Courtney Landy was a relative newcomer to the Kansas City area in 2017 when she first learned about Jewish Family Services (JFS) at its annual trivia Bash.
“I am an avid trivia player so, it was a great opportunity to learn about the great work JFS does and meet other young professionals in the area,” Landy said. “While I sadly did not prove triumphant that night, I did meet some amazing community members and connected with JFS staff about volunteering.”
Since that time, Landy has become a regular volunteer and passionate ambassador for JFS. That’s why JFS salutes Landy as our July Volunteer of the Month for all her efforts on the agency’s behalf.
A native of Potomoc, Maryland, Landy came to Kansas City to work for Cerner after receiving her MBA/Masters of Health Administration from the University of Michigan. She started to volunteer in the JFS Food Pantry around Passover 2018.
“I decided to volunteer on a regular cadence – and have since volunteered at the Brookside pantry twice a month,” she said.
Landy continued her efforts even when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Volunteering through the pandemic gave me a new appreciation for JFS,” Landy said. “The organization grew and evolved to meet the communities needs and provide so many much-needed services for families throughout the greater Kansas City area. It was truly inspiring to see how many volunteers came out to help with new roles that were created to meet the increased demand for JFS services,” she said.
After volunteering regularly, Landy was ready to take on more responsibilities with JFS, and she joined as a JFS board member in October 2020.
“I felt very close to JFS’s mission having volunteered regularly at JFS for over 2 years at that point,” Landy said. “When a good friend referred me to the board, I was excited to give back to the community in a new way and bring forward my experience working closely with JFS staff and clients. I feel I can really make a difference both directly with clients and helping JFS leadership develop new strategies to meet the needs of the community.”
Her passion for JFS has rubbed off, too. During the past year, Landy’s fiancé Scott Ogilive has joined her in volunteering at JFS. You often find them helping together in the food pantry.
Landy said volunteering for JFS is rewarding.
“I love interacting directly with clients,” she said. “After a while you start to develop relationships and understand people’s needs and can better serve them. I love making people’s day when we can provide something clients particularly need or brings them joy, ranging from much-needed laundry detergent, to a certain brand of mashed potatoes, to pet treats and sweaters,” Landy said.
JFS isn’t the only beneficiary of Landy’s passion for volunteering. She has participated in two local Jewish leadership programs – Avodah Fellowship and Statland Leadership Institute.
“These really prepared me for non-profit leadership,” Landy said.
She is also involved as a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City, mentoring a high school student.
Landy said her work in the health care management field has a nice connection to her volunteer efforts with JFS.
“In my studies and work I have learned at least 80 percent of a person’s health exists outside of clinical health care,” Landy said. “JFS helps nourish people through nutrition, mental health services, and spiritual services, as well as support for other factors contributing to overall health and well-being.”
Landy encourages anyone who is looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity to consider spending time with JFS.
“There are so many different ways to contribute to the organization and to take advantage of diverse passions and skillsets, anyone can find a place at JFS,” Landy said.