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Giving Back is a Family Affair

When Heidi Schoen relocated to Boulder six years ago, she quickly set out to find a place to give of her time. “My grandmothers were an integral part of my life growing up, and I have lots of fond memories of our time together, so I was always drawn to the older adult population,” shares Heidi. Through Boulder Jewish Family Serivce (JFS), she found an opportunity to help serve lunches to a group of older adults at the Boulder JCC. Because of that positive experience, she inquired about how she could get more involved with Boulder JFS and joined the advisory committee to help drive the organization’s mission and work forward.

Emma_Barbara_Benji
Emma and Benji pose with Barbara at Sunrise of Boulder when they visited her during Purim.

From that moment five years ago, Heidi and her family have participated in nearly all of JFS’s programs and events. She and her children, Emma (9) and Benji (7), have helped with holiday celebrations at local senior communities and delivered mishloach manot packages to older adults in their homes for Purim. Heidi and her husband, Mark Schwartz, have both served on the Reel Hope Boulder event committee for several years and Heidi served as co-chair last year. She is currently the co-chair of the advisory committee and invited her husband to join this year.

Because Heidi’s parents recently moved to the Boulder area, she can relate to many of the families Boulder JFS serves. She is a member of the “sandwich generation,” raising children and helping to care for her aging parents.

“In my various roles, what I love is the people we serve as well as working with all the other volunteers. It becomes like a family who all share the same mindset to make the world a place where everyone is welcomed and needed.”

Heidi adds, “Bringing my kids to deliver challah and Purim treats to older adults has been such a meaningful experience. We sit and talk with the seniors, hear their stories, and see their family photos. My kids ask questions and appreciate all the great stories the older adults share with them.” She is blown away that her kids remember the name of the woman they visited during Purim (it’s Barbara) and the joke she told them months after they met her.

Reel Hope Boulder 2018 co-chairs
Reel Hope Boulder 2018 co-chairs—Heidi is in the center.

Heidi strongly encourages others to volunteer with Boulder JFS and find a way to get involved. “Come to Reel Hope Boulder on November 2! It’s the perfect opportunity to experience Boulder JFS and see exactly what I mean by  community and connections, and learn more about the clients we serve and the work we do. Volunteering with Boulder JFS will fill your heart with happiness and you will receive more than you give. I’ve had such unique experiences that create long-lasting memories for my entire family.”

Heidi says she recently heard a quote by Barack Obama that sums up her feelings about the values she wants to instill in her children: “Be honest, kind, and useful.”

“I teach them to be honest and kind,” she says, “But the useful part really resonates with me and the volunteer work we are doing for Jewish Family Service.”

Thank you to Heidi, Mark, Emma, and Benji for your passion for and dedication to Boulder JFS!

 

About Alaina Green

Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Jewish Family Service of Colorado

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