When Julie Weitzman joined Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice more than 20 years ago, she never thought the organization would come to mean so much to her family.
“My family originally started volunteering with Samaritan to support me,” said Julie, who serves as lead development coordinator for Samaritan. “My husband Ian wanted to be able to spend time with me, and my kids, Eli and Jake, have been involved since they were very little, doing whatever they could to help out.”
Now, Eli, 17, and Jake, 14, are involved in Samaritan’s SamariTeens program and love to help at their mom’s events.
Left: Jake, Ian, Julie, Eli
“Volunteering with Samaritan is something I’ve done for most of my life,” said Eli. “It’s awesome to help contribute to a cause that truly matters. It is something that I hope I can continue doing even after I go to college.”
Jake adds, “I love meeting new volunteers who care about a cause so dear to my family. The other volunteers are always nice and happy to be helping an amazing organization.”
This year’s gala was a very special experience for the family because it was the first time, they all volunteered together for an entire event.
(left) In 2009, Eli, Julie, Philly Phanatic, and Ian
“It was a very rewarding experience to work an event from start to finish with my family by my side,” said Julie. “Volunteering has become a tradition for our family, and everyone marks their calendars for the gala and golf tournament each year because of the fun we have together.”
Volunteering with Samaritan has become especially important to Julie and her family since Ian’s father was placed in hospice care. “Because of their volunteer experience with Samaritan, my boys were able to understand that their grandfather was getting the care he needed. They now have a better appreciation for what Samaritan does after seeing their grandfather’s experience.”
Ian and Jake were recently honored for their volunteer service – Ian receiving recognition for 20 years of volunteering and Jake for volunteering 75 hours.
“We didn’t set out to volunteer as a family; it was just something natural that happened. Samaritan has become a part of our lives and a member of our family,” said Julie.