Read about our featured volunteers and how they are helping communities in NJ

The following are Jersey Cares Volunteer Stars...they all exceeded our expectations and inspired others through their leadership.


February 2019

Joann Douds

Say Hello to Joanne Douds!

Joanne has been a member of the Jersey Cares family since 2016 and an active Jersey Cares Project Coordinator and Leadership Specialist since 2017. From her work as a mentor in the Service Works program to her current role as a regular Project Coordinator, Joanne has never been one to shy away from taking the lead! When asked how she first discovered Jersey Cares, she reminisced that:

“Actually, Jersey Cares found me! Because of the mentoring I did with college students at the time, Jersey Cares enlisted me to join the Service Works program as a mentor for a cohort of Rutgers students.”

Joanne’s service doesn’t stop there! Following the programs completion, she began working with a variety of other Jersey Cares programs including Care of the Park at Branch Brook Park. When she’s not long-distance cycling or traversing the globe as an internationally licensed realtor, Joanne can be found at her favorite project, Caring Closet in Madison. When asked what she loved most about this opportunity, Joanne noted:

“Things at Dress for Success move very fast. Volunteers have to get organized quickly and it requires a lot of communication. That allows us to build a sense of community and comradery. As I always say to the volunteers, ‘We’re gonna work hard today but we’re gonna have fun. If you aren’t having fun, you’re not in the right place.”

As a Project Coordinator, Joanne has found that “It is more effective to submerge yourself in one project rather than jumping around. You see the operations from a different angle.”

Inspired by Joanne’s dedication to service? Why not consider taking the lead and becoming a Jersey Cares Project Coordinator today! To learn more, click here.


January 2019

Mariya Ermakova

Say Hello to Mariya Ermakova!

Mariya has been a volunteer with Jersey Cares since January 2018 and has been actively engaging the community ever since! With over 150 hours already under her belt and more opportunities scheduled, Mariya has worked tirelessly across the city of Newark to enact positive change.

Her dedication to service quickly became a call to leadership and in April, she became a Jersey Cares Project Coordinator (PC). When asked why she chose to become a Project Coordinator, Mariya noted that she had a strong desire to develop her skills as a leader. Since then, she has regularly led a variety of project with us. She noted that her favorite projects were “Farm to Table at Vineyard Baptist Church, Marketplace in Newark, and Community Clean Sweep in Newark. I really enjoy working on projects that involve helping people and environment.

Outside of her volunteer service, Mariya works as a bartender with interests in cooking and drawing. She hopes to pursue a second degree in video production. When asked what advice she has for first-time volunteers, Mariya noted,

“It is very important to find the project that inspires you. Don’t give up.”

We are so thankful for Mariya’s service! You too can take the lead as a Jersey Cares Project Coordinator. Be The Change and click here to get started on your own PC journey!



Volunteer Stars of 2018

Volunteer Stars of 2017

Volunteer Stars of 2016