Volunteer Opportunities

For the Sake of Peace Among People: Mitzvah Opportunities

"The first person was created alone for the sake of peace among people, so that no one could say to another, 'My ancestor was greater than yours.'" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)

Community Forum:  Let's End Cash Bail in Philadelphia
First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, 2125 Chestnut Street
April 6 at 7pm

Cash bail does not ensure the safety of the public.  Locking up low income people to await trial disrupts employment, stresses families, and often results in evictions.  It is unconstitutional to keep someone in jail simply because they can not afford to pay. The award of the MacArthur Grant to the city of $3.5 million gives us a unique opportunity to revamp the city's current outmoded and unfair bail system. The No215Jail Coalition is a co-sponsor of the forum.  
More information will be forthcoming about other co-sponsors and the speakers.

How Can You Help Refugee Resettlement in Philadelphia?
For those who are wondering how they can help our refugee resettlement efforts here in Philadelphia, and HIAS-PA in particular, some suggestions:
DONATE/FUNDRAISE -- Donate, or fundraise in your community or online, to support refugee resettlement. As the Refugee Resettlement program is almost entirely federally-funded, per capita for each refugee arrival, we are concerned about being able to keep the program open during this shut-down and its aftermath. Go to hiaspa.org/donate to donate, or contact our Development lead Daniella Scruggs at [email protected] if you want to set up a fundraiser.
REFUGEE VALENTINE'S DAY. Get a list of needs from us for a specific refugee family and provide what you wish from that list. This might include winter shoes or clothes, a SEPTA pass, school uniforms, a laptop, or whatever they need that you want to provide. Contact Refugee Program Director Rona Buchalter for details, [email protected].
ADVOCATE - Call, visit, or write to your elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels, including the President, and urge them to oppose this draconian ban on immigrants and refugees.
HIRE a refugee in your company, and urge employers you patronize to do so. Early employment is an essential part of refugee self-sufficiency and acculturation. Potential employers can contact our Employment Specialist Gin Sum [email protected].
VOLUNTEER WITH HIAS-PA REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM
If you are interested in volunteering your time, there are several ways that our current refugees could use more direct support. Sign up for these on our website, hiaspa.org/volunteer.

Accompany refugees on appointments (via SEPTA) during the week, especially in the afternoons
Become a neighborhood guide in the Northeast or South Philly, showing refugees their new community resources and helping them to learn their new culture.
Offer one-on-one ESL classes (training available)
Provide childcare during Tues/Thurs morning ESL classes or be on-call for employment workshops (so both parents can attend).
Become a Job Search Mentor. Help refugees develop resumes, job search strategies, interview prep, and more.

HIAS PA - You Can Help Refugees Coming to Philadelphia
HIAS PA upholds the Jewish imperative of welcoming the stranger by helping to resettle immigrants and refugees who are fleeing persecution. Here are ways to get involved:

Tzedakah Collective
Apply this year

Congregation Rodeph Shalom has been a part of the North Broad Street community for over 150 years.  As a responsible neighbor, we care about the improvement of our community, providing relief to individuals in need and creating opportunities for self-sufficiency.  The Rodeph Shalom Tzedekah Collective is our way of collecting money earmarked for distribution to worthy projects in the community.  Tzedekah, in Hebrew, simultaneously means “charity” and “justice” and through our giving, we intend to bring a greater sense of justice to our world.  Grant Size:  Approximately $500
Qualifying guidelines:
•Provide services for homeless, children, and education or literacy training in Philadelphia neighborhoods proximate to Rodeph Shalom
•Serve communities that have few resources and are traditionally under-served
•Preferably have annual budgets of less than $1 million
•Have provided services to the community for at least one year (12 months)
•Not be promoting a religion or exclusively serving one religious community
•Provide opportunities for volunteers
Applicants can apply for general operating support or support for specific programs (preferred).
The Grant Application Process:
Please submit the completed Grant Application Form which can be found on our website (https://rodephshalom.org/tzedakah-collective) to Stuart M. Schmidt no later than April 20, 2017.  
By email: [email protected]
The Grant Review Process
The Rodeph Shalom Tzedekah Collective, which is open to all RS members,  will review the submissions and make the awards on a competitive basis.  Award decisions will be based on the demonstrated merit of the applicant’s work, the organization’s ability to use the money available in a meaningful way, and opportunities for youth and adult volunteers.


Volunteer with some of the grantees of our micro-granting group that donates money to local community organizations. Contact: Stuart Schmidt [email protected]

Read/Discuss: Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving
Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30pm. Contact: Rabbi Maderer, [email protected]

MENTOR: Mitzvah, Encourage, Nurture, Tutor, Outreach and Reassure
Meet weekly with Philadelphia school children in the mornings for tutoring.
Contact: Sharon Spinrad, 215-735-0797 or [email protected].

Bethesda Broad
Help cook breakfast for shelter residents.  For more information and to RSVP: Stef Zeis 856-357-3484

Challah Delivery at Jefferson and Pennsylvania Hospital

Volunteers are needed to visit patients at JEfferson and Pennsylvania Hospitals, deliver Challah and a prayer card. The time commitment (once the volunteer requirements are met, i.e., immunizations, etc.) is one or two Fridays a month for an hour each time.  Contact Joanne Gotto at 215.955.8769 or [email protected]

MENTOR: Mitzvah, Encourage, Nurture, Tutor, Outreach and Reassure

Join the wonderful volunteers who are RS “MENTORS”. We go into one of four Philadelphia schools (Kearney Elementary, Childs Elementary, Nebinger Elementary and Spring Garden,) weekly and meet with the same children throughout the school year.  We usually work in the school library in the mornings, spending 45 minutes each with two children, back to back. Some of our volunteers have worked with the same student for several years now.

Our MENTORS come from a variety of backgrounds and professions.  They all share a desire to make a difference in a child’s life.  Our efforts have made a substantial and positive impact on the children we work with.  Higher test scores and positive feedback from teachers and parents attest to this. 

We are looking for volunteers.  If you are interested in learning more about the program please contact me; Sharon Spinrad, 215-735-0797 or [email protected].

You can help refugees coming to Philadelphia

RS is stepping up and partnering with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) Pennsylvania to take action to help refugees coming to Philadelphia.  For over 100 years HIAS PA has helped resettle Jewish refugees the U.S. who were fleeing the pogroms, the Holocaust, the Soviet Union and other places were Jews were persecuted.  Today, HIAS is continuing the Jewish imperative of welcoming the stranger by helping to resettle immigrants and refugees of all ethnic, cultural or religions who are fleeing and persecution in countries around the globe. Last year HIAS PA resettled 167 refugees from 16 different countries.

Here are ways to get involved:

Donate Goods for a Refugee Family.  There is a box for donations at the bottom of the new staircase leading to the Gutman Room.  Please bring gently used household items, such as pots and pans, silverware, alarm clocks,  sheets, blankets, etc. NO CLOTHING, except winter coats, hats and scarves. Here is a link to the complete list of items needed: http://hiaspa.org/sites/hiaspa.org/files/attachments/hias_pa_donation_fu...  For a receipt for tax purposes, send a list of the items donated to Sarah Kaeppel, [email protected]

Donate larger items such as furniture.  For pick-up and a receipt for tax deductions contact Marina Merlin at HIAS PA: [email protected] or 215-832-0903.

Volunteer.  Help set up an apartment for a refugee family, assist refugee children with homework after school, be an American friend to a refugee family.  For information about these and other opportunities, contact Carole Wilder, [email protected]

Community Engagement Volunteer Opportunities

This year the Tzedekah Collective is working with the following community service organizations to provide volunteer opportunities for Rodeph Shalom adults and youths [Mitzvah projects] as a way of advancing “Tikkun Olam” in our community:

Organization Volunteer Opportunities and Contacts 

Art-Reach – Connects traditionally under-served audiences to cultural experiences so as to benefit from the transformative power of the arts.
Contact: Stephnie Borton, [email protected], 267-515-6722

Center for Grieving Children – Need office volunteers with administrative tasks, special events, and project-based support.
Contact: Austin Egan, [email protected], 267-437-3123
For Group Facilitator volunteer opportunities
Contact: Angelle Richardon, [email protected], 267-437-3123 ext. 2

Children’s Village Assist librarian; read to preschoolers during morning circle time; help school-age students with homework
Contact: Eileen Flannery, [email protected]  

Girls, Inc.  Volunteers speak to girls about career opportunities; businesses may host workshops around different careers
Contact: Dena [email protected]

Girls Rock Philly Volunteer opportunities include: program volunteers, fundraising, curriculum development, finance, outreach, events, source instruments, and administration.
Contact: Diane Foglizzo, [email protected], 215-776-5246

HIAS  Tutor refugee youth; help with special events that involve refugees (for example, a trip to the zoo for children in May; refugee first Thanksgiving; home weatherization
Contact: J.T. Kendall, [email protected] or Sara Amazeen, [email protected]

Mighty Writers Volunteers serve as tutors, mentors, workshop leaders and teaching assistants more than 300 volunteers are engaged each year.         
Contact: North Phila., David Bell, [email protected]; South Phila., Andrea Walls, [email protected], 267-239-0899; West Phila., Annette John-Hall, [email protected] , 267-244-4005; Italian Market, Laura Karabell, [email protected]

Philadelphia Children’s Alliance – Promotes healing and justice for child sexual abuse victims; volunteers assist with annual golf outing and auction, The Bear Affair.
Contact: Katherine Stepkowicz, 215-387-9500

School Play – Need for volunteers to advocate for children’s health, pre-L for PA, K-12 education and arts in school. 
Contact: Donna Cooper, [email protected]

T. Davis Hope Center – Volunteers are involved with arts and crafts, dance, music and jewelry making classes.
Contact:  Diane Monroe, 215-605-5618 or Edward West, 215-921-8327

The Clay Studio Volunteers to help work with students during a Claymobile residency; or by loading and unloading the kilns at the Crane Arts building and transferring Claymobile supplies to and from the host site. The Claymobile Outreach Program provides accessible opportunities in low-income and minority neighborhoods for children to experience a quality arts program and engage in cultural expression. With the traveling Claymobile, The Clay Studio in collaboration with inner-city institutions such as schools, community centers, and camps provides “ceramic classes in a box” in any room with tables and chairs. Through direct instruction, scholarships and subsidies, children are learning creative thought and expression regardless of economic and geographic barriers.
Contact: Mia DeCrescenzo, [email protected]

Tree House Books Volunteers work in the backyard garden; bike books to homes in our neighborhood (in the summer, “Words on Wheels”), read with campers, chaperon field trips, or hold book drives; during the school year participate in the daily after-school program leading a Book Club; be a phonics coach; assist with art and writing projects, and lead reading circles. Volunteers in bookstore during the week organize, deliver, and inventory books.
Contact: Lauren Macaluso Popp, [email protected]

University Community Collaborative – Mentoring youth; hosting film screenings; hosting fundraisers; marketing assistance/promoting the work of high school student “citizen journalists.”
Contact: Barbara Ferman, [email protected]