“I remember about 24 years ago, when Larry excitedly came home from work and announced that he was asked to be on the Response for Teens' board,” recalls Nanci Dobkin. “He told me about the important work that Response for Teens does and how he could not wait to be a part of that work. I looked at him and practically in tears said to him, ‘absolutely no way can you join another board! You already are on the board of JUF and Aitz Hayim and …you work 12 hour days!’ He looked at me and said how the meetings were only once a month, at 8:30 in the morning and it would not interfere with him seeing the family because he would normally be at work at that time. I reluctantly agreed and never looked back on that decision. He loved serving on Response and it made him so proud to part of it.”
For 20 years, Larry Dobkin supported teen services as a Response for Teens board member, eventually serving as its president. Thanks to his leadership and support, Response for Teens empowers over 12,000 adolescents each year to make healthy life choices. These teens, ages 12-21, are from diverse backgrounds, and approximately half of those served are from low income families. Response for Teens provides support for teens through a variety of programs, including individual, family, and group counseling; violence prevention; outreach to schools and community groups; leadership development opportunities; and teen-friendly sexual health care. Response for Teens and JCFS Chicago allow these young clients to redefine what’s possible in their lives.
The Larry Dobkin Memorial Endowment Fund of the JCFS Endowment Foundation was established to honor Larry’s lifelong passion for helping others and his commitment to providing teens with the necessary services to build healthier lives by empowering them to make positive life choices through education and advocacy.
“Larry was a dedicated and effective leader in both the Jewish and secular communities. He was one of its brightest stars,” says Nanci. “It seems appropriate for me to honor Larry and his work in the Jewish community by donating to his endowment fund in order to ensure that his light will shine forever.”
Nanci chose to make a donation to the fund in Larry’s memory, which she paid over a few years, and also to leave a portion of her IRA to the fund as part of her estate plan. Hundreds of other people who knew Larry also donated to the fund in his memory, which continues to grow and will provide endowment income to ensure vital services to teens for generations to come.
While there will never be away to fully fill the void left with Larry’s passing, together we can ensure that his legacy will continue to lead those who knew him to make a difference.