Age Is Not A Boundary, But Rather A Gift, For One Volunteer
02/09/2007 02:59 PM
She works harder than people a third of her age while making her colleagues' day brighter with a kind word and a big smile. As NY1's Rebecca Spitz reports, those are just some of the reasons she is the New Yorker of the Week.
Three days a week Sonya Cohn bundles up and walks several blocks to the Jewish Home and Hospital in Manhattan Valley, where she has been a loyal volunteer there for the past 18 years.
But what makes her volunteer work even more impressive is her age: Sonya is 90 years old.
"Every day when I leave they say, 'thank you' and it's wonderful but I get just as much out of it,” said Cohn. “I mean I give a lot, but I get just as much out of it."
Cohn started volunteering when she was 72 after finding herself retired and bored. What started as two days quickly became three when she found there was just too much to be done.
Now Cohn spend four hours a day, three days a week in the Medical Records office filing, copying, and helping to process new admissions.
"I worked all my life, for me work is a blessing,” said Cohn. “It gives you satisfaction. It gives you your worth."
And when it comes to worth, her boss describes Cohn as "priceless.”
"Over the 18 years, at the rate she's volunteered, it's about 11,000 hours of service," said her boss, Patricia Walsh.
Another supervisor says Cohn brightens the office with her smile and her tendency to describe her mood as "delicious." She is also willing to do whatever is asked of her, preferring to be as busy as possible.
"I know people half her age who are already tired, but Sonya's not tired,” said Health Information Management Director Toyin Savage. “She's a very hard working person, and she's an asset to this department. She's a really wonderful person."
Cohn credits her parents with teaching her about a good work ethic and attitude. But she is not very good at accepting compliments, saying she does not volunteer for the praise.
"When you don't think of yourself, you have to think of others,” said Cohn. “And that's a good thing."
And so for doing good things and setting a good example for people of all ages, Sonya Cohn is the New Yorker of the Week.
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