Boca Raton Man Helps Nonprofit Achieve its Goals - April 2011

By Darcy Clinton, Special Correspondent
April 16, 2011

Name: Laurence Blair, 42
Residence: Boca Raton
Birthplace: New York City
Family: Wife, Michele Blair; son, Joshua Blair, 9; daughter, Morgan Blair, 7
Career: Trusts and estates tax attorney at Greenspoon Marder, P.A.
Cause: Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service, a nonprofit organization with locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach providing programs, services and assistance to people of all ages. Programs include food and financial assistance, senior services, counseling and mental health services.

Q. Describe your volunteer role.
A. I am entering my third year as chairman of JFS. As chairman, I partner with the CEO, Danielle Hartmann, to ensure that the agency stays true to its mission. Also, I make connections in the community to assist the agency to achieve its goals.

Q. Why do you volunteer?
A. I was raised with the belief that if you are able to help another individual, you should.

Q. How did you choose this organization?
A. Nine years ago, I had an elderly client who was living on his own and concerned that if something should happen to him, no one would know. I learned about JFS while researching programs available to help my client.

Q. What has this organization accomplished?
A. During the past year, we worked to streamline our operations and cut expenses without cutting services or programs. The changes were very successful. We were able to maintain our existing services and add other programs, including a part-time psychiatrist and psychologist as part of our mental health program offering, to better serve the community's needs.

Q. What challenges have you faced?
A. As with many organizations, funding sources have diminished while the need for our services continues to grow. The number of Holocaust survivors requesting home health care increased by 50 percent this year. I can think of no greater tragedy than telling a Holocaust survivor that the best we can do is put their name on a waiting list. These are individuals with needs that must be met in a timely manner. With this type of program, a waiting list is not an option.

Q. What goals do you have for the organization?
A. Our vision is to continue to operate as a premier social service agency providing a continuum of services for families and individuals in all stages of life.

Q. Aside from money, what does this organization need?
A. We always look for interested volunteers to become friendly visitors, make telephone calls to homebound seniors, drive seniors without access to transportation to appointments, mentor a child in the community, volunteer at one of our food baggings, deliver food to our food pantry clients, organize a food drive, or teach a class at the Delray Community Center.

For more information, visit http://www.ruthralesjfs.org or call 561-852-3333.
If you know a Palm Beach County resident who deserves recognition for volunteer work, fax the information to 954-429-1207 or e-mail to darcylynnclinton@yahoo.com. Nominations should include volunteer's name, city of residence, a contact name and phone number, and a brief description of why this person deserves special recognition.