The nomination form described Difference Maker Susan Blair as wearing many hats in different organizations like Hadassah and Jewish Family Services – where she works as a volunteer coordinator.
At JFS, the form said, “Her work as a volunteer for Jewish Family Services led to a job offer to work with volunteers. She found prospective workers everywhere and they became active volunteers. With so many workers, Susie was able to develop new programs serving the elderly, Holocaust survivors or families who needed some short-term service. Susie made things happen.”
How did your Jewish background inform your interest in giving back?
During Hebrew school, I learned about tzedakah. I also remember putting change in my mother’s JNF box. I liked the idea of saving money to help others. In high school, I became active in BBYO. My chapter, Bat Shalom, organized fundraisers and activities. We had so much fun and I enjoyed the challenge of organizing, participating and reaching goals that would ultimately help others.
Did you have any mentors? If so, what was your relationship to them and how did they impact you?
My mentor in life is my sister Debbie Adelman. She is four years older than me and I wanted to be just like her. Growing up, Debbie was and continues to be a wonderful daughter to my parents and great sister to my two brothers, my little sister and me. Debbie was a good student, a kind and dependable friend, and later enjoyed teaching elementary school students. As a wife and parent of four daughters, Debbie maintained a happy home. Although her home was full of activity, Debbie made it look easy. She also found time to be active in Jewish organizations. I looked up to Debbie and still do. She has the biggest heart and cares so much for her family, friends and the Jewish community.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing the Central Ohio Jewish community? What should be done to promote change?
From my experience as volunteer coordinator at Jewish Family Services, I feel one of the biggest challenges facing the Jewish community is providing services for seniors, especially transportation. Many seniors feel isolated and frustrated. Public transportation is not always accessible or easy for seniors. For many, private transportation services are unaffordable. JFS has a limited number of volunteer drivers, but this is not enough to meet the demand. My hope is to see our community create a larger volunteer transportation service and offer other affordable services.
What’s one takeaway you have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Throughout the difficult months we have faced, I have learned to stay positive by thinking about the wonderful people in my life, the exciting opportunities given to me, and most of all, embracing moments of happiness every day.