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Social Work Month 2024: Meet Madeline!

Meet Madeline! Madeline Starkenburg, LMSW is a Friendly Visiting Social Worker at DOROT. The Friendly Visiting program matches older adults with volunteers who meet regularly at their home to connect and bond over shared life experiences, hobbies and interests, and more. Matches are initially made for a 12-month period with either monthly or weekly visits, but often, the friendships continue and become lifelong!

Get to know Madeline below:

Tell us a little bit about yourself: 

Nearly 3 years ago I left behind Southern California's sunshine for NYC, and I couldn't be happier to be in the city of Broadway, the best bagels, and Central Park. I've been with DOROT since I graduated from Columbia School of Social Work and have enjoyed getting to know the community in such a meaningful way.

Which DOROT program team do you work on?

I work on the Friendly Visiting Team. My role entails supporting existing Friendly Visiting matches, helping create new matches, and provide additional support to all participants of our program.

How does social work inform your program?

When we are creating matches and supporting existing matches, we are working with human complexities and relationship dynamics, which is exactly where social work is integrated into our work! Understanding that people have different life experiences and approaches to the world allows us to support each individual in a way that is meaningful for them.

How does your background in social work inform how you approach your work?

Social work emphasizes a strengths-based approach and that is present in every aspect of my role at DOROT. Be it making matches, going on home visits, speaking with volunteers, or collaborating with colleagues, focusing on one’s strengths and what they bring to the table is essential for relationship building and integrating the social work model into our work.

What do you find most fulfilling about your work?

When I am speaking with a participant in a Friendly Visiting match and they share how meaningful and important this relationship is to them, I feel such immense gratitude and pride in being able to do the work that I do. The world is only becoming more isolated, so to be able to play a role in alleviating that is especially fulfilling.

Thank you to Madeline and to the entire Friendly Visiting and Assessment Team - Lisa, Jackie, Jessica, Jenny, and Margaret!