Volunteer Spotlight: The Chocolate Lady

Seniors at Blackhawk Museum with Jo Kadis, center, in purple
Seniors at Blackhawk Museum with Jo Kadis, center, in purple

What makes you happy? For Jo Kadis, it’s bringing joy to others with food. “I never wanted to retire from catering,” says Jo, a vibrant 82. She found her post-career calling by serving food at the popular Community Tuesdays lunch and concert series and being an escort for day trips.

Jo first became involved at the Oshman Family JCC when it was still located at an elementary school east of Middlefield. At that time, her mother would come in and work with her from time to time. “My mom would come in and clean the chickens and we would come back the next day and make the rest of the Shabbat meal,” she notes.

“I enjoyed doing it and making the food extremely tasty.  Most people were on a low salt diet and they couldn’t understand how I got it tasty without salt.”

Jo eventually became the group escort on day trips to destinations such as the SFMOMA and more. “I’m answering questions. I’m up and down talking to people. I pass out water and chips. My younger daughter says it’s perfect for me because I get to tell people what to do,” she jokes.

“I bring chocolate with me on every trip I escort. Because a great day should have chocolate in it! I know what the participants like and what they don’t like. There are some who like milk chocolate, some dark chocolate and one person who likes Lindor truffles. Nobody else likes those, but I have an assortment. People ask me for chocolate even when I am not the escort.”Tower of Chioc pieces for sculp class

OFJCC Adult Program Manager Michelle Rosengaus says, “Jo has been escorting the travel and day trips for seven years and she is wonderful. She has spoiled the people on the trip because they always expect her chocolate. She does it on her own because she loves doing it.”

As they say, do what makes you happy. Addendum: especially if it involves chocolate.

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Andrea Longini

Written by Andrea Longini

Andrea Longini calls herself the Communications Manager at the OFJCC. She also calls her family long distance in Pittsburgh and her in-laws even longer distance in Belgium. She believes part of living fully is staying in touch with people you care about. An example of how this can be done is by sending them links to meaningful blog posts. Now that's what she calls communicating!

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