A few weeks ago, we introduced you to the fabulous Agata from JCC Krakow which proved to be one of our most popular posts ever. If you missed it, click here to catch up. So without further ado. Back to Agata!
What kind of volunteering opportunities does JCC Krakow offer?
Our volunteers do a whole variety of things – both in and out – the Centre. They are involved in organising all of the Jewish holidays and events held at the JCC: from Shabbat dinners, helping at the Senior Club, Shmooze (Jewish adults club) and Student Club and connecting with foreign groups and individuals visiting the building. They also help at our educational programme including Hebrew and other language courses; lessons about Jewish holidays and traditions, and belly dancing and Israeli dancing. They translate from and into Polish when needed, support the work of our library, get involved with such events as 7@Nite (also called the Night of the Synagogues) and support JCC’s activities during the famous Krakow Jewish Culture Festival. And, of course, there is a one-year program for volunteers interested in working at the reception desk!
That sounds like a huge range of activities!
Yes, but there’s more besides. Our volunteers also take guided tours around Kazimierz (the Jewish district in Krakow). JCC Member Piotrek Nawrocki shares his knowledge about the Jewish Community and the Jewish life in Poland after the World War II. Grzegorz Gembala runs a genealogical workshop for volunteers each year in the run up to the Jewish Culture Festival – genealogy is one of the most frequently asked topics and volunteers are trained to respond to most common questions.
We also have volunteers from abroad. We’ve had a lot of great experiences – Ann from Germany and Dick from Norway worked on a guide through Kazimierz which covered places that are important for Jews living in Krakow today; Mina from China led a summer course of basic Chinese! We are also always looking for volunteers to teach foreign languages; propose their own idea or project or organising special events with individuals or other organisations and institution – there’s so much we could do.
What’s the best part of your day?
I still like working at the reception the most, even though my duties are much wider – there is nothing like being the first person in a place to greet a new visitor, particularly Polish expatriates, which is often very moving.
What events have you got coming up?
Currently we are working on constructing a Facebook fanpage dedicated to our volunteer program only. From January, we’re planning to visit Kazimierz synagogues with our guide Sławek. We’re also looking forward to join the trip to Prague organised by students from the Department of Jewish Studies of the Jagiellonian Univesity in Krakow.
Any else you’d like to tell us about JCC Krakow?
In our free time most of our volunteers are friends and also meet after completing their duties at the JCC. The JCC also encourages them to meet and spend their free time together so that we can create a real community! Our JCC brand beer definitely helps with that!