iVolunteer is a dynamic visitation program that sends volunteers to the homes of Holocaust survivors, providing them with companionship and much-needed assistance. Our volunteers are carefully matched with survivors who live nearby and share common interests. Through weekly visits, our volunteers build rewarding and enduring friendships with survivors. They are given the privilege of hearing extraordinary stories, and the inter-generational bonds that inevitably form ensure the memory of the Holocaust will not be forgotten.
In addition to providing assistance with shopping and personal organization, the volunteers read to survivors, accompany them on walks, and escort them to doctor visits. iVolunteer creates a sense of community by providing both our survivors and volunteers with social events and special programs. These programs include monthly Friday night dinners for our volunteers and luncheons for our survivors.
Our executive director, Elisheva Tauby, was the former Founding Director of "Connect2", a highly successful, Brooklyn-based “friendly visiting” program that was created to service Holocaust survivors in their homes. Connect2 was funded by the Claims Conference and was a well-managed program of 80 dedicated volunteers whose primary goal was to provide survivors with much needed comfort and assistance in various areas.
iVolunteer was launched to expand on the idea behind Connect2’s creation by servicing home bound older persons within the greater NYC area. In 2004, three years after the program’s start, there was a tremendous response to our program in Manhattan. Clients and volunteers were referred to iVolunteers at a very fast rate. There is such a great necessity and need in this borough that iVolunteers decided to concentrate on this area.
Goals: Provide advocacy and companionship to isolated elders while instilling a sense of purpose and community in disaffected Jewish youth.
Through weekly visits and monthly events for survivors and volunteers, we aim to:
• Create a sense of community among Holocaust survivors and volunteers, enabling old and young to connect with a larger group of caring/sympathetic individuals.
• Enrich the lives of elderly Holocaust survivors by providing them with companionship and consistent socialization outlets.
• Provide elderly Holocaust survivors with assistance in gaining access to needed services, benefits, and entitlements.
• Strengthen the Jewish identity of younger volunteers by helping to nurture intergenerational relationships with survivors and by creating opportunities to connect with one another.
"John has been a true gem and source of solace and inspiration to me. He takes me on walks and escorts me to the bank when he comes over. I wouldn't leave the house if not for his encouragement and assistance." -Isaac K.
"My volunteer Stacey is an absolute Godsend! I don't know what I would do without her especially in the winter months when it's impossible for me to go shopping and do other things the way I would like to." -Alice F.
"Mrs. D. is a wonderful lady and we have a lot to talk about. She reminds me of my German grandmother who spoke very little about her experiences in the war since she found it hard to do so. I'm glad I met someone who can tell me more about what my grandmother wasn't able to talk about to me." -Matt
I visit Mr. G. every week and I am continually amazed to see how much I've learnt from him. The heroism he displayed during the war and when he came to America is truly inspiring. " -Darrin
"Mrs. L. is really nice but so lonely, she has no husband, kids or relatives and very few friends. I take her to the bank, escort her to her doctor appointments and chat about our lives in the city. We lead such different lives, but yet have so much in common like we both majored in psychology and love to travel. I hope we stay connected forever." -Elika
Our organization gives the opportunity for the youth to get involved. Children aged 7-12 start visiting survivors with their parents or friends and use our program as a bar or bat mitzvah project. They often do projects on their experiences and share what they learned with their classmates.
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