Engage Connect sat down with Marilyn Lehr, an enthusiastic volunteer who has jumped right into a whole slate of activities, full steam ahead.
What’s your background?
I grew up on Long Island and earned a master’s degree in English from Boston University. I’d never have guessed my career would include jobs like managing technical writers for Citibank and training people for using computer apps. Turns out I’m a pretty good trainer with a gift for networking, skills I can put to use at Engage.
How did you find the JCC?
While working at FEGS, a big New York nonprofit, I met a woman who told me about Engage at the JCC. I had no idea how many volunteer opportunities were offered, and after a few meetings, I was hooked.
Describe some of your activities with Engage.
Over the last year and a half, I’ve done everything from delivering food to seniors through DOROT to working with the planning committee that helps select Engage community activities. I also serve as the Women’s Group liaison to the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). About 24 Engage volunteers just finished working with the NCJW on our Back to School Event in August, when some 200 kids got to pick out school supplies for the coming year. I arranged for NCJW executives to give inspirational talks at our planning meetings, created fliers to advertise the event, and used my computer skills to create a spreadsheet of volunteer contacts. Our Women’s Group sorted supplies, wrote emails, and even made decorations. Next year we’re definitely roping in the Men’s Group!
At the September Engage Fall Kickoff event, I helped man an event table and encouraged new volunteers to join. I think I’ve managed to sign up five new members over the last year. It’s all been a terrific opportunity to make new friends, improve my self-esteem, and become part of a sharing community.
What attracts you to Engage volunteering?
I feel a sense of belonging that’s been missing since I retired two years ago. By giving time and energy and using my natural abilities, I found inner strengths I’d forgotten. And I think it keeps me out of my husband’s hair. He has no idea what I’m doing, but says I’m part of my own Bermuda Triangle: Lincoln Towers where we live, the Equinox where I work out, and the JCC as a focal point. I feel “Engaged,” never bored, and happily overcommitted.