What drew you to Maitri?
I was drawn to Maitri by the loving environment, the compassion of the people who work there, and the opportunity to get to know, love, and help the residents.
Your connection to Maitri’s Mission?
I’ve lived in San Francisco since 1980, and have witnessed the AIDS epidemic in our community. It’s only right that we take care of each other. I sing with the Threshold Choir and came to Maitri in 2012, to see if they might like a regular visit by a small choir, that goes from room to room to sing to folks (if they want it). The regular choir visits never happened, but I like Maitri so much that I decided to volunteer (I get to sneak in some singing sometimes too).
Describe Maitri in 3 words or less.
Compassionate, Nurturing, Supportive
What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Maitri?
I like the variety of things I do there: Talking with and getting to know residents, playing scrabble or backgammon, singing with/for residents. And Maitri really knows how to do holidays!
What are your favorite Maitri memories?
1. I took one of the residents to a Dr’s appointment, and we had to wait. So we decided to sing some songs while we were waiting. It was fun.
2. I’ve been playing backgammon with another resident for months (maybe even a year!), and really enjoying it until he started winning all the time.
3. I played a gazillion games of scrabble with a former resident. We called it “Zen Scrabble” because we helped each other at all times. It seems we liked making dirty words best.
4. Taking residents to see the holiday lights at Tom and Jerry’s and then up to the top of Twin Peaks.
What piece of advice would you give an incoming volunteer?
Enjoy the liberating feeling of walking into Maitri and have your troubles left outside the door. It feels good to be of service to others; liberating too!
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
1. My artwork is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
2. I’ve been arrested multiple times for peace and justice activism.
What are you reading right now, or the last book you read?
Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas.
You can join Maitri as a volunteer just like Martha by attending one of our CORE Trainings. The next training is on June 22nd and 23rd. Email David Valentine at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in attending.