Summer of Service: Give Back & Get Going

You clean up so well

Ah summer – the season of carefree beach days, coffee (and cocktails) at outdoor cafes, and teeth-rattling brain freeze from eating ice cream too quickly.

But as the fabulous philanthropists among us know, it’s also the season of getting hands-on with giving back. Enter: Summer of Service. The Network, a program CJP in partnership with JCRC, is serving up a veritable buffet of opportunities to connect you to fun, meaningful events from June to August.

Why not spend a glorious day canoeing along the Charles with JCRC’s ReachOut!, cleaning up an invasive species of water chestnuts along the way? (Yes, it sounds like a sci-fi movie, but we promise it’s awesome.)

Or, if food of the more edible variety is your jam, join The Riverway Project at Sunday’s Bread to serve hot meals to people in need.   

Hit the field for philanthropy

Things kick off—literally and figuratively—with a very special Yom Sport on June 14. That’s right, the annual day of games turns 20 this year, and what better way to celebrate than by joining in the festivities? You’ll join a group of incredible athletes of varying abilities, and enjoy everything from shooting hoops to running relays.

Jan Klein, director of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters’ (JBBBS) Friend 2 Friend program, heads Yom Sport and has been involved with the day since its beginning.

“One of our initial goals with Yom Sport was to make the activities open to all, while at the same time reach unaffiliated adults and hopefully provide them with more of a community,” she says. “The overall goals really haven’t changed that much since we started. It’s still about making new friends, raising awareness, giving people a chance to see similarities among people with different abilities, and offering attendees a unique opportunity to gain a new perspective on one’s own life.”

The dream team

As Program & Development Officer for the Young Adult Initiative at CJP, Jen Marmer serves on the Yom Sport Committee and is responsible for coordinating volunteers the day of the event.

“We recruit young adults between the ages of 22 and 45 to serve as captains and leaders,” says Marmer. “They love the experience! I get emails constantly from volunteers telling me how meaningful the day was for them.”

Volunteers who enroll as team captains and lead a group of athletes throughout the day now receive training. “That’s something we started about two years ago via the Yom Sport Committee,” says Klein. “But many of the volunteers don’t have training and don’t have any experience working with people with disabilities. That’s why it’s truly incredible to watch them do this work so intuitively—and to be so present with the athletes.”

Feeling the impact

Over the years, Yom Sport has become more than just a fantastic day—it’s become a fantastic opportunity to connect to all members of Boston’s Jewish community.

“Looking back, this event has changed from something we cobbled together to what’s now a well-oiled machine,” says Klein. “Sure, things have changed over the years, but what hasn’t changed is the impact and how good everybody feels during and after the event…it truly does break down barriers.”

Yom Sport Fun Facts:

  • 35 people and 50 volunteers attended the first Yom Sport in 1996
  • In 2015, 170 participants and up to 120 volunteers are expected
  • One athlete has been to a record-setting 18 Yom Sport events!


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