They stuff envelopes and dial for dollars at fundraising telethons. They are mentors and tutors, helpers in our classrooms. They deliver groceries and care packages, furnish rides to doctor appointments and visit our seniors. From seasoned professionals to newbies, from busy moms and dads with young children to great grandparents, they have one thing in common: the desire to give of their time and talent. They are the legion of volunteers who work in partnership with staff – as an extended arm – to help keep the agencies and services of our Jewish community . . . organized and running strong. Volunteers and professionals work together to enhance the services and experiences of the organizations and clients they serve.
With the goal to streamline the process of matching volunteers to opportunities to serve the Jewish community, the Detroit Federation has collaborated with its constituent agencies and other Jewish agencies and congregations in metro Detroit to launch iVolunteer Jewish Detroit online.
A one stop shop
Designed for simplicity and accessibility, iVolunteer Jewish Detroit is conceived as a community resource – a “one stop shop” where Jewish agencies, organizations and synagogues are invited to post their programs and events that have a volunteer component. Volunteers are encouraged to follow their hearts and find the projects best suited to their individual desires.
“More than a volunteer site, iVolunteer is an entry point,” says Dale Alpert Rubin, Volunteer Service Manager at the Jewish Federation. “Now it’s easier than ever to find a volunteer opportunity that works for anyone seeking to be part of the good thing that happens in our community when people lend their hand to give back. Our ultimate goal is to bring people together and to help them find deeper connections to the community as volunteers. The site is set up to be user-friendly. You log in, find the project or event that suits your needs, choose your time or slot.You’re in. You’re on. The sponsoring agency will take it from there and contact you directly.”
To date, there are more than 60 volunteer opportunities posted on iVolunteer through dozens of agencies and organizations including Jewish Family Service, JARC, JVS, Bookstock, Kadima, Yad Ezra and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). The site is open to every Jewish organization in the community that works with volunteers. There is no charge to participate.
A community partnership
Emphasizing that the site was built through the collaborative effort of many Jewish organizations to assure its seamless functionality, Dale anticipates doubling – even tripling – the number of participants in the months ahead. More than a clearinghouse for volunteer spots, iVolunteer is a community partnership. Dale adds, “Studies show that people who volunteer often find happiness, fulfillment, new purpose and even new job skills through their volunteer activities. The Jewish Federation is here to foster those activities for as many agencies and individuals as possible with the goal to welcome volunteers of all ages and levels of experience. We’re just getting started, so I urge people to visit and take a look around the site. And, if they can’t find the connection they’re looking for, they are welcome to call me to step in and help.”
An “early adopter” of the site, Yad Ezra was excited to be involved in the iVolunteer Jewish Detroit initiative. According to Darlene Rothman, Volunteer/Client Coordinator at Yad Ezra, the site is “a great vehicle to introduce volunteering opportunities to the Jewish community, so anyone can find the right situation for themselves. This will become the go-to site for Jewish volunteers in metro Detroit. Dale Alpert Rubin and Federation have developed a thorough program that encompasses almost every scenario, and has taken into consideration the needs of agencies and participants alike. The website is easy to understand for volunteers searching for opportunities. The agencies have appropriate flexibility in posting opportunities in a manner that matches their specific needs.”
“There are so many generous people in our community who give back every day through their volunteer efforts,” observes Lindsey Leder, Director of Special Events and Volunteer Engagement at JFS. “At JFS, we couldn’t do the work that we do without the contributions of the volunteers that help us every year. This site will allow the community to see all the great opportunities available from all of our agencies in one common place. We’re encouraged that this will make it more accessible for everyone who wants to get involved to do so.”
It’s never been easier to help the community and have an amazing time doing it. Come see for yourself at ivolunteerjewishdetroit.org. Or contact Dale Alpert Rubin, Federation’s Volunteer Service Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-203-1481.