By Rozi Rice and Amy Meyers Steinberg
The meaning of the word Volunteer is simple, “a person who works for an organization without being paid,” or “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service.” Being a volunteer means that you are offering something that is not required nor is an obligation. What qualities make a good volunteer? Passion, reliability, integrity, caring, flexible and selfless, just to name a few.
Jewish Community Services has a community of close to 200 dedicated volunteers who help clients to live an active and independent lifestyle. Our volunteers vary from tutoring non-English speaking clients, helping clients in our Career Center improve a skill to secure a job, visiting home-bound, clients mentoring a child, and driving clients to doctor and government appointments through our Mitzvah Mobility program. Many of our volunteer drivers develop relationships with our clients since they may often be escorting them to a variety of appointments and get to know one another well.
At times, because of their caring and dedication, our volunteers go above and beyond. A few months ago, Mike*, a Mitzvah Mobility driver and JCS volunteer for 26 years, was scheduled to drive one of our clients, Mr. Cohen* (*not their actual names) to a medical appointment. Mike confirmed the pick-up time with Mr. Cohen, who he had driven many times before, and arrived promptly the next day. When Mr. Cohen did not come downstairs from his apartment, Mike called him to say he was outside waiting for him. When Mr. Cohen didn’t answer his phone, Mike became concerned, went upstairs to the apartment and knocked on the door. After knocking on the door for what seemed like several minutes, he heard Mr. Cohen’s faint voice calling to him from inside, saying he had fallen, was hurt, and could not move. Mike immediately called 911, then called JCS to let the staff know what had happened and waited outside Mr. Cohen‘s door, reassuring him that help was on the way. The fire department had to break down the door and the EMTs determined that Mr. Cohen was seriously injured and transported him to the hospital. Mike did not leave Mr. Cohen until the ambulance was out of sight.
When our JCS Volunteer Coordinator spoke with Mike after he arrived home, Mike was understandably very shaken by the incident; however, his greatest concern was for Mr. Cohen’s well-being and he was grateful to have been there at the right time and the right place or the outcome may have been very different. Mike was a hero that day in the truest sense of the word.
JCS values every one of our volunteers for the support, time and care they contribute each day to ensure the well-being of our clients. Volunteers truly make a difference and strengthen our community.
Rozi Rice and Amy Meyers Steinberg are JCS Volunteer Coordinators.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer at Jewish Community Services, click below.
Click the play button below to watch a special message to our amazing volunteers! Thank you!