Senior companions giving back through the gift of time – World Refugee Day 2018

Senior companions benefit from the time spent with refugees

Fargo, North Dakota –  Shirley Dykshoorn of Lutheran Social Services honors a senior companion for World Refugee Day 2018.

Among its many programs for senior citizens, Lutheran Social Services runs a Senior Companions program in Fargo. We made a video to show its importance to elders living in North Dakota communities.

Our senior companions program is a great example of how effective it is to engage community members to interact with their neighbors and friends and reduce isolation and loneliness. Frequently seniors are more isolated when they are living with their grown children and either do not drive or have too much time alone.

It helps both the companions and the clients to remain physically active and engaged. Having a companion regularly stopping by to talk, reminisce, and share time is a wonderful way to make people more connected and less lonely.

Bhagi Ramar, himself a refugee, is the senior companion who is featured in the video.

Bhagi Ramar is such a wonderful man. He is outgoing and friendly, respectful and thoughtful of others, and every day he gives back through the gift of time.

Watch the video to see the impact Bhagi Ramar has on one elder’s life.

Refugees shaking hands

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World Refugee Day 2018

This month, to celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20, US-born Americans across the United States honor newcomer Americans with a story from their state – a story of a refugee, asylee, or immigrant they admire. From soldiers to politicians, employers to students, social workers to business people – everyday Americans tell their stories to celebrate the goodness and courage of the newcomers who make the United States a better place.

Every day in the month of June, the Refugee Center Online will publish a new story from a different state. Check back for new stories each day:

Learn more about World Refugee Day. All across the country, there will be events celebrating World Refugee Day. Visit this map to find an event in your community.


About Shirley Dykshoorn
Shirley Dykshoorn is the vice president of Senior Services and Humanitarian Services at Lutheran Social Services in Fargo, North Dakota. She also directs their Disaster Response Program.