By Jennifer Grossman
Chair, Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC)
I remember vividly the day I was asked to chair Community Mitzvah Day, and my reply was ‘what is Mitzvah Day?’ Not only was it the beginning of my JVC involvement but it reminded me of how we as a community need to be more informed about the good things that happen, things that we at JVC make happen.
Since then I have seen first hand all the amazing things JVC does. I have witnessed how connecting people to meaningful volunteer opportunities becomes the gateway to helping them become lifelong volunteers, helping people to believe that the power of their time is a critical resource!
As I begin my two-year term as chair of JVC, I have several goals. First and foremost is to continue to meet vital community needs. Those needs constantly change, and so will JVC with them!
My hope is that together with the JVC staff, we will continue the growth and expansion of VolunTeams to help meet those needs. VolunTeams are making volunteering possible for everyone, regardless of much or how little time one has to volunteer. They have made hands on volunteering accessible and attainable for anybody, whether they are young adults, young families, baby boomers or seniors. With a VolunTeam, we can meet community needs without burning out our community members!
As a family we are part of the JVC board VolunTeam. My kids have been volunteering all their lives. Together as a family we have been involved in countless JVC and other volunteer experiences, so when it was our Sunday to go to a CHAI senior’s house to weatherize a home we all piled in ready to seal windows, fix showers and rake leaves!
But our experience went so much deeper than that. At one point, I came upstairs to get some more tape and I saw the homeowner sitting with my kids, offering them a snack and telling her story of what it was like when she was a kid. She talked about how much brighter her house was with young children in it and with crumbs on the floor! How she loved the sound of the giggling and the finger prints they left everywhere.
At that moment, I realized that this VolunTeam was as much about a people to people connection as it was a legitimate weatherizaiton project. We later crossed paths with the homeowners and both my kids and the homeowners stopped and reminisced about the morning, without a word about the windows, showers or leaves!
As you read this, if you asked yourself “what is that” or “how can I do that” even once, I challenge you to ask! Had I not asked what Mitzvah Day was that day, I would have missed out on eight incredible years of volunteer opportunities. Too many people in our community can’t even begin to understand the incredible work JVC does both in and out of the Jewish community.
Together, let’s change that!