JFS Perspectives

Friday, April 13, 2018

Our Volunteers Make It Possible



Our Volunteers Make It Possible

In honor of National Volunteer Week, April 15 to 21, we celebrate and thank our volunteers. Their impact is immeasurable, not only for the agency, but for the community as a whole. Volunteers truly are at the heart of everything we do.

“Our volunteers are as varied as the community we serve. However, they all have a common goal of striving to make the world a better place and contribute in any way they can,” says Nancy Benyamin, director of Volunteer Services. “Volunteerism empowers individuals to find their purpose, to take their passion, and turn it into meaningful change.”

volunteer dollar value 2017Last year, 1,128 people gave 30,000 hours of their time to JFS—and they supported nearly every program and department across the agency. The dollar value of that time is $779,100!

skilled professional volunteers 2017It may surprise you that 45 percent of these volunteers are ages 18 to 49. The old adage, “If you need something done, ask a busy person” certainly describes the majority of our volunteers. They are highly educated and bring a vast array of skills, experience, and talent to support our staff. In fact, 49 skilled professionals provided 4,192 hours of expertise to our staff last year, assisting with accounting, writing, office work, consulting, photography, event support, and more.

Debbie Zimmerman, interim president and CEO, says, “Volunteers significantly extend our reach and allow us to provide services to more than 22,000 people each year, which we would not be able to achieve without their invaluable dedication. I have deep appreciation for volunteers and all they do to support our mission or those in need.”

food stat 2017The Family Safety Net Services (FSN) department, which runs the Weinberg Food Pantry and Lunchbox Express, and provides employment services, case management, and emergency financial assistance, has 10 employees. Last year, 570 volunteers helped the department serve 6,153 people. Shelly Hines, FSN director, says, “We couldn’t do the work we do or be able to serve as many people in our community without our volunteers. Our volunteers are some of the most passionate, dedicated, and caring people I know.”

Friendly Visitor volunteers stat 2017The JFS Senior Solutions program has 34 staff between the Tamarac office, Boulder JFS, Colorado Senior Connections programs in Edgewater and Wheat Ridge, and homemakers working throughout the community. In 2017, 363 volunteers enhanced the array of services Senior Solutions provided to 5,954 people. “Our volunteers offer older adults assistance and support that is either difficult to coordinate or simply isn’t readily available in the community,” explains Chandra Matthews, Senior Solutions director. “Between transportation to reading mail, to simply visiting and reminiscing, these caring volunteers help vulnerable and sometimes isolated older adults remain connected and engaged.”

 

Sara Leeper, director of Disability and Employment Services, says, “It’s hard to imagine our program without the special care and dedication from our volunteers. Art lessons, pet therapy, true friendships, comfort and encouragement, storytelling, reading, providing transportation, vehicle maintenance, event hosts, and more. We could go on and on describing the impact our volunteers have on our program. But the mightiest and highest impact by kind and generous individuals volunteering is the genuine care and concern for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It’s a true gift.” 103 volunteers helped extend the reach of 45 employees to positively impact 1,130 people’s lives last year.

young volunteerCheck out our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) during National Volunteer Week to see some of the reasons people volunteer with JFS. We hope their stories serve to inspire you to take action and discover the collective power we all have to unite in making a difference.

 Want to join these volunteers to make an impact this year? Learn more about our volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved. No matter how much time you have or what your interests are, volunteering with JFS can easily fit into your lifestyle and schedule.


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