Meet Cathy: PEI Volunteer

Tags: Federation, Education, Advocacy, Family, Women

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Meet Cathy. A business-owner, dedicated volunteer, and proud Jewish Clevelander. She is a busy person, who always finds time to help others. When she started working as a literacy tutor when her own children were learning to read, she found a passion. And now, Cathy volunteers with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Public Education Initiative (PEI).

As a volunteer for the Federation's Public Education Initiative (PEI), Cathy has found a passion for helping students learn to read.

“Working with PEI has been wonderful and the most enjoyable experience,” said Cathy. “When I see my students’ eyes light up, I feel I’ve made a difference. I feel I have connected to my Cleveland community through the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam (repairing the world).”

PEI is the Federation’s flagship volunteering program and the largest literacy tutoring program in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), helping 200+ K-12 students learn to read each year. Cathy is one among over 100 volunteers who work in eight public schools around the district. Tutors do more than just teaching children how to read. They become mentors to students during the course of the school year.

In fact, PEI tutors were the ones to recognize that many of their students faced food insecurity during winter break. And the Federation has helped fill the gap. Partnering with the Cleveland Food Bank, the Federation launched the Winter Break Lunch Program that provides an estimated 1,000 hot lunches to Cleveland students during winter break– another opportunity for volunteers to participate and enrich the lives of students in Cleveland.

“I volunteer because the needs are so great,” said Cathy. “When I tutor and help a student read, I feel I feel I've done something meaningful in someone’s life at a formative time.”

PEI has inspired Cathy to do more. She and five other Cleveland women have started a nonprofit that brings women together to fundraise and help the local community.

Thank you, Cathy, for all you do.

Interested in getting involved? To learn more about the Public Education Initiative, contact Jessica Semel at jsemel@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2874. To learn about other volunteering opportunities, visit us online, or contact Susan Hyman at shyman@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2887.

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