Service Opportunities & Events
Make an Impact with YouthFirst
Connect with teens from around the Bay Area as we address a range of challenges/issues facing our communities. Through advocacy projects and service-learning events, you can help make a difference through your actions and voice!
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Upcoming Service Projects
Sustainable Toys for Dogs and Cats in Shelters
Sunday, December 3
1:30 – 3:00 pm (Marin)
What do fashion and animal shelters have in common? It’s the opportunity to explore the Jewish values of Ba’al Tachshit (recycling and repurposing) and Tza’ar Ba’al Chaim (compassion for animals). We’ll get to work with younger children whose families are participating in a JFCS event that day and inspire them to become young leaders of tomorrow! Explore the impact that fabric manufacturing has on the environment and how we can use old t-shirts to make toys for dogs and cats at local shelters. Make an impact with teens and children from all around Marin County to bring joy to animals in shelters. Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Celebrate the Season with Or (light) and Ahava (love): Hanukkah at Moldow
Sunday, December 10
2:00 – 3:30pm (Palo Alto)
What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon during Hanukkah than sharing it with seniors in our community? Celebrate with residents of Moldow Retirement Community and explore the connection between Jewish continuity and light as we play dreidel, eat oily foods and kindle the fourth candle together. Register here. Questions? [email protected]
Hanukkah Helpers: Spreading the Light
Sunday, December 10
3:30pm – 5:00pm (San Mateo)
Embody the Jewish adage “a little light dispels a lot of darkness” by making Hanukkah candles and soothing bath balms for families in the JFCS Dream Program. Be part of helping mothers and children who have experienced domestic violence safely, freely, and peacefully celebrate the Jewish festival of lights. Register here. Questions? m[email protected]
Spreading the Hanukkah light: Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence
Sunday, December 10
2:30pm-4:00 pm (San Francisco)
Join Impact Year leaders and volunteers to support survivors of domestic violence as they build their new lives. Embody the Jewish Value of Tzedakah (giving to others) as we create care packages for these brave survivors. We will join together to light the 4th night of Hanukkah candles in hope and celebration to spread the light for all. Register here. Questions? [email protected]
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
(PROGRAM FULL; Please check back again soon)
Connect with Ukrainian youth who recently relocated to the Bay Area! JFCS has helped many Ukrainian families transition to safety in the Bay. If you’d like to help a Ukrainian youth practice speaking in English, reach out to Merav Berger at [email protected] and she’ll set you up with your conversation partner!
Bring a Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Your School
Through firsthand accounts of the Holocaust, help students in your school learn about the importance of tolerance, embracing diversity, and combating hatred. Holocaust survivors as well as their descendants have a variety of experiences to share. Please take a few minutes to tell us a bit about you/your school here and to learn about what’s involved to bring this vital experiential learning opportunity to teens in your community. Questions? Ask Deborah Schneider at [email protected].
Child Care Crew with Jewish Baby Network
Do you love working with kids? Join our Child Care Crew in partnership with the Jewish Baby Network (JBN). JBN hosts regular gatherings in local parks, synagogues and schools that bring together Jewish families for fun learning and community building. Volunteers will play, with and take care of children to give parents time to connect with one another. Sign up to become a Child Club Crew member here! Questions? Ask Merav Berger at [email protected].
Letter Writing to Homebound Seniors
Everyone loves to get handwritten notes, especially seniors! Help make an isolated senior’s day by writing a card, sending a joke, or drawing a picture, and let them know you are thinking about them. If you would like to write personal notes to ten seniors in our community, please contact Debra Massey at [email protected] for a list of names and instructions on where to send them.
Volunteer with JFCS Food Banks
Our community faces an unprecedented need for food donations and deliveries. Our Food Banks have a variety of needs, including packing and delivering food bags to clients, receiving food donations, and assembling holiday-themed bags. Reach out to Debra Massey at [email protected] to find out how you can help in your local JFCS office.
Past Service Projects
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Welcome our Newest Neighbors
Our volunteers said Baruch Habah (welcome!) to new Ukrainian neighbors in our community with homemade welcome baskets filled with essentials and special treats. This small act of kindness let them know that they are valued members of our community and made them feel more at home.
Senior Connection: Poetry and Paper Flowers
Connecting with an elder is a Jewish value that embodies and honors generations of community. Our teen-only event celebrated our older generation through the act of Kibbud Z’kenim (honoring our elders) by making paper flower bouquets, books of poems and quotes which were delivered to JFCS seniors in the North Peninsula.
Our volunteers helped sort and organize the plentiful donations of food and supplies that came in from the JFCS High Holiday Food drive to provide healthy nourishment to JFCS Food Bank clients.
Jewish Community Sustainability Faire
Hosted at Beth Am Congregation Los Altos, this family friendly event featured information and activities about Electric Vehicles, Reducing plastics, Water conservation, and Sustainable gardening. YouthFirst Senior Leaders shared their knowledge about Climate Change and volunteered with running event activities.
Our volunteers helped fill Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) bags with holiday treats that will be delivered to families and seniors across the Bay Area who are unable to access these holiday supplies, and help them observe this wonderful holiday.
At this sweet act of service for the environment, our volunteers learned how to turn everyday trash into a home for local bees! Cardboard paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, straws and plastic bottles were all upcycled into temporary habitats to support our endangered bee populations, and while we were at it, we helped ensure the world can have a sweet Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year).
Our amazing volunteers helped keep Golden Gate Park clean and beautiful by replacing trash with our own hand-painted rocks with blessings for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). Our volunteers embodied the value of Gmilut Chassadim—acts of loving kindness—and shared sweet messages for the year ahead with all park visitors!
Passover Holiday Bags
Every year, JFCS provides Passover foods to Jewish families and seniors across the Bay Area who are unable to access these holiday supplies and treats to observe this wonderful holiday. Teen volunteers were invited to prepare the holiday bags for hundreds of JFCS clients.
Perks of a Being Wallflower: Exploring Friendship and Support
Through the eyes of high school freshman Charlie, we get a glimpse of the hurdles many teens face when starting off in a new social environment. And, if you have pre-existing mental health issues, it makes it that much harder! Participants explored the importance of peer-to-peer support, and gained new tools on how to be there for their friends who may be going through a rough time.
Tiny Homes, Big Impact
The Tiny House Empowerment Village for Bay Area youth facing homelessness is a project by Youth Spirit Artworks. The Jewish concept for a home includes far more than just walls and a roof—it requires that a home also be built with one’s hands, mind and heart. Teens from around the Bay Area helped with projects to maintain this incredible tiny home village for youth! Volunteers were also invited to enjoy a free burrito and bring in Shabbat together after the volunteer work.
Journals for Survivors
Guided by the Jewish value of Gmilut Chassadim (acts of loving kindness), we supported survivors of domestic violence who are temporarily living in shelter with La Casa de las Madres. Our volunteers helped turn plain composition books into beautiful one-of-a-kind journals through collage & decorating, and were a part of the healing process for these courageous women.
Earth Day Restoration Project
Our guardians of the earth (shomrei adamah) volunteered with Marin County Parks and teens in the community who are passionate about protecting the environment. Together we got our hands dirty at a local park and helped protect native and rare species in the area.
Families living in temporary housing don’t often have the opportunity to decorate their living spaces. We combined the Jewish values of Bal Tachshit (repurposing) and G’milut Chassadim (acts of loving kindness) at San Mateo’s largest family shelter to decorate recycled material then planted seeds with the children who currently reside there.
Our volunteers helped to preserve our local beach and maintained the safety of ocean life as we took on the role of Shomrei Adamah (guardians of the earth). In partnership with the Jew Crew of Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, we met at the Roald Amundsen Statue for a great afternoon at the beach!
Associate Director: Debra Massey; 415-359-2477
San Francisco: Inbal Shalev; 415-449-1291
North Peninsula: Merav Berger; 650-931-1834
South Peninsula: Deborah Schneider; 650-688-3059
Marin County: Kate-Alexandra Levine; 415-419-3641