From Struggling Single Mother to Hero to Those in Need

The best decision I ever made was also the most dangerous. Fourteen years ago, I found the courage to take my three young boys, leave my ex-husband and start a new life. But my new freedom came at a cost—I couldn’t afford preschool for the boys or even fresh produce.


That’s when the women at JDC in Chisinau, Moldova took me in. They listened to my story. Told me everything would be okay. And worked to make it so, giving my sons and me the live-saving assistance we needed. Once I got back on my feet, I dedicated myself to returning the favor, volunteering in the Jewish community to help struggling families like mine every opportunity I could find.


Now I’m the director of JDC’s Jewish Family Service in Moldova, where I get to help hundreds of children in need each year.


What makes JDC—a vital Federation partner—different is that we don’t simply organize programs for clients or hand out boxes of food or bags of clothes. It's so much more than that. We’ve lived these families’ lives. In fact, many of the women I work with have a similar story, and we use our sisterhood to try to set an example for the families we help.


We tell our clients they, too, can change their lives if they really want to.


We social workers don’t live so much better than the families we help. What keeps me going is my gratitude. The Jewish community has helped so many people like me, and now I’ve been given the greatest gift of all—the chance to help others through JDC.


So when people ask me what I do, I tell them the truth—I save lives.