Making the World A Better Place by Learning the Art of Empathy

Meet Lindsay Pagano, a gifted social worker who despite her learning disability continues to help those in need of medical care. 

Lindsay is an essential worker who takes care of underprivileged and medically needy seniors. She holds a Masters degree in Medical and Clinic Social Work from Boston University. She works at West Side Federation for Senior Housing Inc (WSFSSH), a New York-based non-profit organization that houses homeless individuals and provides them with the required healthcare facilities.

Growing up, Lindsay lived in a beautiful neighborhood in New York with supportive parents and two loving older brothers. Her family is of Spanish and Italian descent. In school, she developed a learning disability where she had trouble paying attention and taking exams. Lindsay fought through the condition to only come out stronger. The struggle with learning disability turned out to be a great moral learning process for her. She acquired empathy towards children with disabilities and decided to work for their welfare. She calls this to be her most challenging job till date. 

Despite coming from a privileged background, Lindsay understood the importance of empathy, something that doesn’t come easy to many. “I grew up with many privileges and felt it was my duty to pay it forward. I was always taught no matter what you do in life, always help other people”, she says. Now she works to do her bit for society. She believes that we go through experiences to develop empathy, so that we can help and guide each other. She wishes to make the world a better place and finds joy in positively influencing others. 

Lindsay feels she is gifted with intuition to understand what a person is feeling in response to a particular stimulus. This helps her in connecting with the people and serving them better. WSFSSH has been serving vulnerable and needy individuals for the last 40 years. She joined the organization 2018 and has been working tirelessly to help seniors of all races, ethnicities, and religions since then. She helps escort them to doctor’s appointments and procedures and ensures quality of life. 

Her job is as challenging as it can get. She works with patients struggling with mental illness who often shout at her and even call her names. Lindsay never takes them personally and strives to understand what they are going through. 

Another challenge she faces is maintaining patience as it takes a lot of time for change to happen. She talks about a patient who took up a year to receive medical attention and was eventually diagnosed with cancer. He neglected his symptoms, but Lindsay kept on pushing him. He is now thankful to her and goes to chemotherapy regularly. 

She is not remotely even interested in awards and recognitions. When asked about her greatest achievements so far, Lindsay says it is “having a client tell me I changed their lives for the better, for thanking me for investing so much time in their lives”. Her ultimate goal is to change as many lives as possible and never give up.  

Talking about the importance of passion in life, she says, “Follow your passion in your career. Do not listen to the limits society and those around you project onto women as a career choice. Whether it be a caring profession or not. You will truly never be satisfied in life if you are not doing work you are passionate about. This creates purpose, and “purpose” is one thing that actually contributes to longevity in our lives. So, for your own health and well-being, choose purpose”.