At the Kadima Annual Meeting in 2016, Alex was honored as one of our Volunteers of the Year for his volunteer work with “Sports Talk,” his participation in the new Kadima Connections program and his involvement as a new Kadima Ambassador.
By Alex Scharg
I have always been passionate about giving back.
As a kid, my mother took me to the Jewish Home for the Aged, where I played the piano weekly for residents. I was also paired with an elderly woman, who openly spoke with me about life, family, and more.
And as a student at Michigan State, I was active with the Hillel house, where I was able to give back to other students and the community. I wanted to continue volunteerism when I moved back to Detroit.
While out for dinner with a friend one evening, I met a lady who gave me her Kadima business card and we discussed how the organization supports the community. I thought about my friends who cope with mental illness and friends I’ve lost to suicide, and I knew this was exactly what I was looking for to make a difference.
I was not sure initially how exactly to help when I approached Kadima to volunteer. But through my experience covering sports professionally for the past five years, Kadima suggested a weekly “Sports Talk” with clients.
Now, every other week, a group of Kadima clients and I get together to talk sports for at least an hour. There’s a core group of about five or six of us, but sometimes our group increases up to a dozen or so. Aside from talking about current events, we’ll watch a sports movie, look into a player’s bio, play sports jeopardy, or watch entertaining sports videos to facilitate discussion.
The group benefits us both — I get to take a step back and have fun in a sports discussion and the group members can share their opinions and express themselves among others.
On the weeks I’m not with the Sports Talk group, I get to pair up with my Kadima Connections partner. We chat about our Fantasy Football league, go bowling or have lunch together. Our outings give him an outlet to talk about things important to him and for me to hang out with a new friend.
That’s the thing about Kadima — every time you go there, you meet the most genuine people who value mutual respect. I can see the difference I’m making in their lives and they change me in the best ways, too.
Kadima has so much potential to grow in the community, and it’s great to be a part of that growth.