We couldn’t do what we do without the help of our incredible volunteers. We are going to be recognizing them periodically in our volunteer spotlight! This month we are highlighting Dan Sterdt. Dan first became involved with TOV as a graduate student at the Adler School of Professional Psychology where he volunteered with fellow Jewish students at the Ezra Uptown Cafe. Dan continues to be a dedicated volunteer to this day; most recently volunteering for the Baton Rouge disaster relief mission!
We asked Dan a couple questions about what has shaped his volunteer experience and life in general.
1. How did you first get involved with TOV/JUF?
I first became involved with JUF and TOV as a graduate student with the Adler school of Professional Psychology. We had a small Jewish organization within the school, and we arranged a volunteer opportunity at the Uptown Café. I happened to live walking distance from the café, and immediately fell in love with my first volunteer experience. I loved that we serve our clients restaurant style, and that we had a chance to sit and mingle with them as friends. I continue to volunteer with them over the years, and also am a Purim package delivery driver for the Ark every year.
2. Why do you enjoy volunteering?
I have loved volunteering my whole life. Some of my earliest memories are of visiting elderly members of my childhood congregation, volunteering at our local soup kitchen in my home town of Poughkeepsie New York, and participating in mitzvah days every year. I am a psychologist, and it gives me joy to help others, both in my professional and personal life.
3. Why is it important to you to volunteer with JUF?
I love JUF as it gives me opportunities to serve numerous populations in need, and makes me proud to be a Jew. I was drawn to volunteering in Louisiana because I was able to make an immediate impact and a difference in the lives of those in need, I loved the chance to see a new part of our country.
4. Any fun facts about yourself that we might not know?
Some fun facts about me: I have a sonographic memory, and can commit pretty much any song and it's lyrics to memory pretty quickly. I also do impersonations of celebrities and cartoon characters. I also have an immense autograph collection numbering in the thousands, including athletes, actors, politicians, and other public figures.
5. Who, or what, inspires you?
I am inspired by my parents, both of whom were helping professionals and have instilled in me a sense of pride in helping others and in taking advantage of as many volunteer opportunities as possible. I'm inspired by the clients with whom I work each day as a therapist, and I'm inspired by being a Jew and what that represents as a citizen of the world.
We want to thank Dan for his passion and dedication to volunteering with TOV. We are lucky to have a volunteer as wonderful as him!