Lewis and Louise Sternberg moved to Beachwood upon marriage, but they knew they wanted to become involved with the community in any way they could.
While the couple does various activities together, like delivering for the Jewish Family Service Association’s home delivered meals program and serving on the board at Council Gardens, each has his or her adventures.
Lewis has a history of visiting area schools to teach youth about electrical engineering. He also volunteers for organizations such as the Illuminating Engineering Society and the Association of Energy Engineers. Louise is involved with the National Council for Jewish Women and tutors Russian immigrants in English.
CJN: Why did you decide to volunteer in retirement?
Louise: We like to do things together for other people. Lew has always had kids he was giving advice to and things like that. And when these opportunities came up, especially home delivered meals, it appealed to us. We’re on the boards and in the community.
Lewis: It makes us feel good. At the end of every session (of delivering meals), we look at each other and say the same thing. These people are so appreciative. We get to know these people and are always included.
CJN: How did you choose your activities?
Louise: The meal delivery happened because we were asked to be on their board and they needed the help (in other areas).
Lewis: They called us and asked us, and we didn’t give a second thought to do it. It wasn’t even a thought, really.
Louise: As Lew said, we’re always invited to do everything (Council Gardens) does. We don’t go to everything, but it’s very flattering to feel that way. The friendliness is unparalleled. It’s a great mixed group.
Lewis: And I’ve always worked with young people over the years, but when I retired from my formal job of 25 years, I started teaching classes and taught for groups across the country. And then I started with local colleges here. I love working with young people and I love teaching young people my craft.
Louise: And I like to tag along.
CJN: What role does volunteering play in the community?
Louise: You have to be a certain kind of person, I guess. I have a lot of friends who wouldn’t even think of this. But as far as Lew and I are concerned, we like to be able to give back. We’re not native Clevelanders, so it’s a good feeling to do something for a community that needs someone to get it done.
Lewis: I like to teach younger people because that is who is going to run our society. So, it’s important to volunteer because you’re doing something for other people but also for yourself. We get up in the morning and we’re stiff, but when we’re on our way, we feel really great. These groups are always on the lookout for volunteers, and it’s tough. But we do it because we want to.
CJN: What is your favorite part about volunteering in the community?
Louise: I make friends with anybody that has a dog. We don’t have a dog anymore, but the dogs know us. I really look forward to seeing them. They bark when they hear us at the door and I give them a little pet and kiss. I love it.
Lewis: And a couple of the men we deliver (meals) to served in the military and they like to talk about it. So, I talk about my time in the U.S. Air Force. Sometimes, we’re there too long and then we’re running late from talking to people.
As for the future of the couple’s retirement, the pair plan on revisiting their activities in a couple of years into their mutual retirement.
“When we started this, in our mind, we wanted to do this for five years and then at the end of the fifth year, we’d take an evaluation on whether we’d like to do it any longer,” Lewis explained. “We’re both getting older, and in this weather, it’s not a bad time. But, in the winter, it’s bad and gets harder. But, if we didn’t have this to look forward to, our days would be so boring. It’s something we enjoy and love doing.”