November 2, 2009
Jconnect welcomed me into Seattle. As a Canadian transplant moving into a new city, having an organization of people my age to meet was indespensible. Most of my friendships in Seattle have formed from people I met at Jconnect events and were fostered by the Jconnect community.
Beyond connecting newcomers, Jconnect provides some truly special and unique opportunities. It is one of the only organizations that focuses on the graduate student and young professional community. This is particularly important because this age group tends move away from the undergraduate community very quickly but isn't quite ready to be immersed in more family oriented activities. As a result many young adults end up feeling alienated and isolated. Jconnect enables the opposte, a feeling of belonging and a gateway to the next phase where family oriented events and activities are more appropriate.
Finally, Jconnect is extremely diverse. Since it caters to the Jewish community, one could easily make incorrect assumptions about what types of events Jconnect offers and what type of people lead and attend them. Jconnect offers activites for those interested in religious life, but also those interested in social justice, political action, outdoors activites (particularly valuable in the Pacific Northwest) and general social activites. Jconnect is almost entirely participant led thanks to a great staff that mentors and encourages participants to come up with new ideas for events and activities.
This means that if a participant would like to raise funds for a charity or volunteer at an organization that Jconnect doesn't yet support, they have the freedom, the resources and the encouragement to organize the event and Jconnect will publicize it and provide any assistance necessary. This has helped furthery diversify the events, activites and body of participants such that they are all beyond classification.
I have yet to find any organization that is as welcoming and understanding of people who don't self-identify with a particular community (religious sect, nationality or otherwise) and connect them with one another in an environment of encouragement, tolerance and understanding. The result is a truly remarkable organization that has welcomed thousands of would-be isolated young adults and energized them into active participants and leaders of a continually changing and growing community.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
making friends when entering a new community.
Leading events I wanted to happen as well as participating in events I never knew even existed!
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
Being able to help. I have been able to give back to Jconnect by volunteering (and in volunteering, leading events I wanted to happen or I thought were important) as well as participating in events that helped others (including those other communities).
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
all very different! That diversity is what makes Jconnect so unique. Everything from the typical traditional religious service to gay/lesbian/transgendered parties to Spanish discussion groups... Jconnect is extraordinarily diverse.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
Change the way Jewish, young adults approach each other and with entering independent adulthood in new and very meaningful ways across the country! It would be amazing to see Jconnect's approach, diversity and encouragement in other cities that need it!
Ways to make it better...
I had known about Jconnect sooner!
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
The assumptions Jewish, young adults make about a Jewish organization. Jconnect is nothing like what people expect.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I'm both a volunteer and a client served. I attend and help host various events (social justice, social, religious, political, outdoors...).