The story below about Mr. Clark is just one example of why I am so pleased to tell you about the generosity of the Jim Joseph Foundation, as they are matching 100% of every dollar donated to TELEM before June 30th, 2017 (up to $30,000). We hope to reach this goal with your help!
At 94 years of age, Mr. Branson Clark is as vigorous and engaging as they come. When TELEM teen service program staff visited Mr. Clark in his Jamaica Plain home last winter, he showed them how he ‘jogs’ up and down his hallway to stay limber in the cold and snowy weather. His jog isn’t merely a slow run; it is a rapid, high, knee-pumping activity, with the intensity of an NFL running back in training. It was a remarkable display of fitness and strength.
But notwithstanding his admirable fitness, Mr. Clark was unable to maintain the upkeep of his home on his own. Without the resources to hire contractors to repair unsafe conditions, his ability to live independently was in jeopardy. Enter a new partnership between the JCRC’s TELEM and Rebuilding Together Boston (RTB). RTB harnesses the skill and muscle-power of volunteers to help seniors and vulnerable persons live safely in their homes. TELEM teen participants – with their extensive experience repairing damaged homes in New Orleans, New Jersey, and New York – wanted to provide similar assistance to Boston residents. Mr. Clark’s house was the first of this type of rehab project in Boston, and the partnership with RTB made this vital work possible.
On an unseasonably chilly day in March, as part of the South Area’s CHAI Mitzvah Day, 34 volunteers from synagogues in Sharon, Randolph, Brockton, Canton, and Easton lent their skills and brawn to a wide variety of projects to make Mr. Clark’s home a more safe and livable place. Adult and teen volunteers – including a crew of 12 from Temple Sinai Sharon’s youth group – built railings, repaired walls and doors, painted trim, installed wallboard, and cleaned lots of yard debris. The youngest volunteer, about to become a b’nai mitzvah, donated $70 of his winter snow-shoveling earnings towards the purchase of materials for Mr. Clark’s home. He and his dad – a professional contractor - worked side by side for four hours to rebuild a wall badly damaged by water leaks.
(L-R) Mitzvah Day Participants; Teens from the TELEM program; Mr. Branson Clarke with TELEM teen; Mr. Clark (center) with Volunteers from the Temple Israel, Sharon, Brotherhood
By the end of the day, many necessary projects had been completed, the dumpster was full, and Mr. Clark was only too grateful for what had been accomplished. The South Area volunteers, with TELEM in the lead, enabled Mr. Clark to continue to live as he desired; safely and independently in his own home.
As we complete TELEM’s 12th year, we’re proud to have engaged over 8,000 Jewish teens in similar projects; bettering the lives of our neighbors in Greater Boston, animating the values of chessed and tzedek, and learning what it means to be engaged citizens and Jews in service to others.
Through your gift and its match from the Jim Joseph Foundation, you will allow JCRC to sustain TELEM’s current model and expand service opportunities – both on-going and one-time programs – for Boston area teens. We hope you will make your donation today, and enable more stories like Mr. Clark’s come to fruition.
P.S. - This is a time-sensitive match for TELEM through the Jim Joseph Foundation, so please consider making a contribution today. You can make your tax-deductible donation to JCRC:
- Online by selecting TELEM under “Gift Designation”
- By check payable to: JCRC, 126 High Street, Boston, MA 02110
ATTN: Tasha Lipsky - please note TELEM on the check's memo line
- With a CJP designation
- Through a donor advised fund