We have enjoyed sharing stories and spotlighting the YWCA Greater Los Angeles Senior Programs during the first quarter of 2012. As we have shared, the YWCA GLA offers a variety of senior programs at two different program locations, YWCA Union Pacific Empowerment Center and YWCA West LA at the Felicia Mayhood Center, funded by the Weingart and Ralph M. Parsons foundations. With the second largest elderly population in the country, the need for strong senior programs in Los Angeles is great.
As we wrap up our focus on Senior Programs, I would like to share an inspirational story with you about Mahine Yamotaharr. Studies show that seniors who give back to their communities are less likely to feel isolated and experience symptoms of depression. Mahine is a wonderful example of this and a reminder that everyone - regardless of age or other concerns - can give back and enrich their communities.
Mahine Yamotaharr was introduced to the YWCA Greater Los Angeles by participating in the senior program at the Felicia Mahood Center located in West Los Angeles. When she noticed there was a need for volunteers, she decided to offer her time. She was 78 years old at the time - that was eight years ago. Mahine has four children and six grandchildren. She worked as a teacher in Iran for 25 years teaching High School Economics. Her life passion is to help others.
Tell about your work at the YWCA.
I volunteer as a teacher assistant and translator in the ESL class. This class is offered to local seniors. We have about 25 people who attend class every Monday and Thursday. After class, I volunteer for an hour with the Ladies Persian Club. Here we focus on having fun! We play bingo, socialize, and participate in other activities.
How long have you been involved with the YWCA?
For 8 years!! After I started attending the ESL class, I got to know Zohreh Pedram, Program Specialist for the YWCA. I noticed she needed help – she was so busy and worked so hard. So, one day I told her, “I’m going to help you.” And that’s how I started volunteering. When these seniors are happy, they live better – they are healthier. Most of them are alone. They need people to show them love!
What would you say to encourage others to volunteer of their time?
I talk with others and encourage them to volunteer – but I don’t push them. You must be happy with your work – you must choose it. I can only say how much I love volunteering and helping others. Sometimes I get tired – sometimes I’m doing too much – even when I’m tired I feel very happy to help.
Throughout 2012, we will continue shining a light on the programs the YWCA GLA offers to the community. Beginning in April, we will learn more about Sexual Assault Crisis Services and the thousands of lives who are impacted daily by crucial program efforts. We know this work - this vital work - could not be possible without dedicated partners and generous donors. Please consider partnering with us as we continue pursuing our mission to eliminate racism and empower women in Los Angeles.Click here to make a donation now.
We hope you enjoy meeting women and families who have been changed because of the work of the YWCA Greater Los Angeles.
CEO YWCA GLA