JVN Volunteering Profiles – JCC’s Solomon Slade

The JCC for London aims to provide Jews with a lasting sense of community through cultural, social, educational, and recreational Jewish activities. Social action is also central to the JCC movement – helping those in need both within and outside the Jewish community. We spoke to JCC’s Social Action coordinator, Solomon Slade.

Tell us about the Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC).

The JCC for London is a charitable organisation for anyone interested in Jewish life.  We act as a gateway into all things Jewish: from food to sport to the arts to debate.

We believe that social justice and social responsibility, alongside cultural and recreational activities, should be at the heart of Jewish life in London. We aim to foster a sense of communal responsibility as well as engage with non-Jewish communities to help those in need.

Our sister organisation, JCC Ventures, is building the new community centre on the Finchley Road. It’s going to be wonderful: I can’t wait to get in there and see the state-of-the-art facilities it will offer and the wonderful opportunities it will create. JCCV hopes to open its doors in 2013.

How did you initially get involved with the JCC?

Before coming to the JCC last October, I studied a Masters in Sustainable Development. I knew that in my next role I wanted to bring people together to take positive action on important social justice and environmental issues.  Being the Social Action coordinator at the JCC was a perfect match.

How do volunteers fit into what the JCC does?

We couldn’t run our bigger events without the terrific support from our volunteers who give their time to ensure their success.  We also support a number of one-to-one relationships between members of the Jewish and Darfuri Refugee community through our Befriending Project.  Without the volunteers, the project simply couldn’t exist.

What kind of volunteering opportunities does the JCC offer and what events have you got coming up?

We plan a season of events ahead of time, so it’s relatively straightforward to speak with volunteers about what we have coming up and ways they might be able to get involved.
I’ll give you an example:

On September 4th we’re running our first ever ‘Scootathon’. It’ll be a fun-packed day with around 30 families with children aged 4-9 heading over to Edgwarebury Park to experience face-painting and carnival games, and compete in a scooter race and treasure hunt.  So, we’re looking for volunteers who have lots of energy and get-up-and-go, and have experience running games and activities for children! The games and activities range from giant Jenga and Frisbee, to limbo and hopscotch, to an egg & spoon race. Just get in touch if you’re interested!

What is the best part of your day?

I appreciate the wide range of projects I get to work on and the interesting people I get to meet along the way. For example one of the projects I work on is ‘Bee the Change’. It has the vision of inspiring a network of beehives throughout the Jewish community that would provide our Rosh Hashanah honey.  This is about learning from one another and creating exciting opportunities for people to take positive action on important environmental issues that are rooted in Jewish values.  We’re learning all about bees and meeting an amazing range of people, from budding enthusiasts to established beekeepers.

How JVN helped you work with volunteers?

Working with JVN has been great.  They helped to bring about a fantastic volunteer opportunity for us at a local community ‘World Peace Garden’ for 25 boys from Hasmonean Boys School.  The boys helped transform the outdoor space to take the garden one step closer to becoming the vision so many local people have for it.  We’ve also listed our volunteer positions for the ‘Scootathon’ event I mentioned earlier onto their website, and they’ve given me guidance on how to recruit and manage volunteers!

Our sister organisation JCC Ventures is building the new community centre on the Finchley Road. It’s going to be wonderful: I can’t wait to get in there and see the state-of-the-art facilities it will offer and the wonderful opportunities it will create. JCCV hopes to open its doors in 2013.

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Categories: Volunteering Opportunities, Volunteering Profiles

Author:Mike

Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.

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