Become a Jconnector

Ready to mobilize your local community to make a difference? Let’s go!

In Greater Washington and around the country, people are organizing volunteer groups to stay connected and help those in need. The Jewish Federation is here to help the helpers.

Through our Jconnectors platform, whether you’re looking for support to create a new volunteer group or for ways to leverage existing grassroots volunteer efforts, you’ll find ways to reach out to others and offer support and assistance to those in our community affected by COVID-19.

What is a Jconnector?
Jconnectors are what we are calling individuals who are mobilizing their networks (friend groups, fellow synagogue members, neighborhood groups, book clubs, etc.) and creating groups of volunteers to not only help each other but to help others in need in their community and bring them aid and assistance.

How can I start organizing a Jconnector volunteer group?
There are many ways to organize and lead a Jconnector volunteer group. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. You’ve already taken the most important step – stepping up to help.
  2. Invite local friends, family, and neighbors to join you. Often an established group, like a synagogue chesed/social service committee, a book club, or a friend network can be a great starting point. We recommended creating a group of 5 to 20 people. If there are more than 20 people interested, consider splitting into multiple .
  3. Decide how you all will communicate. Exchange email addresses and phone numbers, or use WhatsApp or other messaging apps to stay in touch.
  4. We recommend having one or two leaders who can communicate with the rest of the group and serve as a point .
  5. Check in with each group member as they join. Find out what they want to be involved with? What special skills or interests they bring to your group? Groups of volunteers are stronger when everyone plays a part they’re excited about. Many groups find that they are supporters of one another. Others see themselves as critical links to others in their community who are in need of help.
  6. Can my Jconnector group help people while still social distancing? Yes! Here are some ideas that Jconnector groups can do, even without leaving their homes:
      • Help seniors navigate and use technology
      • Help someone in isolation find interesting things online
      • Help someone set up grocery delivery or curbside pickup
      • Let seniors know local stores offering special hours for seniors
      • Find food assistance, help paying bills, walking animals and other free or reduced cost programs that help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
      • Find local grocery and restaurant food delivery services
      • Find local pharmacies that deliver prescriptions and medicines
      • Find mail order prescription options
      • To promote social interactions and combat loneliness, speak with neighbors on the phone or by video chat on a regular basis. Call regularly to check in, but also make time just to chat.
  1. Do some research for resources. See Federation’s Jconnections Homepage for links to great ideas and organizations to get involved with, or volunteer projects, or resources to connect people in need.
  2. Make yourself known. It is possible there are people who really need some help, but no one has asked them. Be that person. Encourage other members of your volunteer group to do the same.
  3. Start Small. Stay Small. No one is asking anyone to solve all the problems of everyone in the Greater Washington Area. Focus on one small issue or geographic area (like your neighborhood block, or your synagogue, or a particular senior residential area). The idea is that over time others will hopefully get inspired to create their own Jconnector volunteer groups and spread the caring connections.
  4. Ask for help. Don’t hesitate to deputize others in your volunteer group to help you find or triage needs, communicate with the rest of the group, or check in with members. Always feel free to contact Mindy Berger at mindy.berger@shalomdc.org at The Jewish Federation if you have questions or concerns.
  5. Pat yourself on the back. These are difficult times, and we need people like you to step up and make a difference. THANK YOU for your commitment

Where can I find resources to lead my group?
To support you and your volunteer group, as well as the people you are assisting, visit the Jconnect Homepage for a variety of resources from more than 100 community partners, and local agencies and synagogues

For more support, register as a Jconnector! We will connect you with other leaders to share and learn best practices and discuss ways to support each other. You’ll also receive special volunteer opportunities and updates from The Jewish Federation.

Register Your Jonnector Volunteer Group

For Volunteers- By participating in a volunteer activity facilitated by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, you acknowledge that these activities are voluntary, and may contain risk(s) to your own personal health and safety and other people you might come in contact with. By volunteering, you assume responsibility and liability for these risks. You agree to hold harmless The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and partner organizations and release, discharge, covenant not to sue, and agree to indemnify The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and any and all other third-party sponsoring or participating entities from all liability and all claims of any kind arising out of your participation. 

For Organizations- The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is not responsible for the behavior or actions of volunteers connected to opportunities promoted via jconnect.org or other Federation communications. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is not liable for any claims of any kind, including but not limited to damages, illness, death, personal injury, or loss or damage of property arising out of volunteer activities, whether caused by organizational or volunteer negligence, or any other cause beyond the control of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. You agree to release, discharge, covenant not to sue, and indemnify The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for all liability and all claims of any kind arising out of The Federation’s communications about volunteer opportunities.