8 Days of Giving Back

Blog post by Development and Marketing Manager Rachel Kassman. To read more posts from Rachel, click here.

As part of our #8DaysOfGivingBack campaign, I thought I would highlight some of the giving back that folks here at JMM are doing outside the Museum!

This fall, I started volunteering at Scrap Creative Reuse, whose mission is to inspire creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior.

I love the hands-on work I get to do there organizing donated craft materials as well as helping folks find the perfect supplies for their own creative works. This past Sunday I got to help make dog toys to help support BARCS!

Below are some of the responses I got back from JMM staff about their favorite volunteering experiences (and plans for the new year):

From Director of Learning and Visitor Experience Ilene Dackman-Alon:

Here is a photo of me volunteering at Habonim Dror Camp Moshava in early June, helping with the gardening and weeding prior to the beginning of camp season 2019.

Habonim Dror Camp Moshava is located in quiet, rural Street, MD (near Bel Air) and is a wonderful summer camp both of our kids attended for many summers. We feel very connected to the camp, knowing that our children thrived during their camp experiences there for over 15 years.

From Director of Collections and Exhibits Joanna Church:

Every year I try to get in some quality National History Day time – I’ve judged at the Roland Park Elementary/Middle School competition and the Baltimore City regional competition, and helped out on the administrative side at the Maryland State competition, for the past several years.

I love, love, love History Day and I hardly even think of it as volunteering at this point; it’s just what I do in the spring!

Nonetheless I know there’s more I can do; I hope to up the ante and judge at the National History Day competition this year.

From Program Manager and Curatorial Assistant Trillion Attwood:

My son just started at a new pre-school with an emphasis upon building a strong school community. Through that I am looking forward to volunteering at various school events plus reading to my son’s class and assisting with field trips, maybe even to the JMM!

From Deputy Director Tracie Guy-Decker:

I serve as the volunteer chair of the social justice committee at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, BHC Justice. In this role, I spend my volunteer time organizing, educating and mobilizing folks around social justice issues, especially related to racial equity.

The path to this point started after the Uprising in Baltimore, when I realized I was under-educated about the challenges that face my friends and neighbors of color. I encouraged my synagogue to start a book club for people like me and ended up leading that club for nearly 2 years.

From Visitor Services Coordinator Talia Makowsky:

From August 2017 to February 2019, I served as an AmeriCorps member for Reading Partners Baltimore. This national literacy program mobilizes volunteers from the community to work one-on-one with students on their reading skills. I saw the power of volunteerism, in the way the students would light up when their volunteer tutor picked them up, in the strong bonds built between two individuals who would never have met otherwise. The students found confidence through their volunteer’s dedication, and our volunteers found purpose and laughter with the students.

I still miss that buzz of voices as students read, laughed, and learned with their tutors. I’m pleased that the Museum offers other ways to connect with students in Baltimore City.
Those of us in AmeriCorps know the value in hard work and volunteerism. We loved working with the Reading Partners community, many of us continuing our work as volunteers ourselves!

From Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Davis:

For the past 10 years, I have been volunteering at my synagogue as a gabbai – a person who helps to choose and coordinate those with honors during the Shabbat and holiday services.

From Executive Director Marvin Pinkert:

For the last five years, I have been a member of the Board of Historic Jonestown, Inc. (which recently merged with the Jonestown Planning Council).  The work of HJI is mainly listening to the community and trying to come up with solutions to problems large and small – from seeking out safe play areas for Jonestown’s kids to seeking grant support for our annual Jonestown festival.

It’s taught me that one of JMM’s blessings is having such great neighbors!

We hope our love of volunteering inspires you to be an #Upstander and sign up for some opportunities yourself.

We’d love to hear about some of your favorite past volunteering events and activities! Send us a photo and a sentence or two and we’ll share on our social media this January to help further inspire our community to get out and do some good. You can share here in the comments or email me, Rachel Kassman, at rkassman@jewishmuseummd.org.

And, of course, if you ARE inspired to try a new volunteer opportunity, we would be remiss to not mention that you can even volunteer here at JMM! Do you enjoy helping people find the perfect gift, set up enticing displays, and chatting with Museum visitors? Then we could use your help in Esther’s Place! If this sounds good to you, please get in touch with Wendy Davis, our Volunteer Coordinator, at wdavis@jewishmuseummd.org or call 443-873-5168.


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