Bikur Chaverim is a unique “Visiting Friends” program

Fran Dinehart, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Case Manager

One way JFS serves adults who are homebound or semi-homebound, is to provide social visits from volunteers in the Bikur Chaverim, or Visiting Friends program.  The focus is on creating positive relationships.  Both the volunteer visitor and the person receiving visits gain enjoyment and companionship – like Debbie and Molly pictured above.

As the program coordinator, I recruit both volunteers and people in need of social engagement and match them based on shared interests and personalities.  Several Bikur Chaverim friends have consistently visited each other for several years.  They go to cafes, movies, museums, play chess, cook together, do craft projects and share in each other’s lives.  It is a joy to watch a real friendship grow between them.

Even people with large families can become isolated.  Having a visitor is a chance to form a new relationship on their own terms.  Our participants receiving visits are talented artists, or experts in astronomy, or former carnival kings.  Each person has their own unique story to share, and being able to share gives value to their lives at every stage.

Volunteers are able to give their time in a way that is incredibly valuable.  For example, several years ago a volunteer was diagnosed with the same illness her Bikur Chaverim friend had survived.  Her friend was an incredible source of support for her during that difficult time.  Participants are inspired and amused by their friend’s stories, and feel the support of having a friend who truly cares for them.

Volunteers are always welcome.  Interested in participating? Please contact me by phone at 504-831-8475 or email fran@jfsneworleans.org