Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Kay & Richard DeRossett
Sometime in the early 1980s, right after she moved to Atlanta from her native New York, Ann Kay started volunteering at her children’s school. From there, she moved on to the William Breman Jewish Home and then to Hillel. Finally, she found her way to JF&CS through her husband Michael, a past president of the agency. The Kays started collecting Passover supplies for JF&CS’ Maos program.
It snowballed from there.
Let’s start with the small events for the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program that preceded the annual Tasting fundraiser. She co-chaired several of them. Then there was Renterpieces, helping put together centerpiece baskets for bar mitzvahs, weddings and the like. Next came the Empty Bowl dinner, the annual fundraiser for Atlanta’s homeless that since has been taken over by the Gateway Center. After being on the committee, Ann co-chaired the winter dinner that simulates a soup kitchen. Then in 2008, she co-chaired the Community of Caring event, which kicks off the Annual Campaign each year.
That year, after completing the Tools for Leaders program, Ann joined the Board of Directors. Now she has just finished co-chairing the 2011-2012 program, which grooms participants for leadership roles with JF&CS. She also serves on the Volunteer Committee as well as the newly formed substance abuse advisory council.
“Volunteering has always been an integral part of who I am,” she says. “My parents were always active. They set a good example, and I hope I’m doing that for my children and grandchildren.”
She definitely sets a good example for her Tools for Leaders co-chair Richard DeRossett, who she met through the Empty Bowl. That event was Richard’s foray into JF&CS (not to mention the venue for meeting his wife, Dori, our December 2007 volunteer highlight). Richard and Ann, who is a good friend of Dori’s family, chaired the Empty Bowl as well together. Richard currently chairs JF&CS’ Volunteer Committee.
The more Richard has gotten involved with JF&CS, the more he has appreciated the value of giving back to the community.
“I think at the end of the day, you get what you give, and so I think it’s very important to put every bit of energy and effort and time you have to giving back,” he said. “It’s important to help people if you can. To have the ability to give back is a great thing. I like to see the results. Passing that along to my young child is very important.”
Ann feels the same way. “I hope I make a difference. I want people’s lives to be better, because I feel very fortunate to have what I have. It’s just a way of paying back. It’s always been very important to me and I can’t say enough about the amazing work JF&CS does. I love being part of it.”