Volunteer Opportunities Abound at the J. Heed the Call.

Just one week ago, we launched Pozez JCC’s Volunteer Services with two service projects and a presentation about the structure of our new program and our Social Impact priorities. In case you missed our presentation, here are a few insights into why we are doing all these amazing things and what is coming next! 

One of my favorite Jewish texts, Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) opens with the statement (Pirkei Avot 1:2): The world stands upon three things: The Torah (learning), Avoda (work, temple service) and Gemilut Hasadim (acts of kindness). At the Pozez JCC, we agree with the sages of the first century CE (not about everything, but at least about this statement). To that end, there are three important pillars to the foundation of Volunteer Services: 

  • Learning. On each volunteer opportunity, we include two types of learning: Service Area learning (what is needed in our area, why is it happening, how can we help to create systematic change?) and Jewish learning (what does Jewish tradition say about this issue, why is performing this particular service is Jewish value?). 
  • Service Projects. Creating impact on our wider community by working together is at the core of what we do. Pozez JCC is an agent of change in building a more diverse, equal, and just society in Northern Virginia. 
  • Building Community. During each event, we will have icebreakers and an opportunity to meaningfully connect with other participants while learning more about the challenge being addressed. We believe that meeting like-minded people and building relationships is imperative to everything we are doing. We are here for people and because of people. In these times, when you can reach almost anyone on the planet, there are still so many people who don’t have someone locally to grab a coffee with within a 15-minute drive. We want more members of our community to feel connected and bonded to their people. By volunteering b’yachad (together), come find your people and become somebody’s person with us! 

These are the principles we keep in mind while creating all our volunteer experiences. Now let’s talk about what is currently on our volunteer menu. There are three priority areas where one can participate: Volunteer Opportunities at the J, One-off Volunteer Events with Partners, and Community Building Opportunities. In future blog posts, we will talk more about volunteer events and community-building opportunities, but today, we will explore the ways you can help at the J. 

With so many programs and events offered by the various departments daily, weekly, monthly, and annually, I’ll bet that many members can’t even imagine how many different opportunities there are to volunteer! If you come to the J for a workout, you might not know that we are also home to the only camp for neurodiverse teens and adults in NoVA. If you are an ECLC parent, you might not know about our amazing Israel shlichut program, and if you are a regular Mah Jongg player at the J, you might not know about our Jewish Family Ambassadors who work throughout NoVA. Becoming a regular volunteer at the J will help you learn more about all the amazing things happening here, help you get to know new people — who are passionate about similar things — and will help the J grow and serve more people.  

Here are areas at the J that need volunteers NOW: 

Administrative and Outreach Positions 

As you can imagine, we have lots of administrative tasks. Covering these needs will help you better understand the work of each program, help us create more effective procedures, and help you meet new people. Opportunities might include helping our membership team conduct surveys, leading tours for prospective members, helping to promote events on social media and building our online community, and helping to organize printed materials.  

Children and Youth 

If you are passionate about working with kids and teens – we have you covered! Some departments that need help in this area are Camp Achva, Horizon Day Camp and Chai 5 (after-school program). Opportunities might include helping Camp Achva to move in and out of Gesher’s campus each summer, creating meaningful experiences for children going through cancer treatment, helping kids foster relationships, and walking kids from their classroom to after-school activities in the gym and pool at the J.  

Disabilities and inclusion  

We are dedicated to building an inclusive community. Our D&I services provide social skills classes, adaptive sports, camp for neurodiverse teens and adults, and programs to help these members build community and friendships. Volunteering in this area will help participants become stronger and more independent and you’ll become more familiar with the needs of this community. 

J-Fit Health Club  

We all love a great workout! And what could be better than meeting other health-minded people by helping them check-in for group exercise classes, answering questions about equipment (once trained) and helping them to find the best machine for their needs! Our J-Fit and aquatics programs have 10 volunteer positions open! Most of them can be combined with your favorite workout while at the J! 

Whether you decide to volunteer for any of our ongoing volunteer positions, come to our one-off volunteer events, or choose to build community in your own neighborhood, we are here to support you and super grateful for your time!  

If you would like to learn more about Volunteer Services, have ideas about ways to give back to the community, or want to meet the people who are helping to fill these needs, Program Manager, Emily Braley (Emily.Braley@theJ.org) and I (Zina.Segal@theJ.org) are happy to treat you to coffee and conversation! 

We look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you giving back to our community! 

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