Volunteer Salute

At TIHAN’S Poz Café, locals serve up simple pleasures

(L-R): Patrice White, Naomi Present, Max Harris and Barbara Holtzman of Congregation Chaverim are recognized for their service to Poz Cafe at Tucson Interfatih HIV/AIDS Network in March.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS was essentially a death sentence. Pharmaceutical representative Pa­trice White was fresh out of grad school at that time and employed as a social worker for the local hospitals. “It was just awful,” says White of the… Read more »

Collecting people’s stories fosters compassion, empathy

Penelope Starr

Odyssey Storytelling, a monthly array of six Tucsonans each telling a true life story, began 10 years ago. “It’s all about the stories, the unique ways people figure out how to do life,” says founder and artist Penelope Starr. “It’s fascinating and so complicated.” Complexity has never stopped Starr… Read more »

Book lover keeps pages turning for BNC

Sheila Rothenberg

As “author wrangler” for the annual Book and Author event benefitting the Brandeis National Committee Tucson Chapter, Sheila Rothenberg translates her three decades of publishing experience into a meaningful volunteer activity. “I’m very pleased to be able to do it,” Rothenberg says. “For me, participating in Tucson’s Brandeis chap­ter… Read more »

Enlisting seniors to teach kids healthy habits

Sabrina Plattner

Sabrina Plattner has been promoting better health in children for the past nine years. Her last professional position, with Healthy Children Arizona at the University of Arizona, introduced positive health, nutrition and sun safety concepts to children, putting her in contact with 25,000 local kids. In June, Plattner began… Read more »

Jewish Tucson keeps ex-engineer humming

Simon Rosenblatt

Simon Rosenblatt is emphatic as he speaks about volunteering with the Tucson Jewish community: “Make no mistake, Jewish Tucson is our family.” Rosenblatt spreads his energy and time across a trifecta of local and national Jewish efforts: Temple Emanu-El, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Union for Reform… Read more »

Trains big and small transport volunteer with local railway museums

Ken Sandock on the F-series diesel Copper Spike. The Arizona & Eastern Railway ran excursions from Globe, Ariz., to a local casino from 2008-2011.

Ken Sandock’s fascination with trains started when he was a boy — and it’s only gotten stronger over the years. His family lived in South Bend, Ind., and he would take the Chicago South Shore and Southbend Railroad to visit relatives in Chicago. “When I lived in Chicago there… Read more »

Hebrew High cooking class is labor of love

(L-R) Susan Wortman, Lupe Zembrano, Marjorie Cunningham and Paula Riback at Hebrew High

Teaching cooking at Tucson’s Hebrew High gives Marjorie Cunningham hope for the future. “I have confidence in our young people,” says Cunningham, who has found, over the past 15 or so years that she’s volunteered to teach the class, that her students are “pleasant, polite, appreciative and enthusiastic.” She… Read more »

‘It’s all about the journey,” says Patty Vallance

Patty Vallance

Patty Vallance started volunteering when she had young children and lived in the small town of Placerville, Calif., from 1986 to 2000. “I have an obligation to my children, my family, to my community,” she told the AJP. “I wanted to raise my kids Jewish and connect them to… Read more »

Local woman is proud to be canine matchmaker

From top: Lily, Bella, Michael, Allison (with Woody) and Sage Wexler (with Jessie)

Allison Wexler is not your average Jewish matchmaker. Not only is half of every pair she connects non-human, but they generally come from a pet shelter. “I can’t go anywhere in town without being called the Dog Matchmaker,” says Wexler, laughing. “For the last five or six years, people… Read more »

Margot and Gunther Marx: ‘We’re supposed to help others’

Margot and Gunther Marx

Over the past 18 years in Tucson, Gunther Marx and his wife, Margot, have racked up more than 10,000 volunteer hours with organizations ranging from Tucson Medical Center to the Tucson Botanical Gardens to Project Linus. The Marxes began spending winters in Tucson in 1995 and moved here full-time… Read more »

Emberly Davis: Animal rehab sparks ambition

Emberly Davis

Emberly Davis, 11, has been volunteering at the Forever Wild wildlife animal rehabilitation center for three years. “I’m mostly in charge of the night birds and creatures,” she says, explaining that she feeds the hawks, falcons and owls on her weekly visits to the center with her mother, Shanna… Read more »

Soralé Fortman: Former teacher enjoys broad horizons

Soralé Fortman

The Tucson chapter of Brandeis National Committee honored Soralé “Sorkey” Fortman as a Woman of Valor in 1997. Now, having celebrated her 80th birthday in April, she shows little sign of slowing down. Since she retired from teaching 20 years ago, Fortman has held every position available in the… Read more »

From many walks of life, volunteers lend helping hands

Meryl Press

Volunteers — defined as those “who perform a service willingly and without pay” — are the backbone of many organizations, helping them fulfill and sometimes expand upon their core missions. In this special “Volunteer Salute,” the AJP presents brief snapshots of volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona… Read more »