Volunteer Spotlight April 2024: Katie Cera

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

I live in Plymouth with my fiancé. I grew up in Golden Valley. I did move away from Minneapolis for my four years at University of Wisconsin-Madison for my bachelor’s degree. When I am not working for Target Corporate, I enjoy traveling, taking walks around one of the many lakes in the Twin Cities, and of course volunteering for JFCS. 

What volunteer role do you have with JFCS and what volunteer roles have you had with JFCS in the past?

Currently, I am involved in JFCS as a member of the Board of Directors as well as NextGen. I have been part of NextGen since I moved back after college. I then joined the NextGen Board and became its president in 2020.

Katie Cera
Katie with the NextGen Board

What motivated you to begin volunteering with JFCS and how long have you been volunteering with JFCS?

I’ve known about JFCS my whole life as my aunt, Carole, worked there for many years. There is a therapy brochure from 25 years ago where my aunt and I posed for the cover. So the start of my volunteering was at a young age. After I graduated from college, I was motivated to get involved in the community and liked that JFCS gave you the opportunity to give back.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS and how has it impacted your life? 

My favorite part is having fun while doing something good! The volunteer events are activities I look forward to. I always walk away from the events feeling a sense of accomplishment and knowing that I made a difference for someone with need.

Do you have a memorable story about your JFCS volunteer experience to share?

During the pandemic, JFCS still provided lots of opportunities to volunteer, which helped me stay grounded during such a crazy time! Whether it was writing notes to people who were isolated or donating items for the Hag Sameach program, it reminded me that there is a larger community ready to support others, even during a time we were so separated.

Katie participating at NextGen’s Hag Sameach shopping event

What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with JFCS? 

Just call! If you don’t know where to start volunteering but want to get involved, just call! The awesome JFCS staff will help to find a volunteer opportunity that works best for you!

JFCS’ NextGen program serves Jewish young adults ages 21-36 who are living in the Twin Cities. It provides participants with social engagements and programs, as well as volunteering and leadership opportunities. NextGen operates through a board of volunteers who serve as ambassadors of JFCS and help plan and implement NextGen events throughout the year. For more information about the NextGen program, click here or contact Molly Knopf, Development NextGen Coordinator, at mknopf@jfcsmpls.org.

For more information about JFCS Volunteer Services, click here or contact Dana Shapiro, Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org.

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