Staff & Volunteer Spotlight

Staff & Volunteer Spotlight

Carly Karten. Credit: Dave Hawks; Wayne Peppert: Courtesy of Wayne Pappert; Marty Levinson: Credit: Laura Levinson

Correction: Alachua Nazarenko's title was incorrectly listed in last month's Staff Spotlight section. Her correct title is education and engagement coordinator at Shalom Austin.

Carly Karten: Development Associate

What is your role and what do you do at Shalom Austin?
I am the development associate and I support the development team with logistics, programming registrations and database entry. I also manage our Jewish Austin Men Program (JAMen).

What is your background and what brought you to Shalom Austin?
I am originally from Fort Worth and after high school, I decided to take a gap year program called Young Judaea Year Course. When I returned I moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas at Austin where I majored in corporate communication. When my development associate position became available, I knew this would be a great opportunity and am really excited to be a part of the Austin Jewish Community.

What do you feel has been your most rewarding experience so far?
Working with the development team and having so many opportunities to learn new things and solve problems for the benefit of our community every day has been really rewarding.

What is your favorite part about working here?
My co-workers are all so caring not only for each other but also for Shalom Austin. I also love on Friday afternoons that everyone says, “Good Shabbos.” It makes me feel like I am home and ready for the weekend.

Describe any exciting programs or projects in the works?
IGNITE! is right around the corner and we are extremely excited for this year’s event. IGNITE! is bringing the entire community together on one night to celebrate and build connections, share our impact and spark the light of giving. You can register here at shalomaustin.org/registerignite There is limited seating so get your tickets today! If you have any questions, you can contact me at carly.karten@shalomaustin.org or 512-735-8044.

What would you say to someone who wants to be a part of the community?
Come be a part of our wonderful and growing community! We have so many opportunities for all ages and interests and love to provide ways to bring everyone together and support one another.

Wayne Pappert: Shalom Austin Volunteer

What is your role at Shalom Austin?
I am a volunteer coach for Maccabi Games Team Austin boys’ U14 basketball.

What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?
Growing up in Houston, I was always at the Jewish Community Center playing sports, taking summer camps, swimming, and participating in many other activities. I moved back to Austin in 1992 and immediately got involved with the Jewish Community Center of Austin programming. Then when my children, Sammy and Carly, were born, they attended the Early Childhood Program at the Jollyville Road location. In 1992, when Michael and Susan Dell donated 40 acres to the Austin Jewish community, I signed up to volunteer for a committee to help make the Dell Jewish Community Campus a reality.

Why is volunteering important to you?
I grew up with parents who were very active volunteers, and they were always volunteering for every organization that my brother, sister and I were involved in. Whether it was at our synagogue, the Houston JCC, Little League Baseball, basketball leagues, schools or BBYO, my parents were always willing to volunteer. Following in their footsteps, I have heeded the call to volunteer my time.

For 23 years I was a volunteer alumni adviser for Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Texas, and my wife and I were always coach or team parents for our children’s sports teams, dance teams and drill teams. In 2004 the Austin JCC hosted our first Maccabi Games, and I coached the boys’ U14 basketball team. I did it again in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018, and am again coaching for the 2019 Detroit Games. In 2013, I was basketball commissioner when Austin hosted the Maccabi Games.

What is your background?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, became bar mitzvah at United Orthodox Synagogue, and graduated from Westbury High School. I attended The University of Texas, was a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, was active at Hillel and Chabad, and participated in UT intramural sports.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
Being part of Shalom Austin would be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made. I have been involved since the early 1990s and being active in this community has led me to meet some of my closest friends and many great people. When the JCC opened up at Hart Lane it became the meeting place for our entire community. Shalom Austin isn’t a country club or multi location gymnasium, it is a place you can go to work out, take classes, hear great speakers on many subjects, and best of all, meet wonderful people.

Marty Levinson: Shalom Austin Volunteer

What is your role at Shalom Austin?
I have volunteered to be the basketball coach for the 13 -14 year old boys for Team Austin in the Maccabi Games for the past seven years.

What made you decide to become a Shalom Austin volunteer?
I decided to become a volunteer as I really wanted to teach children basketball and try to help our youth gain a feeling of ownership when they came to play at the Jewish Community Center. I was a board member of the JCC at the time, and I felt my experience could be valuable in teaching basketball and becoming more involved. I was approached by the Austin delegation to coach in the Maccabi Games. This was a great honor and I am currently coaching in my seventh year.

Why is volunteering important to you?
Over the years, I have enjoyed watching the friendships made and the chemistry bonded between all of the Austin children that have participated in the Maccabi experience. Every year we are fortunate to send several teams—basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming, baseball, arts, and others—to the Maccabi Games in early August. I always feel the powerful impact of attending the opening ceremonies as I see the teams that have traveled from Israel, Europe, South America, and North America to participate in the games. I am so proud as every participant has that common identity—we are all Jewish.

What is your background?
I grew up in Corpus Christi in a very small Jewish community and was very active in many different sports. I played basketball on my high school basketball team and then attended the University of Texas. At this time, I realized that I wanted to help children learn the importance of competing in sports. Working in sales and marketing for a large food service company was my job for 26 years, but coaching children is my passion. I was fortunate to meet my wife of 30 years at the University of Texas and hoped some day to have kids of our own. We were blessed with two wonderful children, who I am so proud of.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting involved with Shalom Austin?
Getting involved with Shalom Austin has been one of the best experiences in my life. It is so gratifying to watch our youth work so hard and strive to achieve their goal. I have met so many wonderful people at Shalom Austin. Being a board member and my involvement with the Maccabi Games has provided this great opportunity. I look forward to many great years to come. It is exciting to feel and experience the momentum of the many great opportunities as we embark on the future. ■

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