Jamie Weitzman has turned her call to serve into a family affair by volunteering alongside her eldest daughters Sarah, 18, and Julia, 16. Since moving to Carpinteria with her husband, Joshua, 15 years ago, Weitzman has balanced being a wife, mother of four and a homeschool teacher with giving back to the community.
Volunteering has helped Weitzman and her daughters connect in new ways. She and Julia spend Sunday evenings delivering meals to Carpinteria’s senior residents through the Carpinteria Children’s Project. “Seeing the faces of the folks we serve has been priceless,” said Weitzman. “Julia and I are often greeted by big smiles and grateful hearts. It’s so beautiful that such a small act can bring so much joy.”
Before the pandemic, Weitzman and her two teens were also regular volunteers at the Alcazar Theatre. For three years, the trio manned the concession counter and assisted with set-up and clean-up, Weitzman occasionally helping as house manager and box office attendant. Serving together had a profound impact on her daughters by giving them valuable volunteering experience. “Having my mom and sister there with me helped me feel more comfortable talking to customers I didn’t know,” Julia said. “I would love to go back once things get back to normal.”
Weitzman also volunteered with the Lunch Bunch offered by Carpinteria Homeless Outreach before Covid-19, distributing meals, clothing and support resources to Carpinteria’s homeless community. More recently, Weitzman has dedicated her time to homeschooling her two younger children, Hannah, 13, and Jedidiah, 9. While some days may be difficult, she finds a silver lining in being able to spend time with her family, journeying to the beach or hiking new trails.
What made you start volunteering?
I’ve always felt this call to serve, and I think it’s a natural thing for me. I really just enjoy the idea of serving others and giving to others. I think it’s important to give what you can give. Some people can give their time, some people can give their money. I like to do what I can to feel like I’m giving back to where there’s need.
What appealed to you about volunteering at the Alcazar Theatre?
I wanted to do something where I could engage more with the community and meet new people. I’m an introvert. It’s kind of funny, but the counter gives me kind of a safe zone where I have a job there volunteering, and it kind of forces me out of my comfort zone to meet new people. And I also wanted to find something to do with my older daughters, and it was a way for us to go connect and have something to do together, something that was fun. They were also gaining community service hours, so it was a good idea for us to spend time together.
What can you tell us about volunteering with your daughters? It gives us a way to connect at their level. Because of the age difference of our kids, it’s really like we have two sets of children: two older and two younger. And sometimes it can be hard to find things to do together, so I wanted a way to connect with them that was multifaceted where we could enjoy serving but also get to know each other a little bit. At the Alcazar Theatre while volunteering, we would talk while the show was going on and it gave us an opportunity to have great conversations about the play or movie, or the customers. It opened doors for a fun way to connect with where they are in life. Teenagers, they pull away, it’s a natural cycle. So, finding ways to connect, I think, is very important.
After the pandemic ends, what are some things you’re looking forward to with your volunteering?
Seeing people! Really, the smiling faces, it’ll be really nice to be in a place where people are relaxed again, and just finding joy in being out and just serving people again—and the short conversations I have with them.
I look forward to being at the Alcazar Theatre again, and I also look forward to spending more time with the Lunch Bunch for Carpinteria Homeless Outreach. I make lunch once a month for the program, but I haven’t been able to stay and help serve because of the pandemic. I have some vulnerable people in my family and I am trying to be cautious.
Do you have any advice for anyone who is thinking about volunteering?
Think about what’s instinctual and you’re passionate about and find something in your community that supports that cause. There are so many fantastic causes and so many ways you can give back. We’re all built differently, made differently and have different passions, so I think if you find your passion, you can devote yourself fully into some kind of service. Even if it’s exhausting, at the end of the day, does it fill your cup? Are you pulled back to serve again?
You Can Help
Learn more about volunteering at these organizations:
Carpinteria Children’s Project: carpchildren.org, (805) 203-664.