Following a 19-year career at Jewish Family Service, first as Volunteer Coordinator and then as Director of Volunteer Services, Jane Deer-Hileman will be leaving at the end of December.
Through nearly two decades of service, Jane helped connect the unending generosity of volunteers with the continued need in our community, according to Galit Ezekiel, Senior Director of Administration & Outreach. “She is a tireless and passionate advocate,” Galit said. “Jane has always ensured a meaningful volunteer experience while meeting the needs of clients. This was not just a job for Jane. She lived this job.”
When Jane began at JFS, 100 to 200 people volunteered each year. Today, that number is 1,500. “She built this successful program,” Galit said. “Because of her, more clients have been served, and to a deeper degree.”
While the work of JFS would not have been possible without Jane’s vision and guidance, Jane praises the community as the cornerstone of Volunteer Services. “I want to acknowledge that as hard as I have worked here to manage the details of volunteering, it would not be the great place to volunteer without all of you,” she said. “I’ve been proud to help organize, coordinate and facilitate the volunteering that has gone on, but it’s the volunteers themselves who have served most graciously and generously.”
Before saying her final goodbyes, Jane shared some of her JFS highlights.
What drew you to Volunteer Services?
I wanted to work with people who were helping out of the goodness of their hearts. In past community organizing roles, I was impressed with the number of people who would step forward when there was a need. That generosity inspired me to help connect, mobilize and facilitate that community desire to help others during vulnerable times. I wanted to be around people who were giving, and I have enjoyed playing this role here at JFS.
What accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at JFS?
I really enjoyed developing the family volunteering events; creating the volunteer-taught ESL classes for Russian seniors; supervising the Big Pals program and providing monthly activities for young people and their big pals; working with our community partners; and, generally providing volunteers for the many needs of the programs. I am proud of all the 19 years of service to JFS and our community.
What have you learned from JFS volunteers?
Many people want to help, but the key is to find opportunities at the right time and place that correspond to the best skills and interests of the volunteer. Some volunteers love to drive and deliver, while some love to work one-on-one. Some prefer the same time and place every week, and some want to be called when there is a hard-to-fill need. Some volunteers might only be available for the summer but offer full-time service for two months. Mostly, I learned to listen to what volunteers really want to do and tried to find a way to engage with their interests and availabilities. During my years at JFS, thousands of community members have been flexible and creative in their volunteer efforts.
What have you learned from JFS clients?
I’ve learned that generosity creates kindness and perpetuates more generosity. Over the years, many clients have sent cards and notes to tell the volunteers how much they enjoyed the visits, the holiday baskets, the food deliveries, the English classes, the help moving, the service at the Food Bank, etc. Clients have been just as generous as volunteers, sharing their praise and appreciation. There is a tremendous amount of goodwill engendered by people giving their time and other people appreciating those efforts. This kind of helpfulness creates a positive and memorable experience in all our lives.
Any offers to volunteer and questions about current or future volunteering can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.