I’ve been a volunteer my whole life. An early memory – my mom was the chair of the June Jubilee when I was in first grade. I remember beaming with pride. The June Jubilee – the best part of the entire year, and my mom was in charge. I remember thinking to myself that day, with lemon & peppermint stick in hand, that I was going to volunteer to do something this big one day.
I volunteered with my mother from that point on, although until I got a little older, they were very small tasks. That’s okay. I’m patient. (Haha, I’m not patient really.) Once I was old enough, I became a candy striper at the local hospital. During college, I read to the blind. After college, I taught English to Vietnamese immigrants and then took on my favorite gig to date – reading the newspaper aloud over the airwaves for the blind. I loved it and went a couple nights a week.
I always did something, although it ebbed and flowed. Incidentally, I watched my mother work on boards, raise money for the comfort of cancer patients, and more.
When my children were young, I joined NCJW and got involved in my local section and quickly got a spot on the board. When our president became ill and unable to serve, I took on the role. It was hard work, but very rewarding. It was during this tenure that I realized I was in search of a volunteer opportunity that used my professional skills. So, when my family’s congregation, Temple Isaiah, asked me to work with a team and report to the Board of Trustees about a communication audit, I was in.
As often happens, audits lead to substantive work. I was honored to be asked to chair the Communications Committee and brought a great friend and respected colleague in to co-chair. He and I put together an extremely talented group to provide detailed recommendations for the congregation in terms of branding, communications methods, and more. Our team got a new website started, consistent email scheduling, collateral look and feel, and the list goes on. It was a year-long project and was fun and hard and good.
It’s very exciting that there is now a talented Communications Coordinator on staff who took the vision and implemented the website development from where we left off and is continuing the good work on all visual materials.
This congregation has been so important to my family. When we moved back east in 1999, when the boys were really small, we didn’t have a community. and Temple Isaiah welcomed us with open arms. Since then, we’ve made so many friends, all our sons have become a bar mitzvah, my husband is active in the Men’s Club, and I’m a member of Sisterhood.
But I digress. Why is Temple Isaiah important to me? It’s important because it has a great focus toward tikkun olam, meaning to repair the world. And, it serves the spiritual and practical needs of the community. Some incredible people –– seriously dedicated volunteers and volunteer leadership, passionate staff, and inspiring clergy — lead the charge and set a high bar for all of us.
I log my volunteer hours at Reward Volunteers and so do many of my fellow volunteers at Temple Isaiah. By doing so, we each have the chance to win prizes for ourselves and prizes and grants for Temple Isaiah. Additionally, staff can get reports for hours logged, so this can be beneficial to them as a volunteer management system. Win/win.