December 12, 2018

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!