Celebrating One Good Deed Friendships: 96-Year-Old Ellie and Her Two Matches

May 09, 2022

Celebrating One Good Deed Friendships: 96-Year-Old Ellie and Her Two Matches

Pictured above from left to right: JF&CS CEO Terri Bonoff with Ellie and One Good Deed Match, Helene; Ellie and One Good Deed Match, Michal

About six years ago, wedding planner Helene was looking to do something meaningful with her free time when she reached out to JF&CS. She was introduced to the agency’s friendly visitor program, One Good Deed. From there, she was matched with then 90-year-old Ellie, who would become one of her closest friends.

Helene said her and Ellie immediately clicked due to their similar backgrounds and personalities: “I’m from New York, Ellie is from New York. She doesn’t take crap from people, and I don’t take crap from people!”

Since that day, they have spent their time together going out to eat, going shopping, and getting drinks. Helene said that Ellie is bright, funny, and tells great stories. According to Helene, Ellie is not shy about ordering a martini at dinner (“It’s nice to see a 96-year-old who still cares about her martini!”), and loves getting ice cream from Dairy Queen with her late at night.

“If you can put glitter on something, Ellie has done it,” Helene joked. “She has sparkly nails, sparkly sneakers, she even has a sparkly flask!”

Helene said that Ellie has become part of her family, and that she considers Ellie to be like a grandmother to her. Helene has a daughter, Emma, who Ellie also considers to be a part of her family. Though she has a son, Ellie never had a daughter of her own, and considers Emma like a daughter to her.

“My parents died young, and I never had the opportunity to take care of aging parents,” Helene explained. “I felt like it was something I wanted to do in this world. I absolutely love Ellie. We have fun together, and it’s wonderful to talk with her.”

Ellie Matches with Michal

When Ellie relocated from Buckhead to Cumming, the drive became a lot more of distance for Helene. Though that didn’t stop them from seeing each other, Helene wanted to make sure Ellie still had a friend she could see more often. So, they decided that Ellie needed another One Good Deed match. That was when Michal stepped in.

For Michal, a Senior Account Manager at the Atlanta Jewish Times, her inspiration to connect with One Good Deed happened right in her workplace. She recalled hearing about One Good Deed through both advertising in the Atlanta Jewish Times and from a friend who volunteered with the program, and thought it sounded like the opportunity she was looking for. She reached out to learn more, and was matched with Ellie about eight months ago.

Today, she and Ellie spend at least one Saturday a month together, doing activities like going out to eat and shopping together. Michal enjoys their time together, saying, “Ellie is a straight shooter. She’s smart, loves to read, and likes to be informed. She’s totally independent at 96 years old, and she loves to look at jewelry, clothes, and other knickknacks. Ellie is great to be around; she is so funny and so positive.”

Ellie said of her friendship with Michal: “Though she is new to me, Michal is very special. She has become very precious to me. She is a loyal friend.”

One Good Deed

Michal encouraged others interested in One Good Deed to reach out and learn more about the program, saying: “If you have time and are looking to give back, and want to help somebody and be there for somebody, it’s a great service. With One Good Deed, you get to meet a new friend, and have something to look forward to and enjoy.”

Ellie said she is grateful for the One Good Deed program for setting her up with Michal and Helene, who she called “my angels on Earth.”

“They are both so wonderful,” she said. “They don’t treat me like an old lady, and they make me feel young again. I have found such a feeling of comfort and acceptance in my friendship with them both. I am blessed every single day for these two women who have made my life so wonderful.”

If you are moved by Ellie’s story, learn more about volunteering with One Good Deed by clicking the button below. If you know an active mature adult who could benefit from volunteers like Ellie or Michal, please feel free to reach out to One Good Deed here.