Ingrid, volunteerApril 16th, 2019 - Yolande Wijtenburg
I became a Holocaust Survivor Events and JET Express volunteer in honor of my mother. When we came to Florida at the end of 2016, my mother was already under hospice care and I was blessed to be able to take time off work to care for and be available for her. I contacted Goodman JFS to get information on the programs and services offered to Holocaust survivors like my mother sine these were new to us. These wonderful programs aren’t available in many cities/states. JFS quickly dispatched the Holocaust Assistance Program Supervisor. She was wonderful, she really connected with my mother and with me, among other things, she invited us to an upcoming Cafe Europa event and arranged for cleaning help for mom’s small condo which was a huge help and something we both really appreciated. Mom and I soon attended our first Cafe Europa, mom as a survivor, I as a volunteer. My first duty was to check people in and I checked in a lovely lady, Sima who was Russian speaker like mom. I later saw Sima sitting by herself so I brought over my mom who was happy to keep her company. A little while later Sima’s daughter Natalia came and at that point I was done with my serving duties so could join them for lunch. The event, music, food, flowers, JFS staff and volunteers, lovely gifts for survivors and of course new friends were all wonderful! Natalia and I took our mothers to other Cafe Europa events and mused about our mom’s rallying and rising from deathbeds to attend the events they so looked forward to. They indeed lit up at the events and no matter how they were feeling before, the events made them feel better! I have beautiful, happy pictures along with wonderful memories from these events which made a difference for my mom and so many others. My mom passed away in July 2017. Words can’t express how much I miss her and how grateful I will always be to JFS for the support you all provided to mom and to me as well the wonderful friends I have in Sima and Natalia. I am also grateful and honored to help JFS in a small way. Every interaction and connection with a JFS client is precious and rewarding. Thank you for everything that you do!