Volunteer Spotlight: Josephine Thomas

Every few weeks at MFTA there’s an inter-office announcement about homemade brownies and other delicious goodies in our kitchen. These generous offerings come from Josephine Thomas, a full-time teacher at IS 229 in the Bronx, who also happens to be a much appreciated MFTA volunteer. In addition to treating our staff with her sweet treats, Josephine spends time tidying up our warehouse. Even during her vacation time—summer and winter break–she finds her way here to help us folding fabric, sorting trim and notion, restocking our craft area and indulging our sweet tooth.

How long have you volunteered here? 4-5 years

How’d you get here? I had already heard about MFTA but people kept saying it was so far to get here. Once I did it, I realized it was an easy, excellent commute, and I knew it was the place for me.

Where do you commute from? Mount Vernon, NY

What do you like about MFTA? I know it well, and MFTA has exactly the kind of stuff I need to work with my students at I.S. 229 in the Bronx.

What do you teach? A bit of everything—cooking, sewing, needle work, beading. Anything they need to learn, I’ll teach it. Once the kids show an interest, I’m there!

How did you learn how to do so many different things? From my parents, teachers, community in Trinidad in the West Indies. You know the expression, ”each one, teach one”…I’d like to impart what I’ve been given onto others. I’ve also taken a lot of classes at a number of institutions, including FIT, The 92nd Street Y, The Bead Society of Greater NY, and the International Cake Exploration Societe, to name just a few!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? I am a dresser (put the clothes on the models) for the annual Safilo International Eyewear show at The Javits Center. I like going to trade shows to seenew ideas and get inspired. I go to the Philadelphia flower show, the wool and sheep festival in Rhinebeck, NY, the Fancy Food Show.  I have taken private classes in culinary arts in London, including a chocolate making class with Toba Garret Master Confectionary artist.

Josephine’s altruism is not limited to her volunteerism at MFTA or the brownies she bakes for us. Another way she has given back was knitting a piece to raise funds for a program in Africa and donated through the British Heritage Trust in Bedfordshire, England.

Interested in volunteering at MFTA? Click here to learn more.

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