Volunteer Spotlight September 2022: Raleigh Kent

Raleigh Kent

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

My earlier years were on the Minneapolis Northside, later moving to south Minneapolis. I graduated from Washburn High School and went on to the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. After graduating with a BSN, I went to work as a pediatric nurse in hospitals in New York City and Washington, D.C. I returned to Minneapolis in 1964 to marry Paul Kent and continued to work at the U of M Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). We had a family, Benjy, Anna and Josh, and I was widowed in 1974. All of my children are now married, with children, and grandchildren, giving me 11 grandkids, and three great grandkids, in Minneapolis and Israel.

What motivated you to begin volunteering with JFCS?

I joined the work of JFCS because its work was of interest to me, and I stayed involved because they were so welcoming, helpful, and supportive.

What JFCS programs do you volunteer with and how long have you been volunteering with us?

I first connected with JFCS in about 1968 when we were licensed to be a foster home, and welcomed children through JFCS and Hennepin County for several years. My next involvement with JFCS was around 1981, when my mother was widowed and I suggested JFCS form a support group for widows. JFCS used to have Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick) volunteers through the Twin Cities Jewish Healing Program and I was involved in that program for many years, visiting with community members. I was involved with JFCS’ former Healthy Youth/Healthy Communities program. Many years ago, I joined the Annual Conference on Mental Health planning committee when it first started, and I continue to be an active volunteer with that and the Caregivers Conference.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with JFCS?

The people! Both those we serve and those we work with. Equally important – the work we do!

How has being a JFCS volunteer impacted your life?

Broadening my skills, gaining insight into the variety of life experiences, and the variety and usefulness of coping skills.

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

JFCS provides a wonderfully warm, welcoming, supportive, and nurturing situation to work within. The work can be challenging, interesting, and rewarding. The people are wonderful!

We hope you will join us for the 22nd Annual Conference on Mental Health on Sunday, Oct. 23, at Temple Israel. Click here for more information and to register. We are seeking volunteers who can help with various duties at the conference. Click here to sign up for a volunteer shift.

For more information about volunteering with JFCS, click here or contact Dana Shapiro, Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager at dshapiro@jfcsmpls.org or 952.417.2112.