Find Your Passion

You may have heard of the mitzvah, the commandment, “Tikkun Olam,” literally translated as repairing the world. And each spring, most high school juniors take Government and are required to participate in some community service as part of the course. You may have done a Bar/Bat Mitzvah Project or even choose tikkun olam projects for your religious school class. Some of you may dread these experiences, but I think the key to this exercise is finding a service project that best fits your personality and interests. 

I want to share some of my personal passion for a project that might be of interest to some of you search for your projects. The project, The Back to School Store, is put on each summer by the National Council of Jewish Women. We literally create a store of brand new clothing, coats, shoes and school supplies for St. Louis area children in need where they come and “shop” for their items for the upcoming school year. The items we provide children allow them to start their school years with the essential items needed to succeed. We serve a thousand children on the day of the store and continue providing needed clothing to children through our Kids Community Closets throughout the school year at local schools and food pantries. Much assistance from volunteers is needed including setting up and cleaning up the store, assisting in running the closets and store itself, hosting drives and fundraisers and more. We are lucky to have much support from community members and organizations including schools, religious schools, camps and more and we really appreciate any assistance we are given!

There are literally thousands of projects in the St. Louis area that need your help. It is simply a matter of finding the “right fit” for you. Questions you may ask yourself in choosing your project:

  1. What are my interests? What is my passion?
  2. What type of setting am I most/least comfortable working in?
  3. Would I like to work with people in need or prefer to work behind the scenes?
  4. What type of training is needed for my desired job?
  5. Will the site/program accept someone my age?
  6. How will people benefit from my work?
  7. Will I be satisfied with the result of my work?
  8. Will the work fulfill the requirements of my school project?

In looking for the proper site for you, check out websites like the Jewish Federation (and agencies it supports) https://www.jewishinstlouis.org as well as the United Way website https://www.stl.unitedway.org. You may also want to talk to friends and family about experiences they have had and enjoyed. I hope you’ll email me and let me know about your experiences at jenny@jennyhoffmanlcsw.com so I can include them in future blog posts!

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