Sandra Zieve wasn’t always active in the community. She felt something was missing in her life when a close friend helped her realize the importance of giving back. She started volunteering periodically through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, but really started to see the impact once she set up funds at Montefiore in Beachwood for a specific unit, Mandel 3 and the state tested nursing assistants.

“One of the things I try to live by, is try to make things better in life,” she said. “As I have gone through life, I have always tried to see if there is something that I see is a need, I try to do something about it.”

As a teacher at Richmond Heights Elementary School, Zieve didn’t have a lot of time to give, but saw the need for volunteers at Montefiore when visiting her aunt. After she retired, she had more time to give to others and saw firsthand how important volunteering is.

“The littlest things can really make a difference in somebody’s life,” she said. “That’s a smile or holding someone’s hands and I found that at Montefiore because some of the residents, they didn’t have anybody come see them for weeks and months. Being kind to them, talking with them, smiling at them, really made a difference in their lives.”

Since beginning her volunteering at the nursing home, Zieve delved deeper into the community with Jewish National Fund, where she matched her ‘adopted brother,’ Barry Feldman, president of Kottler Metal Products, Inc., in Willoughby, to buy a firetruck for Israel.

“I’ve never done this with him, but I saw the need there for another firetruck and felt that I was compelled to say, ‘I’m with you and let’s do this together to help Israel,’” she said.

Her volunteering doesn’t stop at Montefiore. She’s putting her sweat and blood into her work, literally. After discovering her blood is rich in platelets, she donates blood regularly to the American Red Cross for people with leukemia, from which her brother died.

As a child, neither she nor her brother, Richard, could attend camp due to the cost. To ensure as many children as possible have the opportunity to attend Camp Wise, she established a scholarship there, the Richard and Sandra Zieve Camp Wise Scholarship Fund.  

Continuing her volunteerism is key in Zieve’s life, she said, as it can help inspire others to volunteer. She said that is necessary because she doesn’t believe enough people are aware of the number of volunteers in the community.

“I think today especially, people do not seem to have a lot of hope in their life,” she said. “When you look at the television, all you see is the bad stuff going on. And there’s so many good things going on but nobody really promotes that. 

“I think that is important for us to promote it within our own work. We can’t rely on television anymore, so it’s these individual acts of kindness and being helpful to improve the situation that I think is so important.”

– Alyssa Schmitt


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