June 21, 2024

Making our world a little brighter…

So often, it is hard for me to express the level of gratitude I have for those who share our quest to change the world. While I thank our staff, volunteers, and donors often – the words just never seem like enough.

Since our task is so great, we run the risk of feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes, I sit with that feeling as issues like poverty, hunger, isolation, and caring for those in need weigh on my mind. But with age comes wisdom (I celebrate my birthday in July!).  We know we can’t help everyone, but we also know that if we take on this charge alone, we will not succeed. 

It is best to look at this journey on a personal level as we look to change the world – one person at a time. We look for different ways to support those in need. We must approach each person with respect for their lived experiences and do our best to learn from them. We meet them where they are and help them get to where they need to go. 

So, we set about this journey with intention and strategy. We implore others to join our quest, to strengthen our resolve, and to truly change the lives in our community. JFCS serves more than 8,000 people every year with the help of just over 100 staff members and a corps of more than 200 amazing volunteers – partners in caring and service. 

This week, I received a beautiful note from a client’s husband and caregiver.  Jared* reached out to me to say thank you. His wife, Betty* has Alzheimer’s. She is a new client of JFCS and receives support regularly through our Senior Services Department.  As a client with memory loss, connection to community, socialization, and support are important parts of our approach to helping her age with dignity and respect.  

Among the support she receives, Betty has a “friendly visitor” volunteer who visits her monthly. Betty’s volunteer, Andrea, is a perfect example of how each of us can reach one person and change their world for the better. Betty’s husband wrote last week to say thank you.  

I am writing to express my gratitude for the volunteer services provided by Andrea Garber, who regularly visits my wife, Betty. Your agency is truly blessed by having her as a volunteer. The social visits are very meaningful to Betty.  Andrea is a woman of compassion, sensitivity, and intelligence who makes Betty’s world a little brighter with each visit. The “mitzvah” she provides cannot be measured in words alone. I am sure she touches the hearts of other individuals as well. Don’t ever lose her…she represents everything you want JFCS to stand for!  Andrea is a blessing we won’t soon forget!

In addition to being a friendly visitor, Andrea is a volunteer medical advocate, has delivered meals, supported Israeli families in their time of need, and supports Holocaust Survivors. She is truly a blessing, and we are so very lucky to have her and so many others like her. 

Some people question whether miracles, blessings, or even G-d exist in this world. It is hard to believe in what we cannot see.  For me, the answer is quite simple. They certainly exist and they appear through acts of kindness such as Andrea’s spirit and service.    

Thank you, Andrea, and the hundreds of other volunteers who make our work possible. You join us on this journey of service, and you truly change the world by helping those in need!

Wishing you peace and love on this Shabbat and everyday.

All my best,

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*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.