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Volunteers Make the Difference at JFCS

In these difficult economic times, non-profits across the country are searching for ways to cover daily expenses. In many cases, critical and valuable programs have been reduced or eliminated completely.

Jewish Family & Career Services strives to provide professional and innovative services and programs for the community and to be a safety net to those clients seeking needed services.
JFCS’ volunteers are a critical component to its ongoing success. Staff members partner with more than 350 dedicated volunteers who donate their time, talents and energy to this agency.

“In today’s busy society, we are so fortunate to be blessed with a high level of engagement of our volunteers,” stated Judy Freundlich Tiell, Executive Director. “As JFCS continues to experience increased demands for services, our volunteers continue to play a vital role in our ability to care and provide services for our clients.”

Volunteer assignments vary from giving hands-on assistance to clients to providing behind the scenes in a support. “Without our volunteers, we could not carry out the care, services and miracles that take place here,” stated Shelley Kahn, Volunteer Coordinator. “We are so grateful and appreciative of our compassionate and committed volunteers.”

Volunteer opportunities include driving for the PALS transportation program, tutoring clients on computers, assisting clients with job searches, conducting job seekers classes, visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities with our Shabbos Friends program, calling senior homebound clients, development and fundraising efforts, counseling career clients, providing research for micro enterprise clients, serving as committee members and providing clerical and data entree support.

Also, making reminder calls for services, running errands, serving as Board members, working in the food pantry, serving as a handyman for disabled clients, helping with special events, assisting with Baskets of Blessings, picking up food at Dare to Care, doing landscape work, working the Applebee’s Pancake Breakfast, visiting homebound seniors, writing for our blog and e-newsletter, job coaching, interviewing seniors for our oral history project, helping with the upkeep of thetherapeutic play room and helping to organize major food distributions.

Volunteers contribute their time and efforts for many reasons. Linda Goodman and Carole Goldberg work each and every Monday in the JFCS Food Pantry. “In this day and age, no one should have to go hungry,” explained Goldberg. “There is personal satisfaction knowing that we are creating a compassionate and dignified atmosphere that allows JFCS clients to make food choices that fit their needs.”

Goodman shared, “one of the reasons I volunteer at JFCS to is to be able to teach by example and to be able to share this project with my grandchildren.”

Another volunteer explained that he “worked in the business world for over 30 years, and at this time in his life, he finally has the time to be able to give back to his community. I am able to use my professional experiences to benefit others.”

Greg Langdon, a very new JFCS volunteer stated, “I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent so far volunteering at JFCS. I have found that working with the micro-enterprise department to be very interesting. I had no idea that JFCS was so active in providing both training and financial assistance in the form of micro-loans to people in the community. I’ve learned a lot about the degree of need that exists in Louisville, and I’ve been impressed that a big part of the agency’s emphasis is on building job and career skills, not merely on giving out charity.”

Bob Steinman moved to Louisville from Cincinnati and wanted to keep busy in retirement. He volunteers by working with people who are unemployed.   “I like being busy and especially liked the opportunities of leadership presented by being a volunteer. The volunteerism with which I have been involved has been somewhat ‘self-serving’ to be sure. As often or not, it has given me a chance to do things that I might never have had the opportunity to do. I started volunteering while I was young, and never stopped.”

Volunteers also act as ambassadors for the agency, helping to educate others in the community about the services this agency offers. Volunteers help to keep this agency connected to the community and assist staff in promoting our core mission. Volunteers are integral parts of this agency and continue to provide fresh insight and strategic resources to JFCS.

To volunteer for JFCS, contact Kahn at 452-6341, ext. 103, or e-mail ShelleyKahn@jfcslouisville.org.

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