Bernice Schweber, Child & Family 2013 Volunteer of the Year award recipient


Helping others is second nature to retiree

On Wednesday, October 2, Bernice Schweber received a Volunteer of the Year Award during Child & Family’s 147th Annual Meeting. Lansdale Patterson, the Director of Volunteer and Internship Program at the center, presented the award to Schweber. Patterson, who is appreciative of Schweber’s dedication says, “Everybody loves Bernice. She’s wonderful.”

Schweber enjoys meeting new people and lending a hand. When Saul Schweber retired from his furniture business after 30 years, Bernice Schweber, who used to work alongside her husband, felt that she was not quite ready to kick back and relax. A giving person, she decided to look for a position where she could help others. When a friend recommended Child & Family, a service provider in Newport, Schweber found her calling. After all, even the website for the center describes it as “a place where people come together to give help, to receive help and to support the work of others.” And help is exactly what Schweber does when she covers the front desk for several hours a week.

As first point of contact for visitors, clients and donors, Schweber answers all types of questions, putting everyone at ease. A tactful person, she always respects the sensitive nature of clients’ visits to the center and makes sure to approach them carefully. For more than a dozen years, Schweber has been serving the center. While the staff and some policies have changed, one aspect remains the same – if you find yourself visiting the facility on John Clark Road on a day Schweber is volunteering, you will be greeted warmly and pleasantly by a dedicated woman who takes pleasure in helping others.

Lansdale Patterson describes Schweber as “unflappable, handling a number of ‘front-desk situations’ over the years with aplomb. Just dealing with our current phone system alone is an award-winning feat.” Patterson continues praising Schweber, “Bernice is a true gem, embodying all the best of what we strive for Child & Family itself to be – helpful, caring, knowledgeable and kind.”

Schweber’s commitment to the community is not limited to her volunteer work at the Child & Family center. She also serves on the board of Touro Synagogue and works at the soup kitchen, feeding Newport’s homeless. Schweber’s kindness does not go unanswered. She says, “And it works both ways; it’s good for me too!”