November 12, 2009 | Italian

Wanted: Volunteer Position

I am seeking unpaid work. Only job requirement: Italian must be spoken.

I was tired today, but managed to be productive anyway. I did eight Pimsleur lessons and some VocabuLearn, worked on Italian verbs, ran errands, and cooked a chicken.

Chicken, Fairway Market

I also tried to find organizations where I could volunteer while learning Italian. I tried the Peter Cardella Senior Center in Ridgewood, Queens, where there are supposedly a lot of elderly people who speak only Italian. The person I spoke to said it was a day program and so what I want to do wouldn’t be helpful. Not sure why, but okay.

I also sent a message to the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York, offering five weeks of volunteer service where I would provide companionship and conversation to elderly New York residents who speak only or mostly only Italian. I then called the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Queens. The woman I spoke to there suggested I send an e-mail, which I promptly did.

Finally, I noticed an ad on for volunteer Italian-to-English translators at the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. I guess it was either ballsy or stupid, but I felt I was up to this task, so I wrote to them, too.

I have hopes for these efforts, but not high ones. It is not a simple matter to get a volunteer gig at a busy, overburdened organization, since organizing you takes people away from their usual tasks. When you put a deadline on your volunteerism, as I am, the obstacles increase.

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