What made you want to volunteer your time at JFS of Greenwich?
I started working with JFS when I volunteered for the food rescue program and each time I came to JFS to make the deliveries I was amazed by how nice everyone was and knew that this was a program I wanted to be involved in. So, one day I went up and asked if they needed volunteers, and the rest is history.
In your time working with the Afghan Refugees, what was one of the most meaningful moments?
As I started watching this 10-month-old every time I would arrive he would cry because he knew it meant that his mom was leaving. Every time I came I would be a trigger for him, and I hated that. Eventually he stopped crying and would get super excited to see me. He would even cry when I would be the one leaving. This made me feel the emphasis on the importance of building connections
How did teaching bring out certain strengths and weaknesses of yours?
I would teach English to the kids through play rather than a more traditional route. Working in a classroom prior to volunteer work helped me practice my patience and taught me how to really individualize everything. It was super important to meet the kids at their own level and see each individual as who they are and where they were and not assume anything. I frequently struggled with setting up boundaries with myself and telling myself that I can’t do everything for everyone.
What is something you wish you could tell yourself before volunteering?
I would say to not be so hard on myself and that simply just showing up is enough. It is okay to say no, and to set boundaries and stick to what I can give. It is important to prioritize myself and not give all of myself as that is not sustainable.
If you won a free ticket to travel anywhere in the world, what would be your destination of choice and why?
As I am in the process of adopting a child I would love to take a free ticket and travel to wherever the birth mother of my future child is from so we could get to meet her.