Choosing a Path
By Joan Praver—Board Member/Volunteer
I try turning my motives into actions. If a friend had advised me to consider becoming a teacher or social worker when I questioned what I planned to take in college, I would have laughed. After trying to evaluate my tendencies or supposed talents, the only answer that moved me was my interest in fashion, my obsession with style and design. I selected the field of economics, hoping to go into merchandising, expecting to become a buyer for a department store. My hope was also to find the man of my dreams. The year was the end of 1945; the war had ended and servicemen were either returning to college or seeking an education through the GI Bill. I found the man of my dreams but never became a merchandiser.
I didn’t find out who I truly was until I hired a babysitter and began volunteering in charitable organizations. I learned how to take on various responsibilities like decorating the meeting room, writing the invitations to events, and was so imbued with the Jewish cause that I began making speeches to raise money, sticking with that until Annette Shapiro asked me to join the Board of Beit T’Shuvah. I then questioned myself as to what I could offer to do that would contribute to the residents seeking help with addictive behavior. I volunteered to conduct a creative writing group. That was almost 15 years ago.
Right from the beginning I knew I’d found my true career. I am both teacher and social worker…thank you God!