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  • Rabbi Michael Joseph

Temple Shir Shalom at Pineridge Afterschool Center

Temple volunteers at Pineridge Center

What is Pineridge? Pineridge is a neighborhood in NW Gainesville struggling with issues of intergenerational poverty, unemployment, and crime. For several years, Temple’s Social Action Committee has partnered with the Pineridge Afterschool Center, which serves a number of elementary age students on Monday-Thursday afternoons. Most Mondays you can find a Shir Shalom volunteer at Pineridge helping with homework and activities.

What are we doing to help? In November 2015, Temple Shir Shalom hosted a dinner bringing together volunteers from a variety of groups assisting the Pineridge Center. We spent a thought-provoking evening with representatives from the Gainesville Police Department, the Black on Black Crime Task Force, Buchholz High School, Talbot Elementary, several local congregations, and more. We talked about the “small” (how to keep the kids’ homework organized) and the “big” (helping kids overcome trauma) and came away with a renewed sense of shared vision and purpose.

What does the Pineridge Center need? Most importantly, the center needs willing hands! Volunteers are always needed, for an hour or an afternoon, on a one-time or ongoing basis. Volunteers can read with the kids, help with homework, play games, or help with a cooking/art/music project. If you are interested, please email Nancy Parks at

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