Elizabeth Hendricks

“I was a long-time (50 years) member of Atlanta Friends Meeting, so I am especially pleased that the first Quaker Voluntary Service House has been established in Atlanta.  QVS is continuing a long tradition of Quaker service.  To support that history, I was asked to share my experience with the American Friends Service Committee during and after World War II.

Powell House in New York City was a private home loaned to the AFSC for their use (not the current Powell House of New York Yearly Meeting.)  Working with Jewish organizations, the purpose of Powell House was to bring displaced people from Europe together with Americans for English practice, discussions, lectures on American history, walking tours, etc.  We tried to have an equal number of Americans and refugees so that meaningful relationships could be developed.  I became Program Director of Powell House toward the end of the war in order to increase services to young people who began to arrive in New York City after their release from concentration camps.  We added square dancing and other activities that were fun for everyone, both the volunteers and the new immigrants.

I think QVS volunteers today would be interested to know that I still get together with friends from that time.  A recent visit with Pat Hunt (photo, 2012) recalled our happy experiences in New York City in the 1940s.  She and I regularly visit with another volunteer and two former refugees.  The values that we learned from the Powell House experience influenced our lives from that time forward.  One of the refugees from Austria went on to provide a lifetime of service to other immigrant groups as they arrived in New York City.  Pat Hunt devoted her career to the American Friends Service Committee.  I hope that the experiences that you have at Quaker Voluntary Service are as rewarding and enduring.”

Elizabeth Hendricks passed away in 2016.

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