Our Volunteer of the Month, Ross Buckley shares his thoughts on what it means to volunteer at OneFamily:
As a volunteer for OneFamily, I feel privileged to be in an environment full of constant inspiration. I am honored and humbled to witness the remarkable courage of each victim that passes through the doors of the OneFamily center in Jerusalem. Their stories of trauma, of newfound hope and of resilience remind me on a daily basis to value life, through all its pitfalls, as an opportunity to convert tragedy and disappointment into triumph of the human spirit.
There is one woman in particular who embodies this drive to transmute her pain into a resolute sense of purpose. Her name is Dina and she is, quite simply, the paragon of grit. As the lead administrator in OneFamily’s office, Dina holds down the fort; she is the center’s bedrock. Yet her own life experience has been far from grounding. She lost a son to cancer and then a second to a terrorist attack. And despite these tribulations, Dina shows up every day with an ironclad will to help those who have lost and suffered just like her. One might think that volunteering at an organization that supports victims of terror would be downright depressing, but to the contrary, I have found it to be enlivening; people like Dina awaken my own inner-strength because I am blessed to witness theirs.
When I present OneFamily’s mission to groups of visitors, I am profoundly moved by their heartfelt reactions. Visits from the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) have been especially memorable since many of them are mothers in their own right. For this reason, they enter the OneFamily center with open hearts and a readiness to empathize. They envision themselves in the shoes of the mothers who have lost their sons and daughters here in Israel and they leave our center activated, eager to transform their feelings of heartache into the furtherance of action. They ask how they can raise awareness, fundraise and take part in our cause by any means possible.
These mothers-on-a-mission exemplify how disheartening stories often galvanize within us a more heartened sense of resolve. That fortitude has been the overarching theme of my volunteer experience here at OneFamily and I am most grateful to benefit from and give back to this organization’s inspiring work.