances Curley with Community Options, Morristown, New Jersey.