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Meet LexRAP Volunteer Jilana Abrams

LexRAP volunteer Jilana Abrams, who has been working with LexRAP for six years, relocated to Lexington from Martha’s Vineyard 13 years ago. On the island, she raised her four children and ran a successful bed & breakfast. She retired when family brought her back to the mainland. She and her husband Alan, a doctor, have been blessed with six grandchildren. In addition to volunteering, Jilana enjoys cooking, tennis, gardening, and her pet parrot Quincy. 
Jilana was motivated to join LexRAP by a strong desire to connect with people and to make the world a better place for her children and grandchildren. Before working with LexRAP, she was a volunteer with IINE, another refugee-support organization. Here, Jilana jumped right in, helping IINE assist a surge of 85 newly arrived families. She checked folks in and collected donations among other activities. According to Jilana, “I learned a lot fast.”
Through IINE, she met LexRAP founder Marianne Boswell. Jilana got involved immediately, coordinating community dinners and LexRAP’s takeout café with board member Naomi Rosenthal.
Jilana has also worked with several LexRAP clients. One family in particular, a mother and daughter from Afghanistan, are thriving thanks in no small part to Jilana’s support. Initially, they lived in Jilana’s home for a year. Now, they are on their own: they have an apartment, mom is working, and she has a car! Her daughter, who knew no English upon arrival, is excelling in school. Even though the family is now independent, Jilana keeps in touch, maintaining a beautiful friendship.
Another situation that stands out is a mother nearly in tears showing Jilana her daughter’s report card of straight A’s. “She was so proud and grateful,” Jilana recalls. “For me, this is what it’s all about.”
LexRAP has connected me with opportunities to volunteer I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she says. “I’m working with others who feel the same way I do about helping people. I’m connecting with our clients’ lives… their worlds, customs, and attitudes. There is such a need for the support LexRAP provides. If you have care and love in your heart, volunteering with LexRAP has been, for me, a moving and meaningful way to give back.”

– Nancy Keswani

Get Involved

Interested in volunteering with LexRAP? We are currently seeking volunteers to assist in any way possible, with either major or modest time commitments. All assistance is welcome. Complete our volunteer intake form.
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