By Cindy Zoines
By Cindy Zoines
Today I popped into the main office of Miguel’s high school to request an early dismissal for him. I was bringing him to his sixth and final appointment with an angel… a pro-bono dentist who treated and saved this 16 year old, his teeth and his smile.
My experience helping newly arrived individuals and families began when I was the assistant director of volunteer services with Jewish Family Services (now Jewish Community Services). At the time we were setting up households and arranging transportation through Mitzvah Mobility for Russian refugees.
Now, 35 years later, as a retiree, I volunteer to provide a more direct service to a family from Guatemala seeking asylum. I became involved after receiving an email from the team at Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC), who had been asked to solicit Spanish speaking volunteers to assist with the many tasks of welcoming and offering support to families fleeing from the horrors of their native homes and their experiences at the border.
There are so many unmet needs for my assigned family, so I work in a small team with the backing of Immigrant Families Together, a foundation dedicated to reuniting and supporting immigrant families separated at the US/Mexico border.
I could write pages on the many ways we use our experiences, talents and connections to improve the quality of life for these folks who arrive with the clothes on their backs and nothing more. What could be more gratifying than delivering food to a hungry family, accessing what is needed to alleviate the pain of an earache, working with teachers in the children’s schools to facilitate communication and helping navigate the burdensome and frustrating immigration process?
My transition from work to retirement was not easy. In my case, I needed to redefine my identity, find purpose, get to a gym and clean out the house. Ugh for the last two.
While pursuing my volunteer interests, thanks to JVC, you might find me tutoring with Reading Partners, doing administrative work at Super Kids Camp or in the JVC office, shopping for The Market at Weinberg Village and participating in other long term, short term and one-time projects. Flexibility is crucial when you still want to meet up with friends and family, travel, get your dose of Netflix and follow other passions.
The beauty of volunteering for me is the luxury of growing and learning, meeting new and interesting people and picking and choosing my next opportunity as I peruse the variety of options on the JVC website.
I know this sounds trite, but I am truly honored and grateful to have the privilege of spending this chapter of my life doing what feels so right and so good.
My new identity…VOLUNTEER DO-GOODER and I couldn’t be happier!
On this episode of Pull Up A Chair, we have love and romance. Elise and David Saltzberg actually found each other thanks to The Associated. They talk about how it was actually diamonds and deception that ultimately drew them together, but it’s not what you […]
Welcome to Pull Up A Chair, a bi-weekly podcast from The Associated. Join us as we sit down and talk with members of our community. Hear the personal stories of Jewish Baltimore – from CEO’s to The Bagels Boys to Summer Camp Sweethearts. We’ll laugh, […]
Curator Talk: Behind the Scenes of Scrap YardJanuary 19, 1:00 p.m., Jewish Museum of Maryland Herbert Bearman CampusJoin exhibit curator Zachary Levine for an exploration behind-the-scenes of Scrap Yard: Innovators of Recycling. Discover a story of transformation of scrap itself and the individuals who worked […]
Recognizing this – and understanding that Judaism offers its own traditions on dying – The Associated is committed to ensuring that they receive services that are sensitive to Judaism’s beliefs and customs. Through its Dignity Fund, The Associated is helping Jewish Community Services (JCS) respond […]
Take a small step to make a big impact