Volunteer Appreciation Month: One Good Deed

April 25, 2023

Volunteer Appreciation Month: One Good Deed

We at JF&CS are deeply grateful for the work of our volunteers, without whom we couldn’t fulfill our mission to transform lives. April is Volunteer Appreciation Month, and to celebrate we’ll be sharing stories about these incredible individuals. Stories will be posted here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.   

Volunteer Appreciation Week: One Good Deed

Since 2006, One Good Deed (OGD) has carefully matched more than 500 older adults with volunteers for friendship and companionship. These kind and friendly visitors make a monumental difference in the lives of the older adults in our community, reducing loneliness and giving meaningful social connection. Volunteers come to OGD through their synagogues, word of mouth, referrals, and more.

For several years now, One Good Deed has also been a community partner with Emory University. “Emory first-year medical students take a Community Learning and Social Medicine class where they are matched with a community partner,” said OGD Program Director Vivienne Kurland. “One Good Deed has been participating and graciously accepting their first-year med students from this course. This year, we accepted three awesome students who are all matched with a senior. (The volunteers) are all enamored, loved and appreciated by these seniors.”

One of those students is Natalie, who has been matched with participant Esther. Natalie was introduced to the program through former med student OGD volunteers at Emory, and “I thought one of the most beautiful things about this program is the impact you can have on a single person,” she said. “Certain volunteering positions are more focused on doing small positive actions for many people, but with OGD you are truly bringing immeasurable joy and impact for a single person.”

Her sentiments were echoed by fellow student Matthew. “OGD is a great way to tangibly impact someone’s life while also gaining a new friend, discovering new fun ways to spend time, and learning about someone else’s life journey,” he said.

Matthew and his match Robb enjoy eating lunch together, walking in Piedmont Park, grocery shopping, and catching up on each other's lives. Both enjoy the time they spend together, as do Natalie and Esther.

“I don’t have any family in Georgia,” said Natalie, and “Esther has become my family.” This past year they had Rosh Hashanah dinner together, sharing stories from their lives over homemade challah. When Natalie’s family came into town for her white-coat ceremony, they got to meet Esther and had an instant connection. Natalie’s father is Israeli, and Esther’s family was one of the original pioneers of the state of Israel in the 1940’s. “Seeing them share stories and experiences from growing up in Israel during the early days of the nation’s existence was very heartwarming to see,” said Natalie.

Interested in volunteering with One Good Deed? Find more information and get in touch here.