Joel Kurtzberg: 19 years of dedication

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week, and every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer being honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition event on May 5th. Learn more and register for Pillars of Change.

In 1997, Joel Kurtzberg was a first year associate at Cahill Gordon. Despite his demanding law firm schedule, he wanted the opportunity to give back – and was particularly interested in getting involved with a domestic violence organization.

That’s when Joel was introduced to Sanctuary for Families. “I was drawn to Sanctuary’s holistic approach of working with victims to achieve independence and rebuild their lives,” he remembers.

Joel began volunteering as a pro bono attorney with Sanctuary’s Legal Center, tackling numerous legal matters on behalf of our clients.

19 years later, he not only remains a committed volunteer and supporter, his involvement has even grown. Since 2014, Joel has tutored five survivors of gender violence participating in Sanctuary’s Economic Empowerment Program.

Joel says the most rewarding aspect of his involvement with Sanctuary is seeing the impact it makes on clients’ lives. “I love when a client passes a test that we’ve prepared for together,” he says, “but more importantly, it’s meaningful to see the clients believe in themselves and their capabilities.”

Joel’s favorite memory as a volunteer took place while tutoring a client who was convinced she was bad at math and lacked confidence in her abilities, despite her ability to understand complex mathematical concepts.

He vividly remembers: “The first time I told her how smart she was, she looked at me like I was crazy, but she also kind of smiled at the thought of it. Over time, as we worked together, I saw that smile more and more.”

Through his volunteer experiences over the years, Joel has come to learn that change is possible, and that taking the time to work with people can make a tremendous difference in their lives.

We are so grateful to Joel for his incredible service, and look forward to honoring him at Pillars of Change on May 5, 2016.

You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now. We hope to see you there!