NACC staff takes ‘work’ out of volunteering
Name: Judith A. Shemkovitz
Work: spiritual care/bereavement coordinator, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio – Hospice
Member since: 1984
Volunteer service: Since 1986 I have served as a certification interviewer, regional certification chair, an Interview Team Educator (ITE), on the Certification Commission (currently the chair) and co-chair of one of our annual conferences.
Book on your nightstand: Right now it’s “Rich in Years,” by Johann Christoph Arnold. I’m finding it relevant to my ministry in hospice.
Books you recommend most often: This is a three-way tie – “The Prophet,” by Khalil Gibran, “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and “The Velveteen Rabbit,” by Margery Williams.
Favorite spiritual resource: Monthly reflections from Joan Chittister, OSB. I often use them as a centering tool at interdisciplinary team meetings.
Favorite fun self-care activity: I love working in my yard and also figuring out major league baseball strategies.
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption
Favorite retreat spot: Mercy Center in Madison, CT. There’s nothing like being by the water to soothe my soul.
Personal mentor or role model: Ann O’Shea. Ann was my CPE Supervisor and became my counselor, confidante, teacher, and longtime friend. She helped me to embrace the joys and challenges of ministry.
Famous/historic mentor or role model: My role model is not someone famous or historic, but rather my friend Ethel, who offers countless time in volunteer service and, in her 50s, became guardian for two granddaughters. And then selflessly took in to her home her dearest friend who experienced a stroke.
Why did you become a chaplain? On a number of occasions, taking people to the Emergency Department at a local hospital I witnessed people receiving devastating news and then being left alone to process and cope with the situation. I just knew I had to find some way to offer support and compassion in those times. Becoming a chaplain offered me a way to do so.
What do you get from the NACC? I have found this organization to be a place where I can grow professionally and personally. If I am effective in my ministry and I believe I am, the NACC is partially responsible for that.
Why do you stay in the NACC? It’s like being with family. This organization supports, educates and is dedicated to its membership and loves us all.
Why do you volunteer? I first volunteered as a means to connect with other chaplains in my area, and that was quite successful. Once I established a relationship within the NACC, I found a welcoming “family.” Now I feel I would be missing something important in my life if I did not have this relationship.
What volunteer activity has been most rewarding? I must say that all of the opportunities have been and continue to be rich treasures. But, since most of these activities have been associated with certification, I have had the great pleasure of working with the staff at our national office. All of them are incredibly dedicated to our organization. They take the “work” out of volunteering with NACC and make it a joy. I feel blessed to work with such wonderful people and even more blessed to consider them to be friends.
What have you learned from volunteering? I always receive much more than I give!