On this International Women's Day, we are celebrating women who make the world a better place by helping others, which has been a part of our mission since Cordelia Harmon founded The Boston Home in 1881.
Today, we talked with new resident Paula about her career as a nurse and her work volunteering with survivors of domestic violence. “I have always loved helping people who were facing a lot of challenges,” recalls Paula, “so, I worked with many people who had mental illness or were dealing with homelessness, both when I worked at Boston City Hospital and when I worked at the shelter on Long Island in Boston Harbor.”
In addition to her work at the Long Island shelter, Paula also volunteered in the early days of DOVE, which was the first domestic violence shelter on the South Shore, established in 1978. Together with her good friend Peg, who had invited her to volunteer, Paula worked overnight shifts at the shelter, staffed the hotline, met women in crisis and escorted them to the shelter, and participated in trainings for domestic violence volunteers. Paula recalls that one of the first things she did as a volunteer was to donate baby furniture from her own three sons and daughter for women and their children coming to the shelter.
“Paula has a huge, huge heart,” says her fellow volunteer Peg, “full of empathy.” To Paula, it’s just the way she hopes that everyone will look at the world, "I think you have to look at situations that are sad, and think what can I do to make that better.”