208 | Nikki Shults: Executive Director of LBFEBoston.org
What means the most to me is building community, finding safe spaces for the lonely and the elderly. - Nikki Shults
Nikki Shults grew up on a family compound in rural Connecticut. At the center of this compound, in the humble, makeshift home lived her grandmother whom she called “Meme”. This wise, matriarch of the family lived to be 95, surrounded by generations of the people she loved. It was on this compound where Nikki learned some of her first lessons about the elderly, community
and companionship. She would go on to pursue a BA in Gerontology and an MBA in Healthcare Management from Quinnipiac University. With only a wish to learn more about the world, she entered the Peace Corps, working in Ethiopia. It was there that she observed “you don’t need a lot to make you happy” and that what she had learned on her family compound about caring for the elderly was true in Ethiopia as well. Nikki could see that Ethiopians kept their elderly close, protecting them inside multigenerational family homes until the day they died. These days, you’ll find Nikki doing what she loves as the Executive Director of a charity called LBFE or Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly www.lbfeboston.org. She is devoted to intergenerational programming and the organization’s mission to build communities and friendships between the old and the young. In this interview, Nikki shares some startling statistics about loneliness, the long-term effects of the pandemic on our oldest populations, and the priceless gifts of wisdom she has learned along the way from the elderly. Says Nikki: they’ve taught me that the sooner you learn to be your most authentic self, the sooner you stop caring what everyone else thinks, that is when your life begins.” #elderly #championship #lbfeboston #peacecorps
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