Laura Freedman

Why did you choose to volunteer at JFS?

I wanted to get involved locally to give back to others in need. I started volunteering with JFS Greenwich in February 2023 and love the flexibility the organization provides to contribute to different projects. I have assisted with the Back-to-School event, refugee apartment set-ups, and weekly one on one ESL tutoring.

How has working with refugees changed your life?

I find it very fulfilling and enriching to teach my clients conversational English. I strive to make them feel competent and have more confidence in their daily interactions.

How do you customize your ESL lessons?

I have found resources at the Greenwich Library, and I cater my lesson plans to client’s needs and levels. I have also used YouTube videos for the younger kids to help them learn their ABC’s and numbers. In a recent lesson with a client from Honduras we focused on directional phrases, and clothing and household vocabulary. This targeted lesson planning has helped him with his job at the Dollar Store.

What has been your experience working with clients from different countries?

Travel is a big passion, so I love getting to meet people from all around the world without getting onto a plane. I have worked with three different families; a woman from Ukraine, a family of three from Honduras, and currently a family of six from Algeria. I get to practice my French with the Algerian family, while they practice their English.

What did you do prior to volunteering at JFS?

Prior to volunteering, I worked in the beauty industry focusing on sales and marketing at Revlon, Yves Saint Laurent, and Donna Karan. My work experience has been helpful in working with clients as I have targeted their needs and found ways to enrich their lives.

Aside from volunteering, what is your favorite hobby?

I love to play pickleball! I have met so many wonderful JFS volunteers through pickleball. This sport has truly helped me expand my social network in Greenwich.

What did you do over Memorial Day Weekend?

My holiday weekend was filled with enriching myself through art, food, and music. I explored the Westport Fine Arts Fair, an art show at the Hammond Museum, brunch at the LMNOP bakery in Katonah, music at the Greenwich Town Party, and finished off the weekend with wine and cheese with friends at Tod’s Point.

Tell us a little bit about your exciting year of travel!

Last November, I visited Australia and Tasmania for 3 weeks, and this fall I am excited to finally explore Morocco and Madrid.