Volunteer Spotlight: Marla Shainberg
JF&CS volunteers have been instrumental to the success of so many of our programs. Each year, they dedicate hours upon hours of their time to meetings, projects, programs and events. This comes from a drive and desire to make a positive impact on the community and to help provide a range of services to those who need them. Marla Shainberg is a shining example of this commitment to JF&CS and the community.
Marla’s involvement with JF&CS dates back about three years, and in that short time, she has made an incredible impact on the organization. Currently, Marla serves on our board and is the incoming chair of the committee that works with our Developmental Disabilities Services - Tools for Independence division. Though she had previously been exposed to JF&CS through her volunteer work with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Marla became directly involved with JF&CS some years later through our Tools for Leaders learning series. Immediately, she says, she was “so impressed with the extent of the agency’s direct services and how they were impacting everyday lives.”
From there, Marla became involved with Tools for Independence. She has volunteered at the annual Larry Bregman, M.D., Educational Conference and became a presidential appointee to our board, where she began serving on the Developmental Disabilities Committee. Working with this population is very important to Marla, and she says she was “floored by the extent of services” offered by JF&CS to individuals with developmental disabilities. This strikes a personal chord with Marla. “I have a sibling with special needs in another city where there are not these types of resources, so I have a personal connection to and a passion for this. It’s about people’s day-to-day lives and the lives of their families.” She emphasizes the need to keep up with what is going on in the community and in government and how these issues affect this population. “The goal,” she says, “is to make sure that all of these people have access to the services they need, and it’s a very complex thing to navigate.”
Marla’s list of roles with JF&CS is long, and one role she has truly enjoyed has been working with other board members and our development team on fundraising. “JF&CS has the friendliest, most receptive group of donors,” says Marla. “It’s a pleasure to make calls to people who are excited to hear from you and excited to give to your organization. Fundraising is not always a comfortable situation, but here people are enthusiastic to contribute. The staff at JF&CS is so great about empowering you. As a volunteer, you really are treated like a colleague.”
When she is not spending her time contributing to the success of JF&CS and to the well-being of our clients, Marla is an Orthoptist—an eye muscle specialist — in the Department of Ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine. In addition to seeing patients, she teaches and coordinates clinical research.
Marla is very active in the Jewish community, and she loves to give her time to things she cares about.
“I’m all about community and advocacy for vulnerable groups,” she says. “I love to teach and to learn, and I’m constantly looking for opportunities to grow as a person, a professional and a Jew.”