Pali Sophomore Finds a Way to Assist Seniors

Sierra Sugarman, Features Editor

Sophomore Catherine Hart takes a break from her studies at least three times a week to deliver newspapers, provide technical support or just check in with a senior citizen in the Palisades community. All of this is part of a Senior Essentials service project she launched on Feb. 28, which seeks to provide assistance to senior citizens during the pandemic.

Hart has received messages from potential teenage and adult volunteers, in addition to about eight senior citizens interested in the offered services. 

“Whatever people need, I’ll try to help them in whatever way I can,” she said. “I just want to make [senior citizens’] lives a little easier.” 

Hart said that she was prompted to begin this venture after speaking with her grandmother who informed her that because senior citizens are at a higher-risk for long-term harm from COVID-19, many have become scared to perform necessary, everyday errands.

“I got the idea, just by hearing about how scared she was,” Hart said. “I can help with that because there’s less of a risk for me because I’m younger.”

Hart said that she aspires to be a surgeon and join Doctors Without Borders, and wants to make “a meaningful impact in other people’s lives.” She added, “Being a doctor is the best way I could do that by actually helping to save lives.”

She regularly meets with a local senior citizen to answer her questions and to listen to her stories. “I imagine it’s kind of hard for seniors to spend time with people during the pandemic,” Hart said.

Hart said she works directly with senior citizens about three times a week but also has to put in extra time to handle the communication aspect of the program.

Although Hart’s contributions are simple, she said that she finds meaning in the ways she helps others. Even with basic tasks such as delivering newspapers, she said: “I just felt really happy. I’m kind of proud of myself that I started something that is good and is helping people.”

Those interested in becoming involved with Senior Essentials can contact Catherine Hart by email at [email protected] or visit the Senior Essentials website, www.palisenioressentials.org.