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Editorial: Kentuckians Are Great Volunteers

Often, when a poll comes out comparing Kentucky to other states, we find the commonwealth at or near the bottom of the list. We smoke more than our neighbors, we weigh more, we exercise less and we don’t fare well in the areas of income and education.

However, when the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky released the results of its most recent Kentucky Health Issues Poll, there was reason to cheer. The group reported, “More than half of Kentucky adults (51 percent) reported that they had volunteered at their place of worship or a local nonprofit in the past year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 4 Americans ages 16 and older (26 percent) did some sort of volunteer work between September 2009 and September 2010. On average, these Americans spent 52 hours a year – or 1 hour a week – volunteering.”

To those of us in the Jewish community, those results are not a surprise. We know that it is volunteers who keep our community going strong and moving forward. Volunteers serve on the boards of the Jewish Community of Louisville, Jewish Family & Career Services, National Council of Jewish Women, our educational agencies and our synagogues.

Volunteers serve on a myriad of committees that plan activities, review and evaluate our agencies and their programs and supply the ideas that drive new programming.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Jewish Community of Louisville. They raise the funds for the Annual Campaign, and they decide how those funds will be used in the coming year.

This is never an easy task. The dollars raised by the JCL Annual Campaign ensure that Jewish Family & Career Services can provide services like career advisement and family and individual counseling on a sliding scale, so that even those who cannot afford the agency’s regular fees can get the help they need.

Those dollars also support Jewish education at the Louisville Jewish Day School, the Louisville Hebrew School and Kehila, The Temple Hebrew School, the High School of Jewish Studies and in the Melton Adult Mini-School. In addition, they ensure that Hillel is the home away from home for Jewish students on all Metroversity campuses.

Campaign dollars support a wide range of programming through the Jewish Community of Louisville and ensure that scholarship help is available to families that need help with summer camp and membership fees.

Campaign dollars also help fulfill our commitment to Jews-at-risk in Israel and around the world.

There are never enough dollars to meet all these needs, and it is the volunteers on the Planning and Allocations Committee who must decide how our communal dollars will be used in the coming year.

We can make their job easier by supporting the JCL Annual Campaign. If you have already made your commitment to the 2011 Campaign, thank you for your support. If you have not, there is still time. Please call 451-8840 or click here today to make you pledge.

Kudos and thanks to everyone who volunteers. Let’s all keep up the good work.

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