Volunteer Spotlight: Juliana Canastra

by Lauryn Smith

April is National Volunteer Month, which recognizes all those who give their time and energy to worthy causes. At Keshet, we are lucky to have many great volunteers who contribute so much to our programs and our community.

There are many ways to make a difference in the lives of Keshet participants and their families. To volunteer, you just need a little time and a whole lot of heart. Each volunteer has the power to help someone learn a new skill, connect to the community, form friendships, have fun and lead a meaningful life.

Our volunteers gain just as much as the participants that they work with and love hearing their stories. In honor of National Volunteer Month, let’s hear from one of our all-star volunteers Juliana Canastra about what volunteering with Keshet has meant to her:

“I am a freshman at Deerfield High School and I have been volunteering with Keshet regularly for 2 years, but I’ve been doing various programs on and off for about 3. During this school year, I’ve come to after school programs like music therapy, buddy basketball and Keshet choir regularly, and I try to volunteer on days I don’t have school when I can. I genuinely look forward to meeting new people at programs every week.

Last summer was my first summer at Teen and Tween camp, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my life. At the beginning of the summer, I was only supposed to be volunteering two days a week and planned on spending the remaining days hanging out with friends and relaxing before school started. After my first two days, I knew that I didn’t want to spend time anywhere but camp, so I made the decision to volunteer every day for the rest of the summer. I loved spending every day with my camper, and I was super upset if I had to miss a day of camp. I made so many friends, both campers and staff at Teen and Tween, and I’m looking forward to this next summer where I hopefully will be volunteering there again.

When camp 2021 ended, I was COUNTING down the days until Winter Camp at Camp Chi so that I could see my favorite camper again. I didn’t end up being their counselor for Winter Camp, but my new camper and I created such a strong bond and I still got to see my previous camper all week long so it was a truly Win-Win. Winter Camp was my first experience at Chi with Keshet and was one of the most fun ways to spend my break. Keshet as a program has had a huge impact on my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

We are thankful for the work our volunteer do not just this month, but all year-round. If you want a fun and meaningful way to build friendships, gain valuable experiences, and make a difference in your community, apply to volunteer with Keshet today!

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