In honor of Hammer’s 100th anniversary and NER’s 50th anniversary, we have published Legacies, a special anniversary magazine, celebrating our history, the people we have supported, and those who have made our mission possible all these years. Here is one of the featured stories:
Andrew Pollock began volunteering at Hammer Residences in 2018. He first heard about Hammer from someone he knew well who was currently volunteering at Hammer and highly recommended it. At the time, Andrew was looking for something to do outside of work, and he thought that volunteering at Hammer would be a fun opportunity. “I made the right decision,” says Andrew.
Last year, Program Manager Amelia Gesirr reached out to the Volunteer department looking for a volunteer for Josh. Josh’s volunteer had recently moved out of state for work, and he was looking for a new friend. Amelia mentioned that Josh is very social and loves to do activities, like sports, and going to the movies. He is also a very talented artist.
As it turns out, so is Andrew. When Andrew first applied to volunteer, he mentioned he enjoyed playing and watching sports (basketball, bowling, football, tennis, biking, golf), watching movies, listening to music, and drawing. Andrew and Josh seemed to have a lot in common, and so they were matched together. Success!
Ever since then, Andrew and Josh have been meeting weekly. They enjoy hanging out, going to sporting events, playing video games, and watching movies too. Amelia had this to say about their relationship, “Josh and Andrew get along very well, and Josh enjoys Andrew’s company. Andrew is a good communicator and very interactive with Josh. They do a lot of indoor/outdoor activities together. They went to the MN State Fair last year and Josh loved it. They are looking forward to more activities this summer.”
Josh and Andrew enjoy creating art together. Andrew will draw while Josh paints. Recently, Andrew helped Josh set up his tent and display his art at the Northeast Farmers Market, where he sells his paintings. Josh is so popular that he has 10,000 followers on TikTok!
When asked what keeps him engaged, Andrew says that getting to do a lot of different activities with Josh weekly has been a great experience and has had a positive impact on him. “It gives me a great perspective and gratitude for the position I’m in and the opportunity to be involved in volunteering. I also feel like Josh and I have a great bond and I really enjoy getting to volunteer with him.”
Andrew also highly recommends that others should volunteer as friends to an individual supported at Hammer & NER because, “It has been an awesome experience for me, and would be for others as well!”
Thank you, Andrew, for making it an awesome experience for Josh, too!
Cathy Thoma is Director o Volunteer Resources and joined Hammer Residences in 2014. Cathy helps volunteers find just the right fit for their skills and interests.