I met with three great communities since our last newsletter and learned quite a bit about their volunteer departments and how they engage their communities in service. Here are brief recaps of my visits: Portland, OR:
JF&CS Volunteer Coordinator Missy Fry, along with her colleague Melissa Bloom shared that their biggest challenge is creating volunteer opportunities that are attractive to volunteers while still serving the needs of their clients. Fellow communal professional Caron Blau Rothstein, Community Engagement Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland joined us to tell me more about their new endeavor, Portland Mitzvah Network Denver, CO:
Nancy Benyamin, JFS Director of Volunteer Services was gracious enough to give me a full tour of JFS Colorado's main campus - including their food pantry, storage area, and volunteer sorting area. I love that their agency's guiding values are prominently displayed on the wall of the Food Pantry. In her 7+ years at JFS she has made it a priority to weave a culture of volunteering into their agency's strategic plan. Omaha, NE:
JFS Executive Director Karen Gustafson and Sandy Nogg, JFS Assistance Coordinator invited me to meet with Lois Wine, whose role as Director of Volunteers has recently expanded from Jewish Social Services to the entire campus - including the Federation, ADL, JCC and more. We had a great discussion on the unique nature of her position and how AJFCA could be a resource to smaller member agencies like Omaha.