For the last few years, Repair the World has convened a delegation of Jewish non-profit professionals at the annual Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service (June 27-29 this year). So much exciting work has happened in the world of service and volunteering within the Jewish world over the last decade. The delegation offers a chance for some of the leaders of this movement to get together, share ideas, and learn from one another.
We are so excited to have this year’s delegation meet one another. In the meantime, we want to introduce some of them to YOU! Here, we spoke with delegate Michele Freed. As a fellow at the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, she works to empower young Jews to build inclusive communities and repair the world. This recent college grad had a lot to say about the role CVS and Repair the World have had on her work. Read on…
What inspired you to come to CVS and to be a part of Repair the World’s delegation?
Service, social justice and Judaism are key tenets of my work and my life. At the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, one of our five values is a commitment to fulfill the imperative of tikkun olam, repairing the world. When I heard about the conference, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about the successes, challenges, and trends of service and volunteerism across the country, and consider how this knowledge could help with my work.
Then, when I then learned that Repair the World was hosting a delegation for the conference, I knew joining it would be a powerful way to form relationships with other Jewish communal professionals, support the intersection of service and Judaism, and connect with partner organizations of the Foundation.
What have you gained professionally from your experience as a delegate?
Last year I attended just a few months after graduating from college and starting my role at the Schusterman Family Foundation. At the conference I had the opportunity to hear from leaders and professionals in the world of service about various engagement strategies, the key areas of focus for many impactful service organizations and creative approaches to challenges that I could apply to my new work. Being a member of the Repair the World delegation furthered this opportunity as I was able learn about the diverse ways individuals and organizations are approaching service from a Jewish lens. I was especially appreciative of Suzanne Feinspan’s session on Power and Privilege in the Volunteer Experience, and for the opportunity to sit on a panel with Kari Saratovsky of Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies, Rafi Glazer of American Jewish Society for Service and Rebecca Cohen of BBYO during RTW’s session on Engaging Teens and 20-Somethings in Service, led by Repair the World’s Mordy Walfish.
In addition to participating in informative and relevant sessions, being a part of the Repair delegation provided an intimate forum to build new relationships with colleagues in this field. These relationships helped me feel more comfortable in my grant work and excited about my professional future.
How have you incorporated inspiration from the conference into your work at Schusterman?
Many of the organizations represented at the conference are key partners of the Schusterman Family Foundation, including Avodah, BBYO and Repair the World. Being able to meet the professionals from these organizations allowed me to build personal relationships with our partners and gain an enhanced understanding of their work. This has been invaluable in helping me better understand and support their missions through my role at the Foundation.
What are you looking forward to at this year’s CVS?
Wow! There is so much I’m excited about for this year’s CVS. I’m excited that it’s in my home state of Michigan, and I’m happy to see the city of Detroit put on such a powerful event. I’m excited to work with Repair the World again. Since the conference last year, I have had the opportunity to grow my relationships with the organization and so many of the amazing people who work there. My experience thus far has been that if Repair the World is doing something, you can expect it to be enriching, empowering, authentic and fun! I am also excited to meet new people, strengthen old relationships, and learn from impressive leaders dedicated to serving their communities.