On a sunny day in August, a team of 18 Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks (“CTW”) volunteers convened at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to roll up their sleeves and participate in the JUF Tikkun Olam Volunteer (TOV) Network volunteer project. This project was part of the firm’s signature volunteer program that allows each employee a day each year to volunteer in the community. What started in 1997 with 10 community partners has turned into a global volunteering initiative, involving 45 offices around the world with more than 25,000 volunteering with 900 community partners.
This year marks the first time that JUF has teamed up with Goldman Sachs for this exciting project. “As a longtime donor and someone who very much admires the work of the Federation, I thought this would be a great partnership for Goldman Sachs and JUF to come together,” said Bruce Heyman, managing director at Goldman Sachs.
The project was coordinated with Dr. Lisa Thornton, founder and director of C.A.M.P Schwab, an adapted recreational sports camp for kids with physical disabilities. This weeklong summer program is run through Schwab Rehabilitation Center, under the auspices of Mt. Sinai—a Federation-affiliated agency.
Approximately 20 mobility impaired campers, ranging in age from 8 – 13, were each assigned to a Goldman Sachs volunteer. The camper-volunteer duo spent the day viewing a dolphin show at the Shedd, fishing on Northerly Island, and riding specially designed bikes along the bike path. It was an action-packed day, and Goldman Sachs CTW volunteers had a wonderful challenge: keeping the campers’ excitement contained. Huge smiles lit up their faces as they caught fish on Lake Michigan and went cruising down the bike path on their mobility adapted road bikes.
The project was not only fun, but made an impact. For many, this was their first exposure to JUF and an educational opportunity. “I didn’t realize until today the breadth and diversity JUF brings in their outreach in the community,” said one volunteer.
The JUF Tikkun Olam Volunteer (TOV) Network is the connection point for members of the Jewish community and service projects in the greater Chicagoland area. In accordance with the mitzvah of tikkun olam, repairing the world one good deed at a time, TOV matches volunteers with opportunities through Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation affiliated agencies and local community partners.
For more information about TOV, visit www.juf.org/TOV or call the TOV Hotline at (312) 357-4762.
Yael Brunwasser is the director of Volunteer Services (TOV) of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago.