Staff Interviews: Shelley Kahn

This week we get to talk with Shelley Kahn, our Volunteer Coordinator! She is a busy lady, but she always has a smile for everyone…check out what she had to say!

Please introduce yourself, and what you do here at JFCS.

My name is Shelley Z. Kahn and my official title is Volunteer Coordinator and in addition to running the Volunteer Department, I staff several other projects as well. The Volunteer Department has approximately 350 volunteers performing a variety of different roles and jobs. I also staff the JFCS Robert and Marjorie Kohn Pledge 13 program, for Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, The Family Mitzvah Events for families with young children, The PALS Transportation Program offering Seniors affordable and reliable transportation, the JFCS Oral History Project, capturing the Jewish history of Seniors in Louisville, The Senior Companion Program, with 18 current volunteers providing services for over 60 Seniors, the Doris L. and Theodore B Meyers Shabbos Friends Program, visiting over 70 Seniors living in local Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes, The Food Pantry Committee, with over 40 committee members helping to sustain the JFCS Food Pantry, including special food distributions for Thanksgiving, Passover and Hanukah. I also produce a series of Volunteer Seminars, quarterly learning and enriching experiences for all of our current volunteers.

What do you like best about working for JFCS?

I think one of things I am most proud of working at JFCS is that we make such a positive difference in lives we touch, whether it’s through one of our departments, or through offering powerful Volunteer experiences….it all makes a huge difference in this community.

Can you tell us about a memorable experience or highlight that you’ve had with JFCS?

I enjoy showing young children how they, too can make a difference – doing Mitzvahs – and trying to make the world a better place. Last summer, many of the camp groups from the Jewish Community Center Camp came over on a short field trip to see the food pantry and to hear about hungry people in Louisville, Kentucky. By the end of camp, the campers had collected 100s of items for our Pantry, plus had collected cash as well and presented us with a very sizable check towards the Pantry. The bottom line was that educating these children, who then took the message home to their own families, made a huge difference in the lives of others.

What should a first-time client of yours expect when they visit?

Every client and volunteer will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity we can offer.

How has the interdisciplinary approach to counseling helped your clients?

Yesterday, I received a call from a Jewish woman who requested help. She was in a financial crisis and didn’t know what to do. I was able to have a staff person call her immediately and set up an appointment with her to take her into the Food Pantry, and another staff person called her to set up an appointment to start the Food Stamp process, and a third staff person called her back to set up a time to meet to discuss job counseling. And if, down the road, she is open to therapeutic counseling, that’s available for her as well. But for her immediate concerns, we were able to help her through this crisis and help her start planning for the future. I wish I could say this was an isolated situation, but more and more folks are needing all kinds of assistance, and JFCS is able to provide this type of support for all who call.

Find out how you can help! Give Shelley a call at 452-6341 ext. 103 and see how you can volunteer today – or donate some Passover food for the pantry!

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