Posted by Marilyn Ross, as told to Jon Federman

Marilyn RossCommunity service and volunteering has been a very important part of my life since I was 12 years old and I volunteered as a candy striper in a local hospital. My father was a doctor and was heavily involved in volunteering with Jewish agencies. He was my role model.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was on the JF&CS Board of Directors. I had no idea that several years later, my father would become a JF&CS client. In 1998, I moved my dad from Cleveland, OH to a nursing home in Newton, MA. I had heard about the JF&CS Shabbat program for seniors and felt it was important for him to have a sense of Judaism and familiarity in his nursing home. JF&CS did a wonderful job in making him feel comfortable and connected.

When my father died several months later, I was thrown into a whole new world of grieving. I tried to figure out which Jewish customs applied during this difficult time and I realized that this was completely unchartered territory for many people. With JF&CS staff assistance, I wrote "A Jewish Healing Guide on Death and Dying" in 1999 to help people know what to expect when a loved one dies. Through my work on this publication, which was healing for me personally, I became even more connected to JF&CS. When the agency formed the Jewish Healing Connections Advisory Council in 2002, I became a major supporter and co-chair. Since then, I have been a volunteer through the JF&CS Friendly Visitor Program and Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® and assisted with the Hunger & Nutrition programs. I also recently participated in the Wise Aging Project conference hosted at JF&CS.

I have been so lucky to have the health and the time to volunteer. I feel lucky to have found - and be connected with - an organization like JF&CS. The agency gives me lots of satisfaction and makes me feel good. I feel committed and comfortable asking my friends to financially support JF&CS. This agency does incredible work and offers invaluable services to the community and I feel it is very important to support it. Whatever I give – time, energy, and financial support – is recognized and appreciated.

Jon FedermanJon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.