Insider Connections: Global Virtual Service

Take action on behalf of communities in need through virtual service opportunities.

Now is the time to act, connect and learn through virtual service. This year, engaging with global Jewish communities is more important than ever. Through Insider Connections: Global Virtual Service, we invite you to:

  • Act on behalf of global communities

  • Connect with teens, young adults and elderly in regions around the world

  • Learn about the history of the community you are serving and JDC’s current response to the pandemic

Sign up below by May 2, 2021, to begin volunteering Mid May 2021, or for the Russian Speaking Jewish Victory Day cohort serving veterans that begins May 11, 2021.

Busy this month? Don’t worry! Insider Connections are here to stay. Check back soon for our next round of volunteering. In the meantime, learn more about JDC’s work.

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Placement opportunities may include:

Israel: Calling all Hebrew speakers- volunteer with JDC TEVET’s “Hebrew as a Second Language” (HAASL) program and connect with Arab-Israelis looking to improve their Hebrew language skills. Knowledge of Hebrew opens doors to high paying jobs and increased representation in sectors where the Israeli-Arab & Bedouin communities have been historically absent. Through Insider Connections, volunteers will practice Hebrew with a HASSL participant weekly, opening up a greater world of opportunity. Learn more about HAASL in this blog post and video.

Not a Hebrew speaker? You can still contribute to this meaningful exchange by practicing English-language skills with teachers and staff at Ryan Employment Centers across Israel.  

FSU Elderly: Elderly Jews living in the Former Soviet Union are among the most vulnerable Jewish populations in the world and many of them face extreme isolation and loneliness. Volunteers with conversational Russian-language skills have a unique opportunity to join JDC’s assistance efforts in the region. Through weekly conversations, the volunteer and client can form a meaningful connection across global Jewish communities. You can wish your babushka or dedushka a weekly Shabbat Shalom and participate in JDC’s legacy of global mutual responsibility! Click here to read about how volunteering impacted a participant’s Jewish identity.

FSU Teens: A generation of teens and young adults in the Former Soviet Union are engaging in Jewish life and preparing to take on leadership roles in their communities. English speaking volunteers have a unique opportunity to build a long-lasting connection with an FSU Jewish teen and practice English conversational skills. Teens from Georgia, Siberia, Moldova and Ukraine are excited to learn with you! Click here to read about a participant experience connecting with a teen in Odesa.

India Vulnerable ChildrenIn Mumbai, India, 70% of people live in slums where children have limited access to education. JDC partner Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM), a local grassroots organization founded on Jewish values, provides quality education and nutrition for children in the slum community of KalwaVolunteers will have the opportunity to teach in a virtual classroom organized bGPM to provide essential informal education to primary school-age children. More than ever, this is of particular importance during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools and educational centers have been closed since March 2020. 

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?

For Insider Connections participants matched with an elderly client, we encourage a 1-hour call per week. For Insider Connections participants matched with a teen, we encourage two 30-minute calls per week. Scheduling is mutually decided between the volunteer and match.

Insider Connections participants placed with Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) in India will teach a 1-hour lesson each Thursday from 8:00-9:00 am GMT, alongside 4 other volunteers. In addition, volunteers will be responsible for developing lesson plans for their classes in collaboration with teaching partners; this work can be done in online meetings or using collaborative tools such as shared Google docs.

WHAT PLATFORM IS USED FOR THE VIRTUAL CONNECTIONS?

Most of the clients have access to phone apps such as WhatsApp, Viber or Telegram. Once a match is made, contact info and the preferred platform will be shared.

GPM Insider Connections volunteers will teach classes over Zoom and will receive calendar invitations with log in info for each week. Volunteers will determine with their teaching partners what platform and tech tools to use for lesson planning.

WHAT TRAINING AND SUPPORT WILL I RECEIVE DURING THIS 3 MONTH PROGRAM?

All participants attend a virtual orientation to learn about the community in which your match lives, JDC’s work in the country and an introduction to the Insider Connections process. Volunteers receive a training guide with background on the community, conversation starters and more at the end of the orientation. A month into the program, the cohort will gather for a Core Conversation to reflect on the process and discuss the value of global Jewish responsibility. Each volunteer and cohort will have an Entwine staff member overseeing the program who can be reached for support.

GPM Insider Connections volunteers will also receive support from GPM staff, who will review and provide feedback on lesson plans in order to ensure the most impact for their students.

WHAT DO I TALK ABOUT ON THE CALLS?

The sky is the limit! Matches are looking to engage with the wider world so you can discuss your family, Jewish life, interest & hobbies, food, etc. In general your match is looking to catch with someone so no pressure! The teens are particularly hoping to practice their English, so there are many ways to be creative. Part of the orientation and further connection with the Entwine point of contact is to brainstorm and prep for what these connections might look like.

Volunteers working with GPM will teach material that complements what their students are currently learning in school. The students are excited to meet volunteers from abroad and learn about their lives.

WHO ARE THE JDC CLIENTS INVOLVED IN THIS PROGRAM?

The Insider Connections program is aimed at assisting vulnerable populations served by JDC, namely elderly and teens. Most elderly JDC clients have had their lives severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and mandatory social distancing regulations has led many of them to experience loneliness and isolation. Through the weekly call, our volunteers offer these elderly companionship, helping them cope with this difficult time. The teens participating in Insider Connections are all active members in Jewish community, taking part in local JCC activities and youth movements. Some of the members come from low socio-economic backgrounds and are considered by JDC to be youth at-risk. For all of the members, practicing and improving their English with our volunteers is an important step in bettering their lives, increasing their odds of success in school today and in the job market in the future.

GPM works with vulnerable children in the slum community of Kalwa in Mumbai, India. Insider Connections volunteers will work with primary or middle school-aged children who are learning English in school. Part of GPM’s mission is to improve health and nutrition for the children with which they work in part by providing healthy meals during school hours. Insider Connections volunteers with GPM are helping to provide this essential assistance through participating in this program; lunch is provided to each student.

WHO IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR THIS PROGRAM?

Insider Connections is open to volunteers looking to engage with the global Jewish world, build lasting relationships and make an impact. Volunteers tend to be personable, openminded and flexible. Entwine programs are geared towards college students and young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s.

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