In November 2006, a year after recovering from a stroke, my doctor suggested I should go back to work or find somewhere to volunteer because it would be good for me to get back into a routine. Around this time, my granddaughter saw an ad in the paper for a senior program that she thought would be good for me to check out. I went to the address on the ad and met with a woman named Sylvia who helps place seniors in a volunteer-to-work program through the AARP Senior Employment program. Under this program seniors get to volunteer at a work site for three to six months to learn a job and, hopefully, get hired when the volunteer period ends. Sylvia asked me if I would like to go to MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry), and I said, “yes.”
When I got to MOSI, I met the volunteer coordinator and we talked about where I would be volunteering my time. I wanted to work in the museum’s café because I had worked in restaurants before and liked it, so that is where I was able to start volunteering. When my time was up, the manager asked me if I would like to stay at MOSI and work in the café as a museum staff member (and she even offered me a raise!), and naturally, I answered, “yes!”
My favorite thing about working in the café is meeting people and preparing food for others to enjoy. It makes me feel good when people say the food looks and tastes good because I take pride in what I do. Being the oldest of 15 children I am used to always having family and children around, which is probably why I like working at the museum with all the families and kids running around having fun. I also get to work alongside younger staff members (some in high school), and I like that – working with young people keeps me young!
My schedule is perfect, and I really like my boss. I like being able to visit a new exhibit after my shift ends, or going to the Science Library, and sometimes I have my grandchildren meet me at the museum after my shift. I work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., which is great because I wake up in the morning and watch the news at 6 a.m. and then catch the bus to get to work by 8 a.m.; I have a routine again!