5 Tips to Becoming the Best Papa Pal Ever!

'I have never had a more rewarding job in my life'

By Rebecca Seidenberger, publisher of Macaroni KID Allentown October 19, 2022

I recently took a part time job with a wonderful new company, Papa

As a Papa Pal, I choose my own schedule and help seniors, older adults, and families in our area with non-medical tasks around the house and around their neighborhoods. I have never had a more rewarding job in my life. I get to help members of the Lehigh Valley Community while getting paid. I literally leave each visit with sore cheeks because I smile the entire time! It is an amazing feeling to be able to help people with tasks that they otherwise would have struggled with, all while getting paid. Papa Pals in Pennsylvania earn a base rate of $15 an hour, plus bonuses. Many Papa Pals earn close to $20 an hour with bonuses!

The author applied for and obtained a job with Papa to facilitate the writing of this review. The author received compensation for this article. All thoughts and opinions expressed are her own.

Read more about her journey:

Become a Papa Pal and Earn Money While Helping Your Community

Papa Pal: Flexible Part-Time Work for Busy Parents

Curious about Papa and want to give Papa a try? In short: DO IT! Read on for 5 tips to succeeding at the best part-time, flexible job you've ever had:

1. Be Persistent

Papa is a new company with an amazing idea.  I have no doubt, after working with them over the past months, that it is going to be huge! Because it's so new, the first time you check the app, there may not be many local listings available. Do not fear! Check back in a couple of hours or days, and you will be sure to find local opportunities. My most recent visit was less than 10 miles from my house. Helping people is amazing, but helping people in your own backyard? Even better.

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2. Call in Advance to Introduce Yourself

The handy Pal app reminds you to do this about 24 hours in advance of your appointment. Calling in advance gives both you and your new Papa member a chance to get to know each other, and prepare for your visit. It's also a nice chance to check in about what you will be doing with your Papa member. 

For example, if you learn that you are going to be helping with cleaning around the house, you will dress differently than if you are going out to run errands. If you are planning a trip out to lunch, you can start to think about discussion points in advance to keep the conversation going. 

3. Arrive With a Positive Attitude

You never know what someone is going through. Be kind always. - Unknown

For some of the men and women who are Papa members, a visit from a stranger may be the most exciting part of their day! I try to arrive with a huge smile on my face and a positive attitude for every visit. To be honest, it's not hard. I've met truly incredible, kind, appreciative people during this journey, and I've never had to fake a smile. 

Ask your Papa member about their story. It's incredible to hear what each person's life is like, especially when they've lived over 100 years! 

4. Be Perceptive 

Your Papa member may be nervous about asking for help, so it's good to keep your eyes open. 

Don't be afraid to offer extra help, even if you haven't been asked to do something. During my recent visit, I helped a lovely lady with some light cleaning around the house. As I walked from room to room I noticed smoke detectors in their packaging in each room. 

I asked my Papa member about the smoke detectors, and she told me that she left them out as a reminder to put them up. I asked if she wanted to me install the detectors and she said she didn't want to ask me to do that. I told her she certainly could ask me, and got to work. 

As I went from room to room I heard her on the phone telling people about how happy she was that her Papa Pal was installing these smoke detectors and being so helpful. It made me feel so good to be able to help! We had a fun laugh later when I asked her to take a picture using my phone while I installed one of the smoke detectors. My Papa member had never used an iPhone before, so we had a fun little tutorial on that as well!

The point of my story is this: It's hard to ask for help sometimes. I've found that my Papa members never want to be a burden, and usually ask for the bare minimum. I try my best to look around and think about how I can offer extra help, to lighten their load. The look on your Papa member's face is worth it! 

5. Be Flexible

Sometimes life throws you a curveball, and you need to be ready for it! I arrived at my very first visit ready to spend time together just talking, and the sweetest lady opened the door ready to go out and run errands. We still chatted for over two hours, we just did so at the pharmacy and grocery story. This sweet lady even said to me, "I bet everyone thinks you're my granddaughter, I would like to have a granddaughter like you."

And then my heart melted.

During my latest visit, I arrived to learn that my Papa member's husband had just been admitted to the hospital. She needed help with light cleaning, but she also needed to chat. We took a break and sat on the porch and drank lemonade. I could tell it was exactly what she needed. 

When you choose a visit on the Pal app, you will see a brief description of what you will be planning to do with your Papa member. You will most likely be doing what it says, but be prepared for changes. The change between discussing current events and running to the grocery store was not a burden for me, and it made world of difference to my Papa member. The change between light housework and sitting on the porch chatting clearly meant the world to another Papa member. If it seems like a change in plans can make a Papa member's day better, be flexible and go for it!

Still on the fence about joining Papa? My advice: Give it a try! The job is extremely flexible. There are no minimum or maximum amount of hours, so you can choose to start with one visit and see if you like it. One visit was all it took for me to be completely hooked! 

I still can't believe I get to make my own schedule, get paid, and help members of my community! It is incredibly rewarding, and I encourage all of you to try it out too! 

Looking to become a Papa Pal? Find additional details here:
10 Reasons to Work as a Companion Caregiver 
Give Back to the Community: Become a Papa Pal