NCJW/Essex Center for Women Volunteers Light Up Women’s Lives

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The following is from the NCJW/Essex Center for Women


Volunteer Co-chairs of NCJW/Essex Impact Finance Debra Goldsmith (left) and Debra Caplan (right) oversee the program to provide small loans to women looking to improve their economic and personal stability.

Volunteering provides an opportunity to change people’s lives, and develop important social skills and valuable work experience in the process. Becoming involved and helping people achieve their dreams comes with an unmatched sense of satisfaction. The Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women treasures its many dedicated volunteers who have devoted their time and energy to the diversified opportunities offered at the Center for Women. In honor of its 35th Anniversary, the Center for Women recognizes several of these volunteers who have dedicated countless hours to programs that have helped women find a safe and nurturing place to go as a resource for self-improvement and self-empowerment.

Speaking with Judy Allen of Morristown and Robin Naphtali of Livingston, volunteer co-chairs of the RISE (Reaching Into Self-Empowerment) program, you get a sense of their pride and excitement. The six-week program was designed to help women learn that there is a difference between dreams and goals. RISE looks at thoughts, feelings and past experiences that inhibit women from achieving success, and teaches new skills to empower them to achieve their personal goals as well as those for their families and their careers. “As a facilitator of RISE workshops, I help guide women as they learn how to set and reach their goals and overcome their fears,” says Naphtali. “It is so rewarding to observe the attendees sharing and supporting each other, despite their different backgrounds and experiences.” Allen adds, “In this world of ‘it’s all about me,’ it’s a pleasure to be with women who are truly concerned about other women and their families in all aspects of their lives.”

Debra Goldsmith of Livingston and Debra Caplan of Short Hills are two other volunteer co-chairs making a difference in a unique program offered by NCJW/Essex, Impact Finance. Impact Finance was launched to inspire income-generating ideas to help women get on their feet and take the next steps to success. The program advances small loans to women looking to improve their economic and personal stability and is by agency referral only. Loans of up to $1,000 are awarded to women who are on a path to income growth through employment, entrepreneurial ventures or professional certification programs. Goldsmith and Caplan provide a continuing one-on-one relationship to help women set up a payment schedule and utilize funds in the most effective manner. “What might seem like a small amount of money to some is truly life changing to others,” explains Caplan. “I love knowing that the loans we give help women get through a rough spot in their lives.”

Goldsmith agrees saying, “Our loans have helped women in a variety of circumstances who have overcome tremendous hardships, and have not had the emotional and financial support that many of us take for granted.” Having recently retired, Goldsmith has more time to involve herself in different projects. After researching her options, she was drawn to the Center for Women because of its educational and advocacy programs.

Having built an amazing network of passionate and talented volunteers over 35 years, the Center for Women is still going strong with its ability to empower women and change lives. “What could be better than finding warm, inspiring, and selfless women doing great things to help improve the lives of others?” asks Caplan. “There is an opportunity for everyone to contribute and feel enriched by the experience.” If you are interested in volunteer opportunities at the Linda & Rudy Slucker NCJW/Essex Center for Women please call Dina Stambler at 973-994-4994 or visit

The Center for Women has helped thousands of women with computer skills, job searches and personal guidance. Our team of both staff and volunteers helps guide women to the programs they will benefit from the most. All services are confidential. For more information visit, call (973) 994-4994 or email Programs are nonsectarian and open to all women, regardless of religion.

About National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.  With more than 3,200 members, Essex County Section is the largest of the more than 100 NCJW Sections around the country. The Section was founded in 1912 and maintains offices in Livingston, N.J. For more information, log on to

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