Staff and Volunteer Spotlight
Katie Price: Jewish Family Service Office Manager
What is your role and what do you do at Shalom Austin?
I am currently the Jewish Family Service office manager and am transitioning into the JFS outreach coordinator position. I will be working with the senior adult community to assist them in maintaining their connection to the greater Austin Jewish community through services and programming.
Can you share a little about your background and what brought you to Shalom Austin?
I grew up in the Detroit metro area and moved to Austin in August 2007. I have been working for Shalom Austin in various roles since October 2007. It is very important to me to continue to be a part of a thriving Jewish organization.
What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience as a staff member?
Being part of an organization that allows me to learn and grow personally and professionally with Shalom Austin and Jewish Family Service.
What is your favorite thing about working here?
Shalom Austin has such an active and engaged group of peers and community members. There are so many varied opportunities for staff and community member involvement with Shalom Austin.
Are there any exciting programs or projects in the works you are involved in that the community should know about?
Jewish Family Service is seeking volunteers for our Friendly Visitor program. This is a great opportunity to develop friendships and socialize with Jewish seniors living in Austin.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin and the Austin Jewish community?
Get involved. You will be so happy that you made the decision to be a part of it all.
Dan Kraus: Shalom Austin Volunteer
What is your role at Shalom Austin?
I am the Shalom Austin board chair.
What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?
I initially got interested in the idea of helping to start a Jewish Foundation in Austin about 10 years ago. There wasn't one at the time, and Dana Baruch and Jay Rubin suggested that instead I join the Allocations Committee that helps grant funds to our community partners. It was a great experience and I ended up chairing that committee a few years later. That got the ball rolling. I did also ultimately get to help start the Shalom Austin Jewish Foundation a few years back, which is very special to me.
Why is volunteering important to you?
It may sound cliche, but my family and I are huge beneficiaries of this community. So much of the joy in our lives occurs on the Dell Jewish Community Campus and with the friends we have made here. In addition, my father and his family were beneficiaries of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish relief agency, in Europe and in Africa during WWII and my mother's father actually worked for the Jewish Agency in Algeria and in France. It's just natural to want to give back and support these critical causes both locally and around the world. Lastly, my parents were always volunteers in their synagogue, in Jewish charities and in their community. Their example is definitely present in my mind.
What is your background?
I was born and raised in Bellingham, Massachusetts, which was a very small town with almost no other Jews. My parents both escaped from Europe and grew up in Israel, where my brother and sister were born. As a kid I was very active in Young Judaea, attending the national summer camp, Tel Yehudah, then Year Course in Israel, and then I helped to found a Young Judaea college group (Hamagshimim) at SUNY Binghamton.
During college I had my first experience coming to Austin. Some friends from Year Course and I all worked a few summers at Camp Young Judaea Texas which was a lot of fun. I met my wife, Rochelle, when I was living in New York City. She had done her master’s degree at the University of Texas, so Austin was on both our radars when we wanted to start a family.
Our children, Noah (14) and Kira (12), are growing up on the campus, having attended ECP, Camp Shalom, and now the AJA, plus all the sports and cultural programs. Rochelle even worked as an assistant dance instructor for a few years.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
Volunteering is one of the most interesting and rewarding things you can do in life and there is no better place to contribute than Shalom Austin. We have opportunities in so many areas from social services to cultural arts to community leadership. I am extremely proud to serve this organization. We are truly living our mission of enhancing the quality of Jewish life in Austin and around the world. Please join us!