Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

JP Connections honoree, Dolores Indek, puts smiles on people's faces


November 24, 2017

Dolores Indek enjoys dessert after her Heritage interview.

The theme for this year's JP Connections should be smiles, because the lyrics "Who can turn the world on with her smile?" (theme song for the "Mary Tyler Moore" TV show) can be applied to JP honoree Shirley Schoenberger; and honoree Dolores Indek's daily goal is to put a smile on people's faces.

The annual Jewish Pavilion luncheon recognizes two volunteers who have gone above the call of duty in volunteer work. However, it isn't a "duty" to either of these women but truly their heart's desire to help people.

The gift of making people happy is ingrained in Indek. When she was a little girl, she would go with her grandmother to visit her great-grandmother in a nursing home. "My grandma used to go every day. She'd fill her bags with her cookies and Challah and all, and I had my dolls and stuff and she'd say, 'What are we going to do today, Dolores?' and I'd say, 'We're going to put a smile on people's faces.'"

Indek likes to visit with people who never have someone visit them, and she still takes her dolls and bears that talk and sing and dance with her to visit the ones who seem to be forgotten.

This is what she does at the Pavilion-visits one-on-one with people. Currently, she isn't visiting one particular person, so she is also the "go-for" person if anyone at the agency needs something. "Hey-whatever you need, I'll get it" is her attitude. And when Program Director Julie Levitt calls her and tells her of someone new, she will be there with her bears to make that person smile.

Although Indek does not volunteer to receive awards, she has had many awards throughout her life. When she worked at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, she was the first recipient of the Dolores R. Indek community service award-that's right-the award was named after her. She was also the first recipient honored by Lockheed Martin Corporation with its highest community service award.

Indek started at Martin as a typist and studied finance at Rollins College at night. While working her regular job, she also handled all the community service projects at the corporation.

Young and old, Indek has helped them all. She was involved with Junior Achievement for 43 years. Working with the Orange County School System, she tutored children one-on-one in the Read to Succeed program. Indek also taught the economics of staying in school to young men in the 33rd Street Orange County jail. She inspired the young men to be successful in life, and once brought in the Olympic torch she was selected to carry for a half mile down Orange Ave. in 1996. She told them that she wasn't a popular kid in school. She was just "someone no one would remember," but here she was a torch carrier for the Olympics.

Saying these encouraging words is one thing, getting young men to listen is another. Indek was smart. She asked if she could let the men teach her basketball. "I love basketball, so I said to the guys, 'Listen, my free shot is really bad, can you give me some pointers?'"

They taught her, and she won their confidence.

Indek loves volunteering at the Jewish Pavilion, but her first love is JFS Orlando's Pearlman Emergency Pantry where she hands out bags of food on Tuesdays and babysits during classes for parents.

Helping the poor and homeless is a part of Indek's life. Her grandfather had a restaurant in Miami and he hired the homeless to work for him. She saw so many things as she waited tables for him.

Once a family came-a husband, his wife and four children. They ordered hot water and then put ketchup in the water. She went to her grandfather and said, "I think those people are poor."

"Why do you think that?" he asked. "They put ketchup in their water to make soup," she replied.

"Give them a menu and tell them to order whatever they want, and tell them to order something to take home later."

Indek never forgot that kindness.

In addition to volunteering at Jewish Pavilion and JFS Orlando, Indek works in Congregation Ohev Shalom's gift shop on Wednesdays, and she recently viewed 100 films to help whittle the selections down to six for the Jewish Film Festival.

Dolores Indek is someone to be remembered. After all, putting a smile on someone's face is what it is all about.

The Jewish Pavilion's JP Connections luncheon honoring these two fabulous ladies will be held Thursday, Nov. 30, at 11 a.m. at Maison & Jardin Event Center, 430 Wymore Rd. in Altamonte Springs. The paid-up membership luncheon (join for just $36) includes the Volunteer Appreciation event and holiday shopping bazaar. Couvert is $28. Register online at http://www.jewishpavilion.org or call 407-678-9363.


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