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October 13, 2009

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October 13, 2009

My wife and I (a nurse/doctor team) have volunteered with American Jewish World Service on three occasions, one in Uganda and two in Thailand. We have been so fortunate in getting to know staff from the New York City offices both on their site and in the field. The purposes, goals, methods of operation of AJWS are beautifully spelled out in their literature. The people who work for AJWS are so bright, warm, passionate and compassionate, and work so effectively with people in all settings. We had the utter joy of working, in January-March, 2009, again with a Burmese group in southern Thailand serving Burmese refugees. We started with a week's orientation in Chang Mai led by two most wonderful young women from the central offices of AJWS. It was a sensitive, cohesive, well orchestrated and immensely helpful orientation, even for us, who had worked on two previous occasions with AJWS. Defining community-based organizations in multiple countries, using staff on a regional basis who visit all organizations to whom volunteers are sent forms the operational base for AJWS. Volunteers are linked according to their skills and interests. In our case, we worked on issues related to health; yet, we were meaningfully challenged in much broader ways, working with deeply committed and caring staff within the NGO we were assigned to. Our experiences have been so moving, so dear, so interesting and exciting, and have enabled us to maintain contact with a coterie of new friends in other cultures and countries. AJWS is simply a great organization, mobilizing the very best in Jewish life, history and thinking and applying that in a heartfelt way to help meet the needs of people in need. From the leadership of the organization through all of its staff and on to its linkages with people's organizations, AJWS maintains the highest level of dignity, ethics and intense commitment.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The effective integration of a carefully constructed set of goals and purposes with wonderful staff who are so very capable in carrying the mission out. We deeply admire the young women we have met who work for AJWS; they embody the best of human spirit

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

October 13, 2009

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October 13, 2009

I traveled to Kanchipuram, India with AJWS as part of their Volunteer Summer program in 2008. The program was the most meaningful thing I have done with my entire life and has completely changed my path. Because of my experience with AJWS, I have now decided to pursue international development after graduation. The summer program I did also included a year-long domestic component the following year. Rather than let one amazing summer experience stand on its own, AJWS gave me and my fellow participants the necessary tools to take our experiences in India and transform them into continued meaningful change back in the United States. AJWS knows what they are doing. They are able to work on a grassroots, culturally-aware level with their grantees and provide the assistance needed in the developing world in sensitive and effective ways. AJWS serves as a model for a successful international development organization. AJWS also ensures that their work doesn't just happen overseas--their work in the secular and Jewish communities aims to educate people about international poverty and development, and is quite successful. AJWS is an amazing organization and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with them.

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The most amazing people I've had the privilege to meet in my life. All of the staff truly care and are doing their work for the right reasons. All of the volunteers I met were also there for the right reasons, and comprised a unique group of individuals.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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