President, Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors (CJCS) 2013-2015
During the 1980s, I was working as a Family Life Educator and training volunteers at the Golden Age Association. I loved being there because of the warmth, inclusiveness, respect, appreciation and many varied opportunities for volunteering. I knew I would come back one day to be part of that community.
When I retired, I was warmly welcomed, as are all members and volunteers. I spent several years taking courses and volunteering on various committees in several departments and on the Board of Directors.
My two years as President were a privilege and a phenomenal opportunity to learn, both giving and gaining expertise in many areas. The Centre was going through a dynamic period –reconfiguring our building to meet growing demands for space, expanding our Sephardic outreach initiative, creating and implementing a Strategic Plan, and dealing with the increased demands for our excellent Adapted programs. Our Social Service Department was also expanding rapidly. Being a key player in all areas was enormously rewarding!
The event that had the most profound effect on me and on the Centre was being handed the responsibility of Chairing the Hiring Committee in order to find a new Executive Director! I admit I was terrified and I had a very steep learning curve to climb. I had a great committee and wonderful support from professionals both within Federation CJA and outside of it. I learned a great deal and we did a good job!
I have been volunteering as long as I can remember and in many ways – both hands-on and on committees. In Jewish Junior Welfare League, I worked at the Vic counseling, educating girls who were there for abortions; I worked with a young cystic fibrosis sufferer at the Mackay Center; and I was President. I sat on the Board of Women's Federation as a VP for several years. I don't believe in pure altruism. I always got more than I gave! I learned, I shared and I contributed and I was always rewarded by knowing I could make a difference.
My legacy are two sources of naches. As a role model, I have sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren who are active community members. At the Cummings Centre, being an integral part and driving force of the initiatives that have contributed to making the agency the amazing Centre it is today is very heartening.