North Bergen resident Barbara Natali, a volunteer at Alaris Health at Boulevard East, had a successful career in fashion design and later another fulfilling career in real estate. Then, 10 years ago, she woke up unable to breathe, the result of a hemorrhaging aneurysm. The severe brain injury that occurred almost took her life and left her unable to walk for five years. After fighting her way back to some degree of normalcy, Ms. Natali decided that she wanted to perform volunteer work and help others. Now she is a weekly volunteer, delighting the residents and staff with her efforts.
“My previous occupations were wonderful, but volunteering at Boulevard East is by far the most rewarding of any of my prior jobs. This is an excellent facility and I truly enjoy seeing the smiling faces of the residents, listening to their memories, and all their hugs,” she says.
Some of the things she does on her twice weekly visits with the residents include playing games, exercising, and providing companionship. The residents are very appreciative of her volunteer efforts.
“Barbara is even learning Spanish to communicate with some of our residents. She is very dedicated and attentive and is always able to put a smile on their faces,” says Rob Smolin, Administrator.
“Before the injury I was very successful, and I now I realize that none of that was important. It is very interesting how things turned out. Volunteering gives me more satisfaction than anything I have ever done. And my injury has made me more sensitive to their needs,” she says.
For more information about Alaris Health at Boulevard East, please call (201) 868-3600.