Name: Cipra Nemeth
Age: “Late fifties”
Organization of choice: The National Council of Jewish Women, which works to improve the quality of life for women, children, and families.
How long have I been volunteering? It will be 15 years in the fall. The Los Angeles Times used to have a little box one of its sections about volunteer opportunities, and I happened to see that the NCJW needed volunteers for an after school program. That’s how I began.
I volunteered because I was a teacher and I had burned out for a bit. Over the summer I missed being around children, and when I saw the ad I thought, this is a good way to apply my teaching schools elsewhere. Now I’m a full-time volunteer.
There is no typical day in volunteering. Each day is different, but mostly it’s a matter of attending committee meetings and doing outreach, finding sponsors, finding speakers, things like that. We also teach during the school year every Wednesday at Shenandoah Elementary School. We created a program to teach third graders the fundamentals of art and to share art that is created in ten different countries from around the world so that students can appreciate diversity and see how every group of people needs to create and is only confined by their own culture and available materials.
To volunteer, I give my time, my enthusiasm, my energy, and knowledge. I hope I give people motivation.
In return, I get a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I get joy from watching children discover the artist inside them.
From one volunteer to another, the nice thing about NCJW is we have such a wide variety of programs, but it’s important to find something that suits you, whether it’s working with children or adults, or volunteering during the day, evenings, once a month, or once a week. If you’re not happy, volunteering isn’t going to be a success any which way. Find your passion and then find a program and you’ll meet like-minded people.
Los Angeles magazine’s “Public Service Announcement” series features a local volunteer every other week at CityThink