Founder and President,
Volunteer Ventures MA Inc.
For those who know Barry, the founding of Volunteer Ventures MA seems an entirely natural and fitting evolution of his work. As an optimistic people-person whose work and volunteer choices reflect a commitment to engaging and uplifting people, the founding of Volunteer Ventures MA opens an exciting and inspiring new chapter in Barry’s dedication to education, justice, volunteerism and service to the community.
Barry’s volunteer experience began at college as a Big Brother and in a school with young students with special needs. Throughout the years he has, amidst other volunteer gigs, coached youth sports, served on a local school council and is a Past President of Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester, MA, where he remains a board member. A skilled carpenter and woodworker, he has used those skills as a volunteer with organizations that help repair or rebuild peoples’ homes, including; The Ecumenical Social Action Committee’s Senior Team Home Repair in Jamaica Plain, MA; Habitat for Humanity and the St. Bernard Project (SBP) in Louisiana. As a former shop teacher, Barry loves nothing more than to create opportunities for young people to learn how to use tools, to develop carpentry and woodworking skills, and to develop a passion for tinkering and making things with their hands. And to date, he has organized and led 15 travel service trips with teens and adults to 3 US locations to help repair and rebuild homes damaged in natural disasters.
Barry’s commitment to education of youth runs long and deep, beginning with his earning a Teaching Certificate for Secondary Social Studies from Bowdoin College. He then spent many years working in alternative education settings with youth involved in the criminal justice and social services systems in Massachusetts. Barry earned a Masters Degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1992 and continued for several years working with youth with special needs in an alternative high school for marginalized teens. More recently, Barry served as Director of TELEM, a teen service-learning program of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Boston, which combined hands-on community service with social justice learning and a character-development focus. Barry continues his involvement with youth service and development as a board member of Teen JUST US Boston, a summer internship program for Boston-area Jewish teens. His activism and involvement in the community are rooted in the words of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said: “A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of faith”.
The motivation to build Volunteer Ventures MA is grounded in Barry’s deep optimism and by his personal witness to the power of volunteers who give so much of their time and energy to create a more humane and just society. He welcomes you to be a partner with Volunteer Ventures MA in building a stronger community and better world through volunteerism and service.