Shalom Austin Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Shalom Austin Staff and Volunteer Spotlight

Robyn Burch
JCC Program Administrative Assistant

What is your role and what do you do at Shalom Austin?
I am all over the place in my main role as JCC program administrative assistant. I assist Shelly Prant with all the behind the scenes JCC programming. Additionally, I help the Youth and Teen Department with programs like Kids Connection and JCamps. I am also involved with administrative tasks for Cathy Schechter organizing and planning Melton classes. I also have fun creating the labels and educational booklet for each of the JGallery shows.

What is your background and what brought you to Shalom Austin?
Before working for Shalom Austin I was the office manager at Camp Champions in Marble Falls, Texas. I grew up attending Camp Champions as a child, eventually became a counselor during college and after graduating from the University of Arkansas, with a B.S. in recreation and sport management, I began working there year-round. After my 17th summer at Camp Champions — and my fourth year as office manager — I decided it was time to move on and find something else. I was not sure exactly what the something else was, but with the help of some family members involved with Shalom Austin I was encouraged to interview. I got the job and started after my wedding.

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?
My most rewarding experience is working with so many different groups and ages of people.

From the Youth and Teen Department to helping organize JBookFest with the committee as well as working with lay leaders on the Jewish Community Center Advisory Council. Shalom Austin means so much to each group and it is really exciting to hear the impact the J has on them and that they have on the J.

What is your favorite part about working here?
My favorite part about working here is having coworkers who are passionate about their jobs and the mission of Shalom Austin. The JCC program team is always working together to be successful. I love being part of the team!

Do you have any exciting programs or projects in the works?
JCamps is off to a great start! Did I mention I love camp? We are gearing up for JBookFest events which kick off in October.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
There is something for everyone! It is a great opportunity to become involved with a tight-knit community - there is no reason not to give it a try, especially now with our Summer Access Pass.

Rachel Gray
Shalom Austin Volunteer

What is your role at Shalom Austin?
First, I’m a mom to two boys Eli and Owen, which means I transport them to all their awesome activities at the JCC. Most recently I chaired the 2017/18 Early Childhood Program Parent Committee. I have also participated in the Families with Young Children Campaign to support the overall Generations Campaign, served as member to the JCC Advisory Council, and just recently joined as a Women’s Philanthropy cabinet member.

What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?
There really wasn’t a concrete decision to become a volunteer. The community is so inviting and warm that brief conversations in the hallways of the ECP or the community center turned into coffees and meetings to support Shalom Austin. At this stage in my life, I’m a busy mom and professional with young children and I was seeking out a community for friendship and assistance in this journey of raising a Jewish family. Becoming a Shalom Austin volunteer has given me a second home for my family.

Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering on the surface appears to help the recipient organization. And while that may be true, it is really the volunteer that benefits from the relationship. My life is richer through my time volunteering with Shalom Austin. I feel a deeper sense of connection to my neighbors and friends and all the wonderful staff I have met along the way. Shalom Austin offers me a place to worship, a place to strengthen my mind and body through the gym and pool, a place to educate my children through religious school and a social gathering place to connect with friends.

Volunteering is a small way to give back to a community that gives me so much.

What is your background?
My husband and I moved to Austin 16 years ago, and recently started Miller Gray Engineering, a civil engineering firm. My background is in fundraising and communications, so I handle marketing for the company and Dale focuses on business development and project management.

Although not native Texans, we are excited to raise our boys in Austin.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
Don’t think about it, just do it! Volunteering is a fantastic bridge to the Jewish community and Shalom Austin. Your only regret will be not doing it sooner. ■

JGallery Exhibit Features Artists Inspired by Nature’s Beauty

JGallery Exhibit Features Artists Inspired by Nature’s Beauty

Zoom into Jewish Learning This August

Zoom into Jewish Learning This August