Meet Michael Uhlfelder

“When you volunteer, you learn something about yourself.”

For years, my wife and I have taken our children to JVC’s Community Mitzvah Day, where we put together care packages for local shelters. When my good friend approached me about participating in another JVC project – an after-school program speaking to at risk youth about achieving their goals and the responsibilities associated with finding a job – I was excited to share my insights.

Kids Safe Zone, located in Baltimore City, was working with JVC to find speakers who would be positive male role models. They told me many of these children lacked this crucial family element, and they wanted them to hear from individuals who could inspire them, give them hope and show them possibilities. It was a chance for me to give back by sharing my experiences from my first job all the way through starting and growing a successful business. I was able to share what employers look for and expect from good employees. It was a great opportunity to inspire and hopefully empower these kids to look for opportunity and find success.

While there, I spoke with the director to better understand her challenges and learned that the kids needed after-school snacks, I reached out to a friend in the food business who was eager to provide them.

I brought my son, Jack, 10, because I wanted him to have a better understanding of the world around him. I remember looking over at him after I spoke, and saw him interacting and playing computer games with the kids. Jack told me later that it made him realize despite their different backgrounds, kids just want to have fun. It was an important lesson about the world.

My wife, Jayme, and I believe it is important to lead by example and we see the power in volunteering and giving back to the community. We want our children to see the broader world and to understand that many people live without so many of the things we take for granted.

I love that JVC is such a compassionate organization that understands that we are all part of a larger community. I would eagerly volunteer again if asked.

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