Blog Series: Tools For Leaders - Session 4
The fourth “Tools for Leaders” class began with the question “I’ve never_____ before, but I’d like to”. The answers were interesting and most included traveling to all four corners of the earth or some type of high risk adventure activity like skydiving, heliskiing or going to outer space. Others want to write a book, meet a famous person or retire and become a full-time volunteer!
In this session, the Developmental Disabilities Services – Tools for Independence group presented to us “JF&CS Pictionary” where we learned about the six core Tools for Independence services. Many of my classmates had heard about the annual Larry Bregman, M.D., Educational Conference, but did not know the breadth and depth of the other services. These services include: Z-H ILP (the Zimmerman-Horowitz Living Independent Program), Tools for Independence WORKS (LifeWORKS – the day program and TeamWORKS and BizWORKS – the vocational components), Alterman/JETS Transportation, the PACT volunteer program (Partnering Active Citizens Together), and HPI (Health Powerment Initiative). There is also a new program, JELP (Jewish Experiential Learning Program), which teaches about a Jewish home and is in partnership with Chabad of Georgia’s Friendship Circle.
The Tools for Independence division employs more than 100 people and has been a part of JF&CS for 20 years. Over 120 people are served annually in these programs and volunteers are always needed. You can help Tools for Independence by volunteering at the Bregman Conference, participating on a committee and/or attending for The Tasting, becoming a PACT volunteer, or signing up to be an Alterman/JETS driver or escort. Help is always needed and I guarantee you will leave with a smile on your face!
As in every Tools for Leaders class, various classmates shared their mission statements. Each volunteer brings an individual talent to the table and it is amazing what can be achieved when we all work together. I am pleased to share my personal mission statement as an example:
Based on the examples set out by my parents and grandparents, I volunteer to make a stronger community for my son and our family; to give assistance to those in need of a helping hand and a listening ear. I bring non-profit advocacy and event planning experience to the table and firmly believe in paying it forward. When I close my eyes at night and feel satisfied and fulfilled having touched the lives of others with the desire to do it again tomorrow, I am achieving my goal as a volunteer.
Our class concluded with Miriam Friedman, Director of Development, leading a value cards exercise. The value cards are a stack of 25 words representing a different value and we were asked to prioritize our top three values that motivate us as a person and the three cards which do not align with us. Family, responsibility, innovation, and courage are examples of the cards. Most of my classmates had an easier time deciding on the bottom values (what least motivates them). Many of us felt there was a lot of overlapping in the terms. The question we as volunteers should ask ourselves is “Do big decisions align with our values and can acting on our individual values be achieved from volunteering?” In my opinion, YES!, but it is up to each of us to decide.
I cannot believe we only have one more class left in our Tools for Leaders program. I am looking forward to presenting to our class about the Counseling Services – Tools for Life division and bringing a special guest “host” to our class.