Today, we celebrate and thank Ellie Routtenberg, a volunteer in our Psychological Services Program and the Intensive Day Program, for the creative way she chose to celebrate her special birthday.
“I had a big birthday coming up, and I was trying to figure out how to get my mind off this big number,” Ellie shared. “After seeing a friend do a Facebook fundraiser for another organization, I realized that I could raise money for The ARK. I reached out to friends and told them how much I love volunteering here and how special the organization is to me, as well as to clients and staff members, and then I asked them to donate in honor of my special birthday. Some people gave via my Facebook fundraiser, and others simply made a donation online. I’m so thrilled by the results!”
How did you get involved with The ARK?
“I spent my career as a psychotherapist in private practice, doing inpatient social work on a psychiatric floor, and working as a hospice social worker. When I retired, I felt a lack of purpose and wanted to go back to contributing to people’s lives, and I was looking to volunteer in a Jewish space. I had heard about The ARK and knew members of my synagogue also volunteered. Since I am a licensed social worker, I looked into volunteering in a clinical capacity.”
Can you describe your volunteer responsibilities?
“I started doing psychotherapy for clients, but I wanted to do more. Last fall, I worked with Na’ama, who runs the Intensive Day Program (IDP), to develop a creative writing group for IDP clients. We’re now doing creative writing and creating a newsletter within IDP. I like the combination of creative writing and the group process. It’s not just therapy and it’s not just creative writing; it’s the interaction between them.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of The ARK.
“I have lots of hobbies. I write, paint, make films, walk, play bridge, take classes, enjoy my dog, etc. But these are all about me and my life. Unless you’re reaching outward in some way, I think your life isn’t really full. I love the smallness of The ARK, the sense of community. You can just say hi to anybody in the hall here. Volunteering at The ARK and raising money for my birthday are two ways I have made my life more full.”
As of today, Ellie’s birthday fundraiser has raised over $1700 for The ARK, both through Facebook and online donations. These donations help provide food, medical, and dental care, as well as critical medications for the most vulnerable members of our community. Thank you to Ellie’s many friends and family for marking her birthday in this special way. For more information about how to set up your own birthday fundraiser for The ARK, please contact Caroline Musin Berkowitz, Director of Marketing.
For more information about volunteering, please contact Sophia Zisook, Director of Volunteers and Outreach.