JFS to offer a heartfelt ‘Thanks’ to over 1,000 volunteers on Feb. 11

By Deb Silverthorn
Jewish Family Service will deliver one big thank-you note, for thousands of hours — 22,229 hours in 2017 — by 1,446 volunteers who make a difference every day, in many ways. The honors will be shared from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at Congregation Shearith Israel. The community is invited to share in the joy. Refreshments, with dietary laws observed, will be served.
“We have an amazing staff but we could never do what we do without our volunteers’ thousands of hours and thousands of hands making a difference for many they’ll never know,” said JFS CEO Steve Banta. “Whether in a moment of crisis, or ongoing programs to keep our neighbors fed, clothed, working, and safe, I’m incredibly impressed by the response to calls for action. This, is community.”
Receiving the honors are: JFS Leadership Award, Beth Konig; JFS Outstanding Volunteer, Carlos Lopez; Spirit of JFS Award, Weezie Margolis and Sue Mintz; JFS Spotlight Award, Kathryn Kaplan; Future of JFS Award, Clive Miskin and Jay Szor; JFS Pro Bono Award, Rebecca Buell and Artyce Colen; JFS Resource Development Award, Just For Show Co-Chairs Fonda Arbetter, Gilian Baron, Beth Konig, Melissa Plaskoff and Paige Sachs; JFS Social Justice Award, Dena Englander; JFS Kids with Heart Award, Daniela Appel; JFS Rookie of the Year, Rachel Biblo-Block and Rachel Pena; Special Recognition, Lynne Baron, Marilyn and Bill Boyd, Margaret Colpa, Roberta Curry, Susan Kanter; Community Partners of the Year, Gateway Church (Services) and Snap Kitchen (Goods); Hurricane Harvey Heroes, Melissa Ackerman and Rusty Dworkin; Team Award, Job Resource Center Mentors Linda Blasnik, Eric Hochfelder, Martin Kahn and Caren Tate.
The “Years-in-Service” awards will be given to Ruth Andres and Harriet Sebert (5 years); Barbie Furman, Alan Harris, Maribeth Lipscomb, Jeri Lyn Sebert, Jeff Sebert, Elaine Soloman (10 years); Bill and Marilyn Boyd, Judy Siegal (15 years); Ben Greenfield, Jenny Reisberg, Barbara Schwarz, Gloria Young (20 years); JoAnn Rosenberg and Dorothy Wolchansky (25 years); and Kyra Effren and Larry Lefkof (30 years).
The President’s Volunteer Service Awards, for hours served, have been earned by Young Adult Silver, Daniela Appel; Young Adult Gold, Lili Stern; Adult Silver Award, Eve Kaplan and Roger Sellers; Adult Gold Awards, Melissa Ackerman, Gilian Baron, Linda Garner, Cheryl Halpern, Julie Liberman, and Bradley Rossel; and the President’s Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award — with more than 4,000 hours served in the last year — was earned by Barbara Schwarz and Arnold Leanse.
“The hearts behind our volunteers beat strong, and anyone can find something meaningful to be a part of,” said Gilian Baron, co-chair of the event. Baron works with Melanie Rubin, and the event is supported by Beverly Goldman, Jeff Landsberg, Jeri Lyn Sebert, Jay Szor, and a nominating committee of Randy Colen, Gail Gilbert, Cheryl Halpern, Faith Retsky and Jeri Lyn Sebert. “The reach of JFS’ support into our community is so expansive and the number of services, more than 200 volunteering opportunities, enormous,” Rubin said. “Time is a rare and valuable commodity and we’re thrilled to have so many to thank for so much.”
“I loved the flexibility of working in so many areas of JFS and they are all incredible and incredibly important. From helping with Kaboomtown to stocking and helping clients in the Food Pantry, I’ve had so many life experiences,” said Daniela Appel, a 17-year-old junior at Plano West Senior High. Appel served more than 180 hours as a 2017 Rabbi Gerald J. Klein intern, and is a recipient of JFS’ Kid at Heart award. “The Kid at Heart award means a lot because it means my time meant a lot. I know I have a place, in JFS, to serve for the rest of my life.”
Pulled into the volunteer corps that rallied to Houston following Hurricane Harvey, with 574 volunteers serving more than 2,000 hours in just the first 10 days, Carlos Lopez will represent and receive JFS’ Outstanding Volunteer award. “I met Cheryl Halpern (JFS past-president) at the JCC’s gym and knew we could help with the Hurricane Harvey recovery,” said Lopez, who with Mike Lewis owns Mañana Management Company, Inc. “We’ve donated to JFS’ Resale Shop, and quickly put our network into action, receiving dozens of trailers of beds and tables, chairs, sofas and more from across the country. Companies without materials gave money, which offset shipping costs. Everyone wanted to help and it’s not over yet.
“We met the unbelievable search and rescue teams who knew who needed food, water, formula and diapers and we were able to get it there,” Lopez continued. “When you think of volunteering, you don’t expect this kind of moment to come to you, and I hope it never does again, but it’s been something to be a part of so much, with and for so many.”
“We want to thank our volunteers for their ‘gift of time,’ our event named just that,” said JFS’ Community Engagement Manager Jamie Denison. “From our toddlers to our seniors, every moment, by every person, touches someone, and the results touch us all.”
To RSVP for the no-charge event, email kjackson@
jfsdallas.org. For information about volunteering through Jewish Family Service, call 972-994-0502 or email jdenison@jfsdallas.org.

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