New young adult volunteer project planned

A new volunteer project has been created for Jewish young adults in St. Louis. The Karen Solomon Young Adult Service Initiative, a project of Jewish Federation, is providing a $25,000 grant to recruit, market and organize an ongoing service project to attract and involve young Jews.  The Jewish Community Relations Council, Next Dor, Jewish Community Center and Gateway 180—an agency that works to end homelessness in the City of St. Louis—are working together on the initiative. 

The project was a vision of philanthropist William (Bill) Solomon, who wanted to create a lasting tribute to his late wife, Karen, a passionate volunteer. Working with Jewish Federation and Federation’s Jewish Community Foundation, Solomon created an endowment to fund a program aimed at engaging the next generation in community service—within a Jewish context.

“I wanted to honor my late wife and involve my daughter, Wendy Solomon Huss, in Jewish charitable efforts. So, Federation staff and I came up with the idea of having a group of young Jewish adults volunteer at a non-Jewish agency in the city,” he said.

Jewish Federation called on local organizations to collaborate and create a unique project and a panel evaluated proposals and selected the winner. 

Volunteer activities at Gateway 180’s shelter for homeless women and children may include playing board games, reading bedtime stories, crafting or cooking. The goal is to provide a sense of normalcy, stability and understanding to the families in the shelter.

Next Dor, an organization for Jewish young adults, will recruit at least 100 volunteers. JCRC will organize volunteer programs, and the JCC’s Rabbi Brad Horwitz will lead the Jewish learning component