Volunteer Spotlight: Marna Walters

Posted on March 9th, 2015 by

marna picMarilyn is Marna Walter’s given name but she only uses that when signing checks. She obtained the nickname from her niece who couldn’t say Marilyn and came up with Marna as the substitute.  What we call her is dependable.  She volunteers at the JMM as a Front Desk Receptionist and can be spied at the JMM on most Sundays throughout the year.  She has been volunteering at the JMM since early 1997.  She began as a Docent for the exhibit Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities which was shown in temporary exhibition space in Owings Mills during renovations at the JMM campus on Lloyd Street.  A while after, she switched to working at the Front Desk.

Marna volunteers elsewhere in the community too.  She is a volunteer for a program her family helped initiate at then Montebello Hospital, now Kernan’s, for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.  She helps patients who spend the day at the center with their meals, playing games, exercising, Tai Chi, and just plain having fun.  One volunteer per day assists the staff with the patients when the center is open, Mondays through Thursdays.  On another day during the week, Marna volunteers at Weinberg Place in their food market.  Her original participation in the project was through her affiliation with the National Council on Jewish Women (who gave the original seed money for the program).  She mans the register and used to do all of the purchasing.  Plus, she enlisted two of JMM’s other volunteers; Ernie Silversmith and Renate Milewich to help out too.

Prior to volunteering, Marna worked as a medical technologist.  She worked at D.C. General Hospital while her husband, Paul a lawyer, was stationed in Northern Virginia, and at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.  She has lived in the same house since 1963, where she currently hosts Shabbat dinner every week for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. It’s usually a crowd of 8 – 10 people. She works every Thursday and Friday to prepare for the family.  If a family member is lucky enough to have a birthday that week they get to choose the menu. This week the menu selected by a lucky birthday girl is brisket, twice baked potatoes, cream of spinach, and sour cream coffee cake (the kind with nuts and cinnamon) for dessert.

Marna helped us celebrate at the Museum's 50th birthday a few years ago!

Marna helped us celebrate at the Museum’s 50th birthday a few years ago!

Marna’s favorite aspect of volunteering at the JMM is the rapport between the visitors, staff and volunteers.  She has had a very positive experience while volunteering with us.  She enjoys the opportunity to give advice and receive a glimpse of appreciation when she suggests just the right thing.  She loves it at the JMM and we love having her as a member of our volunteer corps.  She considers it an honor but I assure you, the honor is all ours.

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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Volunteering Makes the Perfect New Year’s Resolution

Posted on January 5th, 2015 by

Welcoming a new year offers a wonderful opportunity to make new choices and take new chances in life. Whether you reflect proudly on your many accomplishments in the past year or you can’t wait to turn a new page and look toward the future, the new calendar year is an opportunity to do the things that might have been on your back burner. If you’ve been thinking about volunteering for years or have been contemplating your resolutions for the New Year, consider volunteering in 2015!

new years resolution pic

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Volunteering makes the perfect New Year’s Resolution because it creates a trifecta of great outcomes. Volunteerism has countless benefits to the community and also to the health and happiness of individuals who commit to volunteering.

Here are just a few reasons to sign up to volunteer today:

1. Volunteering has been linked with increased levels of happiness and decreased depression. A recent Huffington Post Article, Volunteering Could Boost Happiness, Decrease Depression And Help You Live Longer: Study, written by Sara Kondrath, PhD, outlines new research into the topic of volunteerism, health, and happiness.

2. People who volunteer report physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Doing Good is Good for You: 2013 Health and Volunteering Study reveals key benefits of volunteering that make a positive impact on people’s health including feeling better mentally, physically, and emotionally.

3. Volunteers help create and support healthy communities.

Volunteering can easily become one of those back burner activities. The type of activity that always seems like a nice thing to do, but loses steam when it comes to reaching out and signing up.

Make volunteering a reality this year. Many organizations have made it easier than ever to find opportunities and sign up online. Visit http://jewishmuseummd.org/get-involved/volunteering/ to find out more about our volunteer opportunities and to sign up to become a volunteer at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

There has never been a better time to commit to volunteering in the New Year. Help us at the JMM, to promote our mission and to help yourself.

 

ilene cohenA blog post by Volunteer Coordinator Ilene Cohen. The first Monday(ish) of every month she will be highlighting one of our fantastic JMM volunteers and sharing insights on volunteerism. If you are interested in volunteering with the JMM, drop her an email at icohen@jewishmuseummd.org or call 410-732-6402 x217! You can also get more information about volunteering at the Museum here.

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JMM Volunteers Record 10,000th Birth!

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by

The JMM library is always humming with activity. Each month researchers schedule appointments to meet with JMM staff and volunteers to explore our manuscript and photograph collections or to learn more about their family’s history. Sometimes, our education staff uses the library for archival exploration activities in which kids gather around tables to view authentic primary sources –newspaper articles, letters, photographs, scrapbooks and more – relating to such topics as synagogues in Maryland, immigration history, and African-American and Jewish relations. In addition to those who come to use our library for research purposes, on any given day of the week the library also plays host to JMM volunteers who perform invaluable tasks that help ensure our collections are accessible to researchers.

If you visit the library on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will see two dedicated JMM volunteers, Vera Kestenberg and Marty Buckman, typing away at one of our computers.

Marty & Vera

Marty & Vera

Each week they comb through volumes of The Jewish Times (the JMM owns copies of every edition, including the early ones that can be accessed through microfilm) searching for birth announcements.

Birth announcement in the pages of the JT - lucky number 10,000!

Birth announcement in the pages of the JT – lucky number 10,000!

They then careful transcribe each announcement into an excel spreadsheet creating a comprehensive database of birth records that has become a valuable genealogical resource.

Information included in the database includes the child’s first and last name, date of birth, names of both parents, place of birth (including hospital and city/state) as well as which edition of the JT contains the announcement. The database can be accessed from the JMM website along with many other resources such as burial listings at many local Jewish cemeteries.

I was thrilled to learn that after several years of work on this project, Vera and Marty recently crossed a major milestone as they added the 10,000th name to the database! Mazel Tov to both on this incredible accomplishment!

To learn more about Vera and Marty as well as many other talented and dedicated JMM volunteers, be sure to check our volunteer coordinator, Ilene Cohen’s monthly volunteer profile. 

deborahA blog post by Assistant Director Deborah Cardin. To read more posts from Deborah click HERE.

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