This press release was submitted to Patch by the JCC of the Greater Five Towns. It has been edited.
Five volunteers were recently honored by the for their contributions in helping to improve the lives of those served by the organization.
The volunteer recognition ceremony was held at the JCC’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 27, when Arnold “Arnie” Waldman of Woodmere was sworn in as president of the JCC’s Board of Directors and former president Dr. Kenneth Berman was named chairman of the board.
The volunteers recognized for going above and beyond and helping to improve the quality of life for others are:
Jonah “J.J.” Goldstein of Cedarhurst is a Kulanu student who started out as a toddler at the JCC’s Early Childhood Center and everyone at the JCC’s Nursery School was thrilled when he came back this year to volunteer in the classroom. Every week when J.J. came to the JCC he was happy and enthusiastic to be with the young children, never forgetting to bring coloring sheets that the kids loved to play with while sitting with him. The children enjoy hearing about how J.J. loves to run and that he actually ran a marathon. J.J. truly bonded with the kids and they always looked forward to the day he came to school.
Arielle Bitton of Hewlett has been an active and invaluable volunteer in the JCC’s Children with Special Needs Department working with youngsters in the social skills, music and movement and ETGAR/challenge programs. As a typically developing peer she was a role model for appropriate socialization skills for teens and young adults in the Young Adults through Pizza with Pals and Soul Mates for adolescents with special needs. Arielle was chosen as an ambassador for the JCC’s acclaimed Youth Leadership Conference in Bulgariaas, part of the Tri Center Initiative the JCC is involved with, where she met with teens and young adults from around the world to discuss the needs of Jewish camping in emerging Jewish communities. Arielle, who recently graduated high school, began her volunteer career with the JCC when she started middle school. She will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall.
Michal Hubert, a resident of North Woodmere, approached the JCC’s Children After School Department wanting to provide free art classes for disadvantaged children ages 5 to 7. She put together a 10-week program syllabus of creative and educational projects for the youngsters. The program ran on Sunday mornings. Michal recruited two of her friends who volunteered their time to work with the children. When the class started, there were just six children registered and by the end of the program the number of participants more than doubled to 13 kids due to her leadership and commitment.
Shari Hymowitz of Hewlett delivers non-perishable food packages to recipients who are unable to come to the JCC’s kosher food pantry in Woodmere. The troubled economy has placed a great strain on many families’ ability to put food on their table and when homebound elderly or people with special needs call and says they are in need of food, Shari is called. She always makes herself available while bringing a warm smile and a comforting heart to the disabled adults, frail seniors or other people she delivers to.
Allen Fisher of North Woodmere is an extraordinary individual who for several years has volunteered twice a week at the JCC’s support program for persons with Traumatic Brain Injury and the activity center for persons with Parkinson’s Disease. Allen demonstrates a great capacity to be empathic and is always willing to do any task that is sent his way. He easily engages with the JCC’s clients, creating a bond of friendship and trust whereby they often seek him out for guidance and support. Allen has also created meaningful and therapeutic music programs for people suffering with TBI and Parkinson’s. He has gained the trust and respect of both clients and peers and continues to be a vital asset and wonderful addition to the JCC family.
“Volunteering is a personal choice, not your job, and on behalf of the entire staff of the JCC, I thank you for your extraordinary service,” said Rina Shkolnik, executive director of the JCC of the Greater Five Towns in addressing the organization’s volunteers. “Volunteers are exceptionally vital to our organization in building organizational strength, taking ownership and becoming visible advocates throughout the community for the JCC and its mission.”
The new president of the board of directors of the JCC of the Greater Five Towns is Arnie Waldman, a senior vice-president of CBS Coverage Group, which is a full-service insurance agency based in Plainview. Arnie has remained involved in and held positions as chairman of the board, gabbai, chairman of the seating committee for the High Holidays and for the shul dinner. He is especially committed to causes that concern the most vulnerable citizens among us. Arnie is actively involved with UJA Federation of New York and most recently, Arnie served as the executive vice president of the JCC.
Chairman and immediate past-president Dr. Kenneth Berman is a highly respected local dentist who has been a longtime supporter of the JCC and is active in numerous causes and organizations including UJA Federation of New York. He is also a board member of in Cedarhurst.