By Jon Dickman | CNA Media Team
After Tricia Jett moved to Northeast Portland in 2017, she started taking a seniors’ exercise class at Portland Community College, where some of her classmates frequently talked about the volunteering they did for Northeast Village.
Seeing an announcement about an upcoming event that gave an introduction to Northeast Village PDX, she went to the meeting, was impressed by what she heard and signed up.
The first time Jett volunteered for the group, she did some shopping at a grocery store for a man who was confined to his home. Tentative about volunteering at first, she was relieved by how well it all went and how good she felt afterward. “I’ve had a very fortunate life,” she said, “and now that I’m at a point where I have time, I like the feeling of giving back.”
Her most regular experience as a volunteer these past four years has been as a walking buddy with Village member Jean Robinson, a retired high school business teacher living in the Alameda neighborhood. Jett describes her as someone who cares greatly about all her neighbors, often chatting with them along their walks. Apparently, Robinson cares about Jett as well. “Tricia is delightful company,” Robinson said. “We share an interest in reading, politics and her darling golden retriever Stella.”
When naming her dog, Jett tried to think of what might be fun when calling her. Then, what she describes as the “iconic name for yelling” came to her as she thought of Marlon Brando shouting “STELLA!” in the movie A Street Car Named Desire.
One thing both women share is gratitude. “I am so grateful for the volunteers who have walked with me for years,” Robinson said. “They have kept my spirits up, especially during the pandemic.”
As for Jett, she likes to hear the stories of all the people she has met through volunteering. “It’s amazing to me the diversity of people with such interesting histories, and how much they have each accomplished in their lives,” she said. “It’s reaffirming.”
Northeast Village PDX is a member-led, volunteer-based and self-governing nonprofit that supports older people to stay in their homes while maintaining active, purposeful lives in Concordia and other neighborhoods in the central northeast Portland area. Call 503.895.2750 for more information or check out their video on their Northeast Village PDX YouTube channel or at NEVillagePDX.org.
Jon Dickman, lover of classical jazz vocals and longtime Concordia resident, is an enthusiastic volunteer for Northeast Village PDX.