Volunteer Spotlight September 2023: Julie Jacobs

Volunteer Spotlight

Can you tell us about yourself and your background?

I have four children and eight grandchildren and relish any time I spend with them. I received my Master of Social Work at Ohio State. I had a private psychotherapy practice in Columbus, Ohio, for eight years. My family and I moved to Minneapolis in 1997. I worked in the emergency department at Regions Hospital for a number of years. During that time, I experienced complications from a hysterectomy. After which I experienced about 12 years of intractable depression. After a variety of different treatments, I finally found a medication that worked! I clearly have a vested interest in mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.

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

I am on the planning committee for the Twin Cities Jewish Mental Health Education Conference.

Julie with the Mental Health Education Conference Planning Committee

What does your volunteer role consist of?

Our committee meets once a month throughout the year to plan for the conference each year! We brainstorm ideas for a keynote speaker and focus of the conference.

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

I joined the planning committee in 2013. I had heard about the Mental Health Education Conference – a friend who was involved asked if I wanted to join the efforts of this conference to work collaboratively to raise awareness, provide education and reduce stigma of mental and behavioral health in all segments of the Twin Cities Jewish and broader communities.

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

I’m an extrovert and the opportunity to be involved with a group of volunteers who care about and have a commitment to reducing the stigma of mental illness drew me in! I enjoy our monthly meetings and I love the actual conference. On the morning of the conference, I arrive early to help with set up. After that, I help out in any way I can.

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

Julie (center) at a previous Mental Health Education Conference

I remember that one year members of the committee went out to eat with the keynote speaker. We went around and introduced ourselves, talking about why we were interested in the conference. I spoke about my background as a mental health professional. While others were sharing their answers, I thought to myself, “this conference is supposed to be about reducing stigma, and I’m not even being fully honest about my experiences.” After everyone had spoken, I asked if I could add something. I then shared my experiences with severe depression.

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

Go for it! It’s a mitzvah (Hebrew for “good deed”)! There’s so much opportunity for learning and growth in all of our experiences!

Please note that online registration for the conference is now closed. Walk-ins are welcome at Temple Israel on the day of the conference, but attendees should plan to bring a snack/lunch for the day. Find the brochure here. 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.

Newsletter Sign-Up

Sign up to read more articles like this and stay up-to-date!