Benjamin Solotiare, Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement at The Fortune Society

Fortune Thanks All Its Volunteers
Who Are Helping Change The Lives
Of Thousands Of Clients

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ever read to a group of second-graders at your local library? Organized books for a family member’s classroom? Served food at a soup kitchen?

That’s great! You’ve dedicated your valuable time and unique talents to volunteering. And you’re not alone. In 2013, 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours. It’s a fair bet that you’ve put in some of those hours.

At The Fortune Society, volunteers are an integral part of the work that we do. In the early days of the organization, Fortune was run entirely by volunteers. David Rothenberg, founder of Fortune, and Kenny Jackson, its first counselor, all donated their time and talents to run the organization. JoAnne Page, our current president and CEO, began her career at Fortune as a volunteer. Several other staff members began as volunteers and a former staff member even returned on a volunteer basis.

At Fortune, we have volunteers from many backgrounds and interests. We have retired individuals tutoring clients in our High School Equivalency program, business executives in Employment Services conducting mock interviews, and students in the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy conducting research into policies that serve as a barrier to the success of our clients and organizing

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“Volunteering here has allowed me to get involved, give back to our community, and to learn. It also provides an opportunity to let our clients know they have additional support as they’re making a positive transition back into society after being incarcerated or as they complete an Alternative to Incarceration program.”

— Raycent Edwards (volunteer since August 20, 2014) 

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Fortune’s community to change unjust laws and policies. Volunteers and interns are also serving in Treatment Services, Mental Health Services, and Admissions, adding to Fortune’s capacity to serve our participants.

Some give a few hours a month, others 15 or more hours a week. At Fortune, we work hard to match volunteers’ interests and skills to the needs of our clients. We believe our volunteers deserve a fulfilling experience, clear direction, mentoring, and support from our staff members.

It’s a given that we never have enough time in the day. Between work, kids, and housework, they all make the days fly by. Given the daily grind, why do our volunteers choose to give their time to Fortune?

Volunteering is viewed as a selfless act and has altruistic traits. It’s considered a charitable act of giving without thought to one’s own needs. While that is certainly true, volunteering is also beneficial to one’s personal and professional growth. It feels good to help someone and gives a person a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It can provide an introduction to possible new career paths and can help an individual transition to more rewarding work. You can meet new people from different backgrounds and explore new areas in town. Volunteering is also an exchange of information and experiences between you and the people with whom you work — an exchange where the whole is greater than the parts.

Finally, volunteering at Fortune is not only an act of altruism but also an opportunity to engage in work that’s changing the lives of thousands of justice-involved individuals and their families. It’s an opportunity to become part of a movement that values the dignity of all individuals and promotes a fair justice system that believes in second chances.

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“I have taught math to high schoolers, grad students, and Ivy Leaguers, but have never enjoyed teaching more than to my students at Fortune. I give them math, they give me wisdom in return. I think I get the better end of the bargain.”

— Llewellyn Connolly (volunteer since April 19, 2012)

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Interested in volunteering? Please contact Benjamin Solotaire, Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Engagement, at
bsolotaire@fortunesociety.org or 347-510-3645. You may complete the Volunteer Application Form here.

Categories: Community

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