Johanna Schaeffer and Harold Isaacs brighten many lives through their volunteer work
Johanna (BSc 1997 New): When I first met Harold during Frosh Week at New College in 1993, he was loud and outgoing, with long hair and a big beard, and he rode his motorcycle to school. I thought he looked like trouble. But it turned out that he was a really awesome guy!
We share a dental practice. We have different skill sets, so he’ll take care of computer stuff, banking and inventory and I’ll take care of the staffing and PR. I can’t imagine doing it by myself. We don’t work the same hours, so we’re rarely face-to-face at the office but we have to try not to get lost in talking about work once we get home.
Harold is my very best friend. We have traveled to so many places together and experienced so much. Because of him, I learned to scuba dive. We have helped each other through all of what life has to give – from issues with family, to health concerns, school, friends and finances. We are there for each other, always trying to help one another reach our goals.
Harold (BSc 1996 Woodsworth): I think what strengthens us and really keeps us invigorated is that we complement each other. Some things that come so easy to her, like dealing with people, are more difficult for me. I’m always learning from her example.
Doing things to help others is a philosophy we share. In 2001, Johanna went to Tanzania with a non-profit that does outreach with an orphanage, a leprosy colony and street kids. I was able to join her at the end to do some outreach work on our own. It was a trip of terrific highs and lows, and we got a glimpse into the idea that even the smallest effort can make a difference. It really brought Johanna and I closer together. When we talk about going back to Africa, I see the light in her eyes just glow.
For about three years, we’ve provided financial support to school music programs. We help them buy sheet music or instruments, sponsor awards, or rent a bus to get to a concert. It’s exhilarating for them to get that standing ovation for something they’ve worked hard on. And it’s a nice feeling to work together with Johanna to create something good.