Meet Michelle: Finding Meaning as a Papa Pal

A recent retiree, Michelle loves the flexibility being a Papa Pal affords her, and the meaningful connections she makes.

Always driven to help others in need, Michigan native Michelle found Papa after retiring from the federal government in 2012. As a single mother, Michelle is used to putting others first, and when she learned about Papa, she knew the next chapter of her life, focused on personal fulfillment, was about to begin. “Being a Papa Pal has allowed me to have flexibility in my schedule and meet wonderful people who keep me motivated and inspired. The members rely on me, and the relationships we have formed mean so much to me—and to them.”  

Michelle sees 12 members regularly, and the members have been quick to accept her help from the start. From the first visit on, Michelle opens about her life and listens to the members' stories so that they get to know her. It’s important for her to create a bond with the members. She said, “A few of my members even invited me to spend Christmas with them because they knew my daughter lives in LA and I would be alone.” This is the real, human connection that Papa cultivates. 

And that human connection yields better health. For instance, when Michelle noticed one housebound member was living with untreated mobility issues, she had the tools to ensure that person got the help needed. Michelle shared, “I elevated my concerns through the Papa Pal app and her health plan was quickly able to arrange a visiting nurse, bath aide, and physical therapist to provide in-home services. While the member initially felt hopeless and had resigned to spend the rest of her days alone, her mental health and physical health have now improved.” 

“People need help, and I can help them. Not many jobs allow you to see the effects you have on others. This work gives meaning to my life. If we can’t help someone else, why are we here? Helping the communities that need it the most is my passion, and I am so happy I can do this by working for Papa.”