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Dedicated Volunteer: Fern Kamen

February 08, 2018

Some may know Fern Kamen as former executive director of Temple Jeremiah, a job she held for 28 years, but the participants of House of Welcome (HOW) Adult Day Services day program know her as a friendly face that shows up every week with whom to talk, do crossword puzzles, play games and have fun. Like many others, Fern initially joined North Shore Senior Center as a way to stay active in retirement. She served on the Center’s Board of Directors but then realized she was looking for a more personal interaction with people—one that would have an immediate impact on someone’s life. 

“While I enjoyed being on the Board of the Center, I found myself yearning for more of a hands-on experience like I had with the older adults at Temple Jeremiah,” Fern explained. “The environment in the day program is small and intimate and allows volunteers to interact in a very personal way with participants and the staff.”

A committed volunteer for seven years, Fern shows up every Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. She supports staff in welcoming participants and helping with morning activities. She’s always on the lookout for someone who needs a little extra attention and seeks them out for conversation or a cup of coffee.

Fern describes the HOW staff as “talented and exceptionally sensitive” with participants as well as the families and caregivers. She credits the Center with enabling her to grow through her volunteer efforts with the various educational workshops offered at HOW. “I’ve gotten so much out of my volunteer work at HOW. Most people don’t realize the capacity that people with memory loss have, but I see it all the time . . . they blossom in the right environment. Simply put, volunteering at HOW makes me feel good,” she said.