Spring is in the air and flowers are blooming, all over the place, literally! As we prepare for the April showers we want to take this time to acknowledge Bekah Dickstein as our Volunteer of the Month, who comes bearing some of those flowers as you see in her photo!
Bekah has been a dedicated volunteer with Met Council since September 2011. Since that time she has volunteered with the Professional Networking Workshop, the senior lunch program, and she continues to serve as an on-going volunteer at the Homework Helpers program in Borough Park.
Growing up as a proud, suburban, Philadelphian, Bekah’s love of literature and old, dusty things brought her to work in the rare book trade for many years. As Bekah got older and began volunteering more in struggling communities, she realized that she wanted to devote more time to learning from the community development world.
When asked why she feels volunteering is important, Ms. Dickstein confidently answered that “Volunteering isn’t just important – it’s necessary and, I believe, should be required of every individual. We all have a tendency to get caught up in our own schedules and overwhelming responsibilities and I think it causes us to, very often, lose touch with our communities and as a result, lose touch with reality. Volunteering isn’t just “giving back,” it’s about recognizing that our society requires the investment of every individual, no matter their lot in life. In taking personal responsibility and investing in our world, we not only make our mark on it, but we find a home for ourselves and other people.”
As one of our more seasoned volunteers with Homework Helpers, Bekah is on her way to becoming its first Volunteer Leader. Through her inexhaustible volunteerism with Met Council, Bekah reflects that she has gained great insight from our clients, and has felt like she has been taught much by their experiences. Her favorite aspect of volunteering is being a Homework Helper. “At the Purim Party we had a variety of craft activities to celebrate the holiday. Face painting was one of them and one of the students approached me and offered to paint my face and helped me to pick out a sunflower. I was so touched (and impressed) that I kept it on for the night!”
“The most rewarding part of volunteering is the ability to expand my worldview while finding home within my community,” Bekah states. “I get to see worlds within worlds; experience people and communities that might normally be closed to me. I get to connect with kids who might not have the opportunity to experience my world understanding and through engaging with them, we understand more about each other and about where each of us is coming from.”
We are thrilled to have her as a committed volunteer at Met Council and the most rewarding part for us is when we hear the students say, “I wish Homework Helpers was everyday!” We know that happens because of volunteers like Bekah!