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Volunteer opportunities

02/24/2023 10:53:26 AM


Looking to volunteer? Need a b’nai mitzvah project? Here are ways to help people in our community. 

Bring the Whole Mishpacha (Family) to Mitzvah Day!

• Through April 23, we’re collecting items to use and donate as part of Mitzvah Day.  See what we’re collecting.

• On April 23 we’ve got community service projects all day long. Learn more and register for a project or two.  

• Come shop at the Social Justice Fair, open to the public (invite your local friends!).

Earthquake Relief for Turkey and Syria

The recent major earthquakes along the Turkish-Syrian border and the great loss of life and property reminds us of the need to reach out to our fellow human beings to offer what we can. Please contribute to relief efforts at Turkish Philanthropy Funds, a charity given a 100% rating by Charity Navigator.  

Volunteer Drivers Needed for Immigration Appointments

The Dane Sanctuary Coalition provide rides for immigrants to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices in Milwaukee, Waukegan, IL, and Chicago, as well as the United States Immigration Court in Chicago. Recently we have started to offer local rides to immigrants who need to meet with local immigration attorneys but who live in parts of Dane County without much public transportation. 

When a ride is needed, Dan Zimmerman or Dineen Grow, the co-coordinators for the volunteer driver program, send out an email to the list of volunteers. Volunteer drivers only commit to a specific ride based on their availability. For the longer trips, partial compensation for mileage and parking is available. If you’re interested, there is a virtual training session about the role and responsibilities of a volunteer driver, USCIS processes, etc. Email Dan Zimmerman or call him at his home at 608-241-1158. 

Serving Meals at the Catholic Multicultural Center 

If you are looking for a fun, easy opportunity to help the community and spend quality time as a team or group, you can help serve a meal at the Catholic Multicultural Center (CMC). CMC provides free meals every day to community members on Madison's south side and people experiencing homelessness. Our volunteers set out and serve the food, join the meal, and then do the dishes and clean up. The Catholic Multicultural Center is located at 1862 Beld Street, Madison, WI 53713. 

Our TBE team is signed up to help on the third Tuesday of each month. Our next days will be March 21 and April 18, 3:30–5:30 pm. If you’re interested in engaging with other TBE members to meet this critical community need, click the sign-up link. Contact Sue Levy if you have questions.

Court Observers for Criminal and Eviction Court

Several Temple Beth El members act as court observers under a program run by the Nehemiah Center for Urban Development, watching and reporting on criminal and/or eviction court hearings. Observers make their own schedules and are expected to observe about four hours each month. For more information, you can contact any of those currently involved: Betsy Abramson, Lynn Silverman, or Cari DiTullio.

Middle School Literacy and Math Tutors

The Racial Justice Action Team is partnering with the Urban League of Greater Madison to recruit adults as literacy or math tutors in Madison’s middle schools. Volunteers complete online trainings and then select the middle school of their choice to commit to at least one hour each week working with individual students. You can begin to explore this opportunity by completing the volunteer tutor application. To learn more about it from a tutor who participated this spring, please contact Betsy Abramson at 608-332-7867, who tutored in algebra twice/week at O’Keeffe Middle School. She learned a lot of algebra herself and reports great satisfaction in helping a 7th grader catch up in this critical skill.

Volunteering through Jewish Social Services 

Jewish Social Services succeeds because of its fabulous team of volunteers who serve as drivers, friendly visitors, events supporters, language tutors, helpers with the Refugee Resettlement program, and so much more. Here are some volunteer roles:

Individual and family support: Extend and provide support by helping clients coping with a move, changes or challenges in their life situations, and being an ally and resource person.
Driver: This may be combined with individual/family support volunteering or as designated shopper. Provide rides to clients for appointments and other destinations is on an as-needed and as-available basis.
Designated shopper: Provide assistance and companionship by going shopping or running errands with or for clients.
Spiritual care volunteers: Visit people in memory care, after specific training for such visits.
Office help: Assist in various tasks as needed for mailings, record keeping, etc.
Volunteer for holiday, social events, and Shabbats: Assist staff to help participants, family and friends enjoy and participate in meals and events. Put together holiday gift bags, and/or deliver holiday treats to people in their homes and facilities.

Child care volunteers: Provide child care during an Afghan women’s support group on Thursdays at 10:00 am at the Northport Community Center. The children range from infants to age 5. 

Refugee mentorship through Aljirani Madison: Aljirani Madison (from the Swahili “jirani” and Arabic “aljar,” both meaning “neighbor”) is a six-month volunteering program that pairs a companion or small group of companions with a refugee or refugee family to provide a warm welcome, companionship, and practical help. Contact Erica Serlin or Lynn Silverman to hear about their experience and learn more about the program.

Co-sponsorship: Help with refugee resettlement. Activities include finding and preparing homes before arrival, greeting the family at the airport, connecting them with local services, helping them secure employment, and providing transportation as needed, all with assistance from JSS’s experienced staff.

Community Action for Refugee Arrivals (CARA) Program: Support JSS refugee clients by setting up apartments and engaging the broader community in ways to make Madison an even more welcoming place for refugees.

For all JSS volunteer-related questions, contact Paul Borowsky at 608-442-4083 or

April 16, 2024 8 Nisan 5784