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Highlights From Our Agencies

Jewish Federation & Family Services, Orange County is pleased to announce the appointment of Arlene Miller as the new President & CEO effective July 1st. Arlene Miller comes to Orange County after an extraordinary 5 years as Chief Philanthropy Officer of Shalom Austin, an association of organizations that includes the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin, Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas.

There, she led the launch of the Jewish Foundation of Austin & Central Texas from concept to reality, and deepened relationship building and donor engagement as the core principles of the community's financial resource development strategy, among many other successes. She returns to California, the state where she began her career as a Jewish professional with Hillel at UCLA nearly 18 years ago. Miller has earned the respect and admiration of colleagues, donors and volunteers throughout the country. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Services of Delaware will celebrate the long and distinguished tenure of CEO Dory Zatuchni and the grand opening of the new Village Garden dedicated to her. The celebration will take place on June 1st in the garden outside of JFS's Wilmington office.

Dory's 20 years of devoted leadership of JFS is the capstone of a lifetime of service to the community and advocacy for vulnerable populations. Continue reading here.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Mercer County announced that it has selected Michelle Napell to become the agency's next Executive Director.

Ms. Napell will succeed Linda Meisel, who announced earlier this year that she is stepping down on June 30th, after 18 years as Executive Director. Michelle Napell will take over the role on July 1, 2016. Learn more here.

Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (GCJFCS) announced the appointment of Dr. Sandra E. Braham as the organization's new President/CEO, effective March 21st. Dr. Braham will replace Interim President/CEO Eric Feder,who has held the position since January 2015.

Dr. Braham, selected through a national search, brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector. Most recently, she served for 10 years as Chief Executive Officer of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) El Paso del Norte Region, the largest YWCA in the nation. In this role, she led 450 employees, managed an annual budget of more than $30 million and supported a $9 million foundation. Learn more here.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Community Services of Baltimore announced that it has selected Joan Grayson Cohen to become the agency's next Executive Director.

Ms. Cohen, who is currently the Director of Economic Services at Jewish Community Services, has been a staff member of JCS and Jewish Family Services, one of its founding agencies, for 22 years. During this tenure, Ms. Cohen was responsible for the creation and management of a diverse array of programs and services. She will succeed Barbara Levy Gradet, who announced earlier this year that she is stepping down on June 30th after 12 years as Executive Director. 

On behalf of the JCS board of directors, President Ronald Attman said, "The Board is elated that Joan has accepted our offer to lead the agency. Joan is a proven leader who has earned the respect of the board and of the JCS staff through all of the good work that she has done on behalf of the people in our community. We are fortunate to have such an accomplished and visionary leader to guide us into the future. I also want to thank the members of the search committee, chaired by Allison Magat, for the many hours of conscientious work that they did leading to this excellent result."
Ms. Cohen holds a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law and an MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker certified by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners. Ms. Cohen and her husband are active members of Beth El Congregation and they have 3 adult daughters. In 2009, Ms. Cohen was awarded the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Services Award in Jewish Communal Services by the Darrell Freedman Institute. 

 

In accepting the role of Executive Director, Joan Cohen said, "I am honored to be selected for the JCS Executive Director position. During my tenure, I have experienced firsthand the impact that JCS services and supports have had on the lives of thousands of individuals and families. The key to the success of the agency has been the outstanding commitment of the Board and Staff along with the tremendous support of The Associated and the Community. I am proud that, in this new role, I will have the opportunity to help sustain and further the mission of the agency." 

Ms. Cohen will begin in the position of Executive Director on July 1st.

Robert Marmor is the new President and CEO of Jewish Family Service of Northeastern New York. Prior to accepting this position Bob was HIAS' Chief Strategic Officer. 

AJFCA is delighted that he continues to dedicate his time to member agencies.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta broke ground on March 17 to celebrate the start of construction on its Dunwoody campus expansion. Leaders from the community, JF&CS' capital campaign cabinet and generous donors to the campaign attended the ceremony, held on a beautiful sunny day. JF&CS will be renovating and expanding its facility to improve services for all clients as well as to accommodate a growing waitlist for specialized services. The nonsectarian nonprofit just completed an 18-month capital campaign to raise money for the project. The initial goal was $5.1 million, but it ended up totaling $6.6 million, thanks in part to a transformative gift from the Walter and Frances Bunzl Family Foundation that will name the new clinical services wing.

Jewish Family Service of Des Moines is AJFCA's newest member agency. Jody Caswell is the Director of the agency. We're excited to welcome them to the network.

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati received a $60,000 grant from Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) to help Cincinnati's Jewish Holocaust survivors reduce isolation. The funding will be used to teach a variety of tablet-based programs to stay connected to family and friends.

Jewish Family Service Cincinnati is one of only 23 organizations to receive this funding through the JFNA's Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care, which was recently launched following an award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over 5 years to advance innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed services for Holocaust survivors in the United States.

A recent review of this program has shown that Holocaust survivors who have received care management services and participated in the programs offered by the Center for Holocaust Survivors have enjoyed a better quality of life, including timely attention to their healthcare needs, emotional support and encouragement to engage in life review and other counseling to help them deal with loss and memories of trauma. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts is AJFCA's newest member agency. Maxine Stein, MSW is the President and CEO of the agency. We're excited to welcome them to the network.

On March 7th a group of Ruth & Norman Rales' professionals and one local Holocaust Survivor spoke to a congressional study group from Germany. Florida was their first stop on a three state tour as part of the study group meeting. Ted Deutch organized the Florida portion and that's how JFS were asked to participate. Those from the German group included many current members of the German parliament and three members of congress including Ted, Charlie Dent (PA) and a member from Nebraska.

The meeting with the Congressional Study Group from Germany was an extraordinary opportunity for JFS to have an honest and frank dialogue with members of the German Parliament about the aging Holocaust survivor populations living meeting with the Congressional Study Group from Germany was an extraordinary opportunity for JFS to have an honest and frank dialogue with members of the German Parliament about the aging Holocaust survivor populations living. The focus was to convey gratitude to the German government for the funding we as a nation receive through the Claims Conference but to also stress the vast unmet needs that are prevalent both here and nation wide. In addition to the presentation, the group was honored and humbled to hear the story of 88 year old Holocaust survivor, Norman Frajman, who survived the camps and lost over 120 members of his family in the Holocaust. The members expressed sincere respect and humility in hearing Norman's story and stressed their support in fighting antisemitism in Germany today as well as open to discuss increased funding for those in the most need.

In honor of the late CEO and his legacy of integrated healthcare innovation, the Governance Board and Executive Team at Jewish Family and Children's Service of Phoenix are pleased to announce the naming of the new state-of-the-art Catalina Health Center as The Michael R. Zent Healthcare Center.

Arizona Public Service awarded a $250,000 lead gift to JFCS Phoenix. The fund went toward the purchase and build-out of JFCS' Catalina Health Center, a new 24,000 square foot integrated primary medical and behavioral health clinic located in the Maryvale neighborhood of Phoenix. The new Catalina Health Center will serve 8,500 children, adolescents, and adults.  
 

 

HIAS's animated video, HIAS: For the Refugee was just announced as a finalist in the annual DoGooder Awards competition.

The DoGooder Video Awards spotlight the best and brightest videos for social good. Hosted with YouTube, the DoGooder Awards attract participants from across the globe and support social causes and organizations making change in the world. HIAS' video is one of only four finalists for Best Nonprofit Video of 2015, selected from more than 120 entries.

Voting is now open to the public and you can vote once per day, every day until March 21. The winners will be announced March 25. Cast your vote and help spread the word!

DoGooder Award winners are covered in major media and blogs including Fast Company, Mashable and the The Huffington Post. By voting for HIAS: For the Refugee, you will help HIAS and the message of welcome for refugees get noticed by millions of people across the web.

 

CityBiz List (an online publication geared toward business professionals) posted a two-part "Video Conversation with Barbara Levy Gradet, LCSW, Executive Director of Jewish Community Services of Baltimore."

Part one shares general information about JCS and part 2 focuses on the workforce development efforts. A link to the interview has been posted on the JCS Facebook page. You can also see the videos on the CityBizList website.  

On response to the escalating number of seniors struggling to put food on the table, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger has launched the second year of its Solutions to Senior Hunger in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies. The initiative is designed to help low-income, food-insecure seniors get the nutrition assistance they need. Jewish Family & Children's Service in the greater Phoenix area is participating to help local seniors.

Solutions to Senior Hunger, which is generously funded by the Walmart Foundation, is designed to reduce the barriers that keep vulnerable seniors from enrolling in the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Learn more here.

Arizona Jewish Life, January 21, 2016

Since 1918, Jewish Family Service of San Diego has empowered San Diegans to build better lives. While their purpose has remained constant, the way they work and communicate evolves along with their community. Today, they are proud to introduce you to the inspiring space where they will pursue their mission, and new branding that reflects their agency's energy and commitment to partnering with the community. 

The Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus is the special place where their vision and values come alive. Learn more here

Member Agency Executives attending the 2016 AJFCA Annual Conference will have an opportunity to tour this new building. 

by Beth Huppin, Director, Project Kavid, JFS Seattle
  
I grew up in Spokane, down the street from my grandparents. They were early 20th century immigrants from Eastern Europe who arrived at a time before the term "refugee resettlement" had been coined. My grandfather, who fled the Ukraine because of pogroms, arrived in America as a teenager with his mother, joining his father who came earlier. My great-grandfather had established a small store but died of a burst appendix within a few months of the family's reunification. My 17-year-old grandfather was left to run the store and support his mother and an infant brother. 

Even though the store was quickly bankrupt, the local non-Jewish Russian-speaking lumberjacks found a way to buy the inventory and then gift it back to my grandfather so he could keep the business going. Why did those non-Jewish lumberjacks help my grandfather? Read the entire article posted on January 7th here

On January 27th, Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati promoted 
International Holocaust Remembrance Day on their Facebook page, via Twitter and in their monthly email sent to nearly 8,000 recipients.

JFS Cincinnati spent $5 to boost the International Holocaust Remembrance Day post for one day on Facebook and the response was amazing. In a day it reached 9,975 people, and got 586 likes, 37 comments, and 163 shares. And, 15 more likes to their page. Great engagement around a topic of critical importance.

This February, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh is partnering with several Squirrel Hill organizations and the Chinese community of greater Pittsburgh to invite all Pittsburghers to a two week celebration of the Lunar New Year.  

This year's Lunar New Year is also known as the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public and will ring in the Lunar New Year with cultural performances, demonstrations in Asian arts and crafts, a parade and a taste of authentic flavors from Squirrel Hill's acclaimed Asian restaurants and eateries.

"JF&CS is looking forward to being a partner in bringing Pittsburghers together to celebrate Squirrel Hill's incredible international diversity," said Jordan Golin, Chief Operating Officer at JF&CS. "Many people think of Squirrel Hill as the 'Jewish neighborhood' of Pittsburgh, but Squirrel Hill is also home to a growing and diverse Asian population, so it's only fitting that we should come together to host this important and exciting cultural celebration." 

The ongoing global refugee crisis continues to draw attention to the experiences of refugees and what it is like to start life over in a new country. Jewish Family & Community Services of East Bay's Director of Refugee & Immigrant Services, Amy Weiss, was recently featured in a Huffington Post article detailing some of these stories. 

Learn more about their Refugee Resettlement and LGBT Refugee Services programs on their website.
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Last month, Executive Director Avi Rose was featured in KQED Radio's Perspective series, speaking about the moral imperative to welcome refugees. "Now is the time for us to act on the best of our values." Listen here

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis has been certified by Points of Light as a Service Enterprise. A Service Enterprise is an organization that fundamentally leverages volunteers and their skills throughout their organization to successfully deliver on its social mission. Less than 15 % of organizations nationwide can be characterized as Service Enterprises. Learn more here.

For more information on Service Enterprise certification contact Jennie and/or join AJFCA for Service Enterprise: How to Integrate Volunteer Engagement into Your Agency's  Strategic Plan & Use Service to Better Deliver on Your Social Mission at AJFCA's Annual Conference in San Diego this May.
 

Janet Arnold wears two hats at Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix; besides being the senior concierge, she provides help to seniors in need who seek to enroll in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.

This comes about through a partnership with MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, which on Dec. 1 announced it was continuing for a second year its Solutions to Senior Hunger program, conducted in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies and funded by the Walmart Foundation. The local JFCS is one of 13 agencies nationwide that is participating this year. Read the entire article published in the JewishNews, on Decmeber 16th here.

2015 was an especially accomplishing year for Project Extreme, an AJFCA member agency that provides unique, innovative and individualized attention and services to teens at-risk, their families and communities. In addition to our ongoing year-round programs, Project Extreme celebrated the one year anniversary of Miryam's House, a supportive living shelter for young women, 18 years and older. Miryam's House offers a safe and growth oriented home for those seeking additional encouragement, life skills, and healthy communication skills. Learn more here.

Jewish Child Care Association as a new look and new tagline. The agency decided to change their name to JCCA to more accurately reflect who they are and what they do. They have been known as Jewish Child Care Association since 1940. While the name accurately reflected their work and the population they served then, it does not fully reflect their work and the population they serve now. Of course, they continue to serve Jewish children in a range of programs and remain committed to Jewish continuity, but they also serve a large population of African-American and Latino children, and young people with a range of needs, from foster care to mental health services. They have chosen to use JCCA, the acronym by which they are generally known, as their official name.

Jewish Family Services of Milwaukee has hired Tom Martin, former President & CEO of Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin (FSNEW) in Green Bay, WI as an Interim President/CEO of JFS starting January 1, 2016.  Martin will 
fill in for current President/CEO Sylvan Leabman, who is retiring at the end of December. 

Martin retired from FSNEW in March 2014, after serving the agency for 27 years as Executive Director. Under his leadership, the organization grew from seven programs and 89 employees to more than 35 programs and a staff of nearly 400. 

The JFS Board's Transition Task Force is continuing to search for a permanent replacement and while that process continues the Board wanted to  assure that executive leadership was in place so that there would be  no gaps in service to clients and the community.

Hanukkah begins at sunset Sunday, and there will be six menorahs to light at Paula Goldstein's house.

"So we actually could set a nice little fire," said Goldstein, 58, president and chief executive of Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia, a $13 million organization celebrating its 160th anniversary this year.

"One menorah somebody gave us, one we got when we were married, and then my children each have their own menorah, so we light them all," she said.

Jewish life is central to Goldstein, and in an unexpected way, her volunteer work helped her rise from social worker to chief executive. Read the entire article here

Efforts on the parts of a wide range of Jewish community groups to provide assistance to certain refugee groups in the Middle East have moved to a new level.

While plans are still being formulated, and not all the groups that have indicated a willingness to get involved in one way or another seem to know how it is that they might contribute, we are able to report movement in a number of areas.

Foremost among these is the incredibly successful fundraising effort initiated by the newly formed group, Winnipeg Friends of Israel, that has resulted in over $120,000 being donated toward the specific cause of bringing in Yazidi refugee families who are currently confined to camps in Turkey. Continue reading here.

Last year, more than 27,000 organizations in 68 countries came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday, which has inspired world-wide giving and generosity. 

This year all donations made to Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles on #GivingTuesday, December 1st, will be generously matched. That means your gift will make twice the difference in helping those in need! Watch JFS's video here.

Raleigh-Cary Jewish Family Service's Senior Connections program provides social work services to older adults and their families including assessment of needs, development of a plan to meet these needs, exploring options with a focus on quality aging, as well as linking older adults to resources to maintain their highest level of independence and dignity while remaining safe. Visit AJFC's Marketing Bank to view their brochure.

MAX Interpersonal Career Coaching is an innovative, fully-inclusive, program for young Jewish adults within the Workforce Development department at Jewish Family Services in Columbus. MAX serves individuals with Social Cognitive deficits, and has recently celebrated 2 years in operation; through the generosity and vision of local philanthropists. 

MAX has successfully placed 19 individuals into full time, benefited employment, and 8 individuals into part time employment while completing school. That's 27 people employed, through a very nontraditional approach, in just 24 months! Most remarkably, after 1 year on the job 100% of MAXers are still working! MAXers are not just getting jobs, they are keeping jobs... and breaking so many stereotypes! Check out the video here.

The good news: more nonprofits are taking performance measurement seriously. We had a standing-room-only crowd for our workshop on "Demystifying Performance Measurement" at the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network conference. Whether we're drawn into it by the public fascination with "big data," by pressure from funders, or-ideally- because we genuinely want to understand how we're doing and how we could do better, the conversation is getting real.

Stephen Pratt, Partner, Director of Advisory Services presented with Marc Jacobs, CEO of Jewish Family Services of Metrowest. Continue reading here. 

You're on the Performance Measurement Train. Now what? November 16, 2015, rootcause.org, by Stephen Prat

After more than 70 years in obscurity, the diary of a Polish teenage girl which was found at Auschwitz in 1945 has been revealed for the first time.
Originally published by the Jewish Family & Children's Services of San Francisco's Holocaust Center in partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica, the newly edited and revised edition of Rywka's Diary has now been published by Harper Collins in the U.S. The book has also been translated and published in many other countries. See the press release about Rywka's Diary.

The newly discovered diary, written in the Lodz ghetto during World War II, is an astonishing historical document and a moving tribute to the many ordinary people whose lives where forever altered by the Holocaust. Accompanied by rich background materials, the book is destined to become an important source of inspiration for students of the Holocaust around the world.

Read more here.

The Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities honored five individuals and Jewish Family Service of Richmond for their work at its annual Richmond Humanitarian Awards Dinner on Thursday. The organization honored two judges, a college professor, a newspaper publisher, the head of the agency on aging and a 167-year-old agency started to help Civil War orphans.

The awards include three humanitarian awards, a distinguished merit citation and the Distinguished Virginian Award. Learn more here.

The Pittsburgh Business Times announced the winners of their annual list of the Best Places to Work in Western Pennsylvania. For the 10th consecutive year, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh was named on that list. We are honored to be named among those selected for the award!

Additionally, JF&CS earned a place earlier this year on the annual Pittsburgh Post-Gazette list of Top Places to Work for the fourth consecutive year. The results of both awards are determined by the results of an anonymous survey of employees of companies and nonprofits throughout the region.

How does a social service agency like Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, Massachusetts measure impact? It's a question we hear from constituents and Board members, donors and foundation leaders and it's a challenging question to answer. 

We can and do track all the pertinent numbers- client visits in homecare, test scores at Framingham's Wilson School, visits to our in-house food pantry- to name just a few. Yet none of these measures can provide a cumulative understanding of the impact of services and programs within the Metrowest community.

This year JFS Metrowest has begun a multi-year program to devise and implement a performance measurement and management system that will function as both a planning and evaluation tool. 

It will be used across the entire agency to answer the questions, 'What works?" and "How can it be changed if it doesn't?" Click here to view the report.

Jewish Family Services Portland, Maine, the social services arm of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine, is the first pantry in Maine to become a member of the National Diaper Bank Network

Diaper need is defined as the struggle to provide babies with clean, dry diapers. On average, a baby could go through 6-10 diapers in a day, costing approximately $936 a year. Diapers are not covered by food supplement programs and are an essential need in maintaining a baby's health and well-being.  

JFS Food Pantry specifically focuses on the needs of families and young children in the services provided, and has seen a steady increase in need among families for diapers and other non-food baby essentials. By joining the National Diaper Bank Network, JFS has the opportunity to purchase diapers in bulk at a significantly reduced cost to distribute not only to the JFS consumer base, but to dispense to other local pantries feeling a similar pressure to provide much sought after items. All diapers are provided free of charge.

During the past few years I have made an effort to reconnect with former students and old friends. Many common themes arose over the course of these conversations, including a topic rarely discussed in public Jewish spaces.

I have lost track of the number of times I've sat down with a friend, a former student, or a parent of a former student, and heard about their struggles with mental illness - either their own illness or the illness of a loved one. No age is exempt, from children in grade school to grandparents. Continue reading Beth's blog here.

September 17, 2015, by Beth Huppin, Director, Project Kavod/Dignity, JFS Seattle

Mr. Brian Prousky has been appointed Executive Director of Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto effective January 4, 2016.
Brian comes to JF&CS with significant experience as a Social Worker, manager and director having worked predominately in the area of child welfare. Brian was a Social Worker at Jewish Family & Child for five years earlier in his career. He has held progressively senior positions, leading to his current role as Director of Services with Durham Children's Aid Society. A passionate advocate of children and families, Brian brings a client centered approach to his work that is collaborative and strategic.

Dear Ally, a program of Jewish Family & Children's Services of Greater Philadelphia, is an anonymous online question and answer forum for Jewish lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, parents and family members of LGBTQ individuals, professionals, and anyone else in need of support or with questions surrounding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. We can learn from others' questions. Submit your letter anonymously and a response will be sent privately as well as posted on the Dear Ally page without identifiable information for others who may be in need of support.

In addition, JFCS has free postcard holders with Dear Ally postcards that they are offering to partners, to display in an office or resource/community space. Learn more here.

 

Sun Sentinel, October 1, 2015

Ruth and Norman Rales Jewish Family Services - the Boca Raton-based Jewish social-services agency - announced that the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation has extended its commitment to the agency with a second $2.4 million gift.

The latest gift will be used to enhance the programs and services of the Center for Families & Children at Jewish Family Services  - which was established in 2014 through a grant from the foundation - as well as to create a new program at the center for children with special needs.

Danielle Hartman, JFS president and CEO, stated: "We are extremely grateful to the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation for renewing its commitment to fund the Center for Families and Children - which was originally created to address unmet needs of families and children living in South Palm Beach County.

 

JIAS Toronto is a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with a mandate to welcome and support refugees seeking protection and refuge in Canada. With the situation in Syria at critical levels and millions of Syrians homeless, we are working with synagogues, community groups and individuals to sponsor Syrian refugees to the GTA. To date, we have signed memorandums of understanding, one with a private family and one with a local synagogue, to bring two Syrain refugee families to Toronto and reunite them with their families here. Learn more here.  

 

On August 10, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago welcomed 16 domestic violence professionals to its Skokie office for the first Association of Jewish Family & Children Agencies (AJFCA) Domestic Violence Professionals Fly-In. The participants came from all across the country, including Los Angeles, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Detroit.

As this passionate group of colleagues energetically shared ideas and described the breadth of programming that is being accomplished, I couldn't help but reflect on how much has changed. Continue reading Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services reflections here.     

Jewish Family Services of Delaware is proud to be named one of The News Journal's 2015 Top Workplaces in Delaware - an honor bestowed on Delaware companies based on surveys of staff members. JFS ranked 10th among small companies and received the Special Award for Job Meaningfulness.

"I love the work that I do and the positive impact that it has on the clients," wrote one of the employees.

"Counseling, youth advocacy, care management for families and older adults, and the JFS Food Pantry are all part of a holistic approach that meets our clients' needs."   

Generously supported by the Hadassah Foundation, Jewish Family Service of San Diego's Girls Give Back engages teen girls in fun, positive leadership and team-building activities and gives girls the opportunity to explore the community through hands-on service learning and advocacy projects.

Girls Give Back promotes Jewish values and the importance of Tikkun Olam while developing social-mindedness, critical thinking, healthy self-esteem, and empathy in high school girls.

In the past year, Girls Give Back teens:

- Volunteered more than 1,800 hours, earning the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award.
   
- Organized a middle-school girls empowerment program, Girls Unite!, for Jewish tweens in grades 6-8.
   
- Created a 50-foot mural for the San Diego Airport on the historic and contemporary struggles facing women and girls.
 
- Designed an advocacy campaign around the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and successfully secured three co-sponsors, including Susan Davis.
   
- Participated in a week-long experiential learning about homelessness and poverty in San Diego.

- Teens volunteered with eight different service providers to distribute food, work in shelters, and empower vulnerable teens.
   
- Hosted two community screenings of the award-winning documentary Girl Rising. More than 150 attendees learned about the importance of girls' education across the globe.

The Hadassah Foundation, which invests in social change to empower girls and women in Israel and the United States, has given $150,000 in grants to five American organizations that strengthen the leadership develop skills and capabilities of Jewish girls and young women. Jewish Family Service of San Diego was awarded $35,200 to strengthen leadership development opportunities for young Jewish women.
 
Learn more about Girls Give Back here. Read about the Hadassah Foundation's new grants for leadership development for Jewish teens and young women here.

 

Tracing the 120-plus years of Seattle's Jewish Family Service to the current day, Carolee Danz shows its uninterrupted history of giving and sharing in the book Shards of Light.

From its beginning as the Ladies' Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1892 to the current day, Seattle's JFS has taken the lead in helping those less fortunate. Pushing the definition of community beyond the close and familiar, JFS has served many outside its religious borders-immigrants from around the world struggling to understand their new home in the United States, people dealing with gender issues, Puget Sound residents seeking the expert counseling services of JFS staff, and more.     

 

Thirty-six personal accounts of experiences during the Holocaust have been captured in To Tell Our Stories: Holocaust Survivors of Southern Arizona, a new book edited by Raisa Moroz and Richard Fenwick. Proceeds from book sales support the Holocaust Survivors Program (HSP) at Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern Arizona.

"In 2009, I began asking my Russian-speaking clients to write stories about their lives, but I quickly realized that their stories would not be widely appreciated because of language barriers," says Moroz, who is a Russian immigrant and the manager of the Holocaust Survivors Program, which offers case management, home care, financial assistance and social opportunities.

In 2010, Fenwick, a poet and a retired United States Air Force Russian linguist, volunteered to curate this collection of stories and visit with Russian-speaking survivors. He translated stories written in Russian, transcribed verbally recorded stories as the project expanded, and reviewed stories written in English by Survivors from other parts of Europe.

Moroz and Fenwick's partnership continues with an open invitation to other Survivors in Southern Arizona to tell their stories. To date, 10 more Survivors have asked to be included in a second volume.

Music will soon fill the air in Naples, Florida for elders living with dementia. Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southwest Florida will be offering an exciting new program called "Music Makes Memories" to the members of its two weekly programs for people with various forms of dementia. Specialized music therapy will be provided to participants in the Men's Group, an Early Memory Loss program for gentlemen and in Better Together, a Group Respite program for people with more advanced dementia.

These two dementia-specific programs are based on the Brookdale Early Memory Loss (EML) and Group Respite models. The EML model includes memory enhancement and compensatory skill-building components, as well as a peer support element. Both models emphasize building on a member's strengths and abilities, and on providing meaningful, adult-appropriate activities. Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Dementia is also incorporated into day-to-day activities and care of the program participants.

In September VISTA member Adrienne Ognibene will be transitioning into a full-time position as the Jewish Social Service Agency's new Volunteer Coordinator. In this position Adrienne will be working with the Holocaust Survivor Program to coordinate all socialization events as well as the friendly visitor program and the Himmelfarb Mobile University program for the Senior Services Department.

Adrienne has been an invaluable resource for the organization during her year of service and the new position has been built largely on the work she conducted during this time, a true testament to the value of these efforts. AJFCA is thrilled to welcome Adrienne as a professional member of our network! 

Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley has collected gifts through their wildly successful Embrace-A-Family program for many years using up to 20 display boards like the one pictured here, mounted on easels throughout the community. Individuals take a tag, purchase the gift listed, and bring the unwrapped gift to the JFS office to be gifted to clients in need. They have also begun to use Amazon to maintain a list of gifts, allowing donors to make their purchase online and ship directly to the JFS office.
This program has become a huge outreach vehicle for their agency and the result each year in terms of publicity, gift donations, and donations has grown dramatically year over year. Their volunteer committee is always looking to build on the success of the program and are currently seeking examples from other agencies of what displays they might utilize in similar gift drives, hoping to gather some ideas to improve their display board template. If you have an interest in learning more about this model or have a similar program and would like to compare notes, please reach out to Lori Cinnamon, Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement at 408-357-7467.   

Jewish Community Services of South Florida's 15th Annual Meeting on June 4th featured the results of an extensive study JCS commissioned from the Washington Economics Group (WEG) which determined that for every dollar in donations and funding spent to produce JCS programs, JCS generates an annual economic Impact of $32.47 for a total of $434 million. As J. Antonio Villamil, Founder and Principal of WEG, related in his keynote speech, the report details how JCS' highly efficient operations and low operating budget through partnerships with funding agencies, community organizations and local leaders continuously strengthen its outreach and expand its social and economic impacts with successful program outcomes.

"The importance of investing in our community's future by investing in JCS can't be overstated," said Fred Stock, JCS' President and CEO.  "Our programs bridging the gap between those who are struggling and those who are self-sufficient has a very positive economic and social impact on South Florida. A dollar invested in JCS today pays dividends for years to come in countless ways, such as moving people from dependency and taxpayer assistance to gainful employment; enabling seniors to continue to live at home rather than in government-subsidized healthcare facilities; building support networks that alleviate the economic and social consequences of addiction and violence; and providing kosher food and other assistance so that families can resume their productive place in society."

Jewish Family Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania (JFS NEPA) celebrated their 100th Annual Meeting on June 16, 2015.  The meeting was held at The Colonnade in Scranton, PA. Officers were elected.

Officers nominated to serve a one year term include (from left to right) Seth Gross (Treasurer), Jay Landau (President), Sheila Cutler (Secretary), Natalie Gelb (3rd Vice President), Elliot Schoenberg (2nd Vice President) and Eric Weinberg (1st Vice President)(not pictured).

Incoming President Jay Landau focused on increased attention to fundraising and branding for JFS during his speech. The evening was attended by over 125 people. Over $36,000 was raised from sponsorships.  

 

Great things are happening at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. On June 8, 2015, the Hadassah Foundation, headquartered in New York, NY, awarded the Bernice N. Tannenbaum Prize to Jessica Nare, Director of Leadership Programs JFS, in a ceremony at the UJA-Federation of New York. Learn more about the prize here.

United Way of San Diego County has award JFS a $450,000 grant to support the launch and implementation of the Linda Vista Kindergarten Readiness Network, beginning in July 2015. The grant is part of a nearly $2 million funding package that United Way has awarded to four community partnerships working to help the youngest San Diegans and their families succeed. Learn more about the grant here.

AJFCA VISTA Project member Joyce Ofori at Samost Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern New Jersey was nominated for and awarded the Schreibstein Award for Emerging Community Leadership offered through the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. The Schreibstein Award and scholarship is designed to recognize an emerging volunteer or professional associated with the Jewish community.

The award is intended to provide the residents of Camden,Gloucester, or Burlington counties of New Jersey the opportunity to develop and enhance leadership skills for their volunteer or professional involvement.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services held its semi-annual gathering and luncheon for Holocaust Survivors, Café Europa, at B'nai Torah Congregation last week. Over 350 people comprised of Holocaust Survivors and their spouses or aides attended the event. Like the previous Café Europa, many new Holocaust Survivors joined JFS from northern Broward County and the Boynton/Lake Worth in addition to the Boca Raton and Delray Beach areas.

Attendees were treated to a luncheon while the Holocaust Survivor Band provided entertainment. At times there were large crowds on the dance floor as couples and groups of circle dancing occurred throughout the event.

The highlight for many came later in the program where survivors connected with other survivors from their home towns in Europe. This season's event matched people from Berlin, Odessa and Lodz among others. During previous events, survivors have found long lost friends whose friendship was made while in the same concentration camp. In most instances, they did not even know if the other survived.

The Naples Senior Center and Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida were featured on the PBS News Hour. Click here to view the Friday, May 22nd segment.

Click here to view the PBS website photo essay presenting a more in-depth look into the lives of the Naples Senior Center members featured in the story.  As one member says, "Without them (JFCS) we would be starving".

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles is in the midst of what leadership is describing as a "new era," a $36 million capital campaign that will result in the renovation of its Freda Mohr Multipurpose Center and the relocation of its headquarters there.

JFS plans to take the senior-focused site just north of the bustling intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard and more than double the facility's size to 28,000 square feet, transforming it into the state-of-the-art JFS Lois and Richard Gunther Center deep in the heart of Jewish Los Angeles.

The lead gift for the campaign came from the local philanthropic couple after whom the new facility will be named. Lois Gunther previously served as JFS board president and is a longtime supporter; her husband is a board member of Americans for Peace Now and New Israel Fund. Learn more here.

Eva Kor, Holocaust Survivor, forgiveness advocate, and revered public speaker, told her story of survival and forgiveness, at AJFCA's 2015 Annual Conference Sunday Opening Plenary Lunch on May 3rd. Powered by a never-give-up attitude, Eva emerged from a trauma-filled childhood as a brilliant example of the human spirit's power to overcome.
 
Stu Jaffe, LCSW at Collat Jewish Family Service of Birmingham recently read a great book co-authored by the father-daughter team of Desmond and Mpho Tutu. The Book of Forgiving describes forgiving as a process for which we have to prepare and through which we have to move, in order to emotionally reach a new place. Read his blog, Our Forgiveness in Collat JFS's May 2015 Counselor Corner.

Debby Perelmuter, LCSW, Vice President of Services in the Jewish Community at the Jewish Child Care Association and AJFCA Board Member will retire at the end of this month.

Debby has been on the staff at JCCA since 1998. Debby oversaw the Early Childhood Programs, Ametz Adoption Program, Compass Program, Two Together, Partners in Caring, the Bukharian Teen Lounge the the Kew Gardens Hills Youth Center.

Debby's retirement will enable her to visit with family scattered around the country, and allow her to focus on other interests and hobbies. Debby can be reached at perelfive@gmail.com. AJFCA wishes Debby all the best.
 

Volunteers from Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services participated in International Good Deeds Day, this past Sunday, March 15th. International Good Deeds Day is an annual, global tradition that includes countless good deeds being done all around the world. Last year, over half a million participants in 50 countries worldwide gave over 2 million volunteer hours, making Good Deeds Day the largest and most far- reaching day of good deeds. People from all backgrounds, cultures, and ages have united around the simple idea of Good Deeds Day, and many continue to volunteer all year round.

Participants delivered Passover items to clients of the Jacobson Family Food Pantry, a program of JFS, which serves residents in need in the Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach areas.  The March 15th effort alone impacted over 100 clients. The balance of deliveries to the remainder of Food Pantry clients will be made by JFS over the next 1-2 weeks.

Event Co-Chairs for the Good Deeds Day event were Lisa Goodman, Patti Jacobs and Robin Siegal.  Siegal, who delivered packages with her family commented, "As a volunteer I believe you get more than you give.  We had memorable experiences with our deliveries and we are grateful for the opportunity we have been given through JFS."

"We are very proud to have been part of Good Deeds Day," said Danielle N. Hartman, President and CEO of JFS.  "The timing could not have been more perfect.  Although we make bi-weekly deliveries to our Food Pantry clients, it was great to have kicked off our period of special Passover deliveries on Good Deeds Day.  These packages include many additional items above and beyond the regular allocation that are special for Passover, which begins April 3rd."

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati is excited to announce that new funding will allow Cincinnati Holocaust survivors to receive significantly more aid in 2015.

A true collaborative effort among Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati, and the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education ensures the survivors receive care and that their stories of strength are not forgotten.

In addition, the Claims Conference increased its allocation to Jewish Family Service by nearly 150%, earmarking most of this funding for homecare, the social service priority. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service is hosting an information session on compensation and restitution issues for Jewish Holocaust survivors.

Ms. Deborah Kram, the Claims Conference's Client Outreach Manager, will guide a discussion on the Claims Conference's compensation programs from 10:30 am - 12 pm on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236. Adult children and grandchildren of survivors are welcome to attend. Learn more here.

The Honorable Ronald E. Richter, former Commissioner of New York City's Administration for Children's Services, has been chosen by the Board of Trustees of Jewish Child Care Association as the new Chief Executive Officer.

Currently a New York State Family Court Judge, Mr. Richter brings more than two decades of experience in child and family services and is highly regarded in the field. He will assume his responsibilities on May 18, 2015. He succeeds CEO Richard Altman who is retiring after 35 years of devoted service to JCCA and a total of 45 years in child and family services.
Peter Hauspurg, President of JCCA's Board of Trustees, said, "Ron Richter brings great expertise to this position and is an innovative and strategic thinker. He has a deep commitment to improving the lives of the vulnerable children and families we serve."

According to Mr. Richter, "I have worked with Richard Altman and JCCA for 13 years and respect their reputation for excellence. JCCA is an organization that puts young people first, taking some of the toughest cases and transforming lives. I want to build on that reputation and help shape city, state and federal policy on such critical issues as managed care, mental health and best practices for children and family services."

In the past 12 years, the number of JCCA programs has doubled to 40, the budget has doubled to $110 million, the staff has doubled to 1,400 and JCCA helps more than 16,000 children and families annually. JCCA serves vulnerable children of all backgrounds. Programs include foster care, mental health and preventive services, residential treatment, services to recent immigrants, education and early childhood services, and services to children with special needs. Its work is motivated by tikkun olam - the value in Jewish tradition that calls upon all of us to repair the world.

 

Volunteers from Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services will be participating in International Good Deeds Day, this Sunday, March 15th. Participants will be delivering Passover items to clients of the Jacobson Family Food Pantry, a program of JFS, which serves residents in need in the Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach areas.  The March 15th effort alone is expected to impact over 100 clients. The balance of deliveries to the remainder of Food Pantry clients will be made by JFS over the next 1-2 weeks.  The food purchase and bagging of over 400 units have been completed and was donated by Addison Reserve Country Club.   Event Co-Chairs for the Good Deeds Day event are Lisa Goodman, Patti Jacobs and Robin Siegal.

by Mary Blake

Although the economy is starting to bounce back, searching for a job is still not easy, especially if you have a disability or any barrier to employment. But there are things that you can do to improve your chances of getting a job.
 
Here are a few tips to help you in your job search:
 
Get help - We all need a helping hand from time to time and luckily there are many resources, both public and private, that can be of assistance.  Click here for a few local resources and to read the entire blog.

Shalom Bayit means peace in the home. The Shalom Bayit Program provides short- and long-term assistance to those facing physical violence, or emotional or sexual abuse in their families or intimate relationships. We strive to prevent abuse and to mobilize the Jewish community to create the social change needed to end domestic violence. We provide educational programming, advocacy and consultation, and we work to dispel the myth that abuse does not occur in Jewish homes. Learn about Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta's Shalom Bayit program here.

JFS Volunteers will be participating in International Good Deeds Day, March 15th, to do good for the benefit of others and the planet, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services is coordinating the effort of delivering Passover items to clients of the Jacobson Family Food Pantry which serves residents in need in the Boca Raton, Highland Beach and Delray Beach areas. The effort is expected to impact between 125 and 150 clients. The food purchase and bagging will be done in advance and donated by Addison Reserve Country Club. Event Co-Chairs for the Good Deeds Day event are Lisa Goodman, Patti Jacobs and Robin Siegal.

Good Deeds Day is an annual, global tradition that includes countless good deeds being done all around the world. Last year, over half a million participants in 50 countries worldwide gave over 2 million volunteer hours, making Good Deeds Day the largest and most far- reaching day of good deeds. People from all backgrounds, cultures, and ages have united around the simple idea of Good Deeds Day, and many continue to volunteer all year round.

Millions of viewers across the globe learned about Good Deeds Day through joint campaigns with MTV Global and ABC Network, In addition, NASDAQ honored the day in its Closing Bell ceremony.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado is partnering with Calvary Baptist Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mile High United Way, and Rose Medical Center on the second annual Easter/Passover Denver Community Food Drive to benefit the JFS Weinberg Food Pantry. The food drive will run March 21-29 at various synagogues, churches, and businesses throughout the Denver metro area that are joining this interfaith effort. The goal is to collect 10,000 pounds of donated food to feed the hungry at a time of year when food donations are traditionally low.

The Weinberg Food Pantry serves people of all faiths. It is the largest food pantry in southeast Denver and an important source of food and sustenance for people who have nowhere else to turn.

During the last blizzard, Delores Paredes trudged through the snow to look after an elderly couple she helps as a personal care homemaker for Jewish Family Service of MetroWest. On her day off, the Framingham resident bathed Ramon Camilo, a 101-year-old new citizen from the Dominican Republic, prepared meals for his wife and him and ensured they had enough food to get through the storm.

That mix of "professionalism and personal involvement,'' doesn't surprise Damaris Medina-Hernandez, home care manager for JFSM, who supervises Paredes and 21 others. Read the entire article here.

The Board of Directors of Agence Ometz announced that Howard Berger, Co-Executive Director, will retire effective April 30, 2015.

Since 2001, Howard has held leadership roles in Agencies providing critical services to the Jewish Community in Montreal.  As Executive Director for Jewish Employment Montreal (JEM - formerly Jewish Vocational Services) Howard built a strong and respected organization dedicated to helping native Jewish Montrealers and new arrivals hone their job seeking skills and to reaching out to the business community to secure employment opportunities for those so eager to work.  
 
Gail Small will remain in place as Executive Director. Continue reading here.

During the month of February, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago celebrated Jewish Disability Month (JDAM) and North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) by joining forces with agency affiliates to offer community-wide programs that raised awareness and responded to the needs, strengths, opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan.

"Jewish Disability Awareness Month is the perfect time to showcase the depth of our year-round programs, events and services that continually build inclusive communities for children and adults with disabilities and their families," said Elizabeth Wyman, JCFS Senior Director, Services for People with Disabilities.

JCFS offers a variety of services and resources  including respite, community workshops, inclusive camps and recreation, assessment and testing, residential support for adults, education and support groups, and speech, occupational and developmental therapies.

Events throughout the month included:  "Policy, Advocacy, and You! Success in Community Living for People with Disabilities" highlights successful community living that is happening in the midst of dramatic changes in national and state polices impacting people with disabilities and seniors. This program is beneficial for people with disabilities, older adults, their family members and the professionals who work with them. Featured speakers include self-advocates as well as policy experts from Access Living and Health and Medicine Policy Group. Read more here.

Hannah Mandel is the AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles. With around 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Los Angeles, Hannah has completed a community needs assessment, identifying the most important issues affecting the different survivor communities including survivors from the Former Soviet Union, child survivors, and older survivors. Hannah has used this assessment to develop three new programs for JFS as well as created a manual on how to best work with survivors, which she uses to train volunteers in these programs.

For the first program, Hannah applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the County of Los Angeles to place iPads in the homes of homebound, socially isolated survivors. Hannah approached the LA Museum of the Holocaust and is partnering with their 3rd Generation group, having its members visit survivors at their homes bi-weekly to teach them how to use the iPads, helping them become technologically literate, learn to use applications such as Skype to communicate with family that may be in another state/country, and provide them with routine socialization. This year-long program addresses a population in dire need of new programming.

Secondly, Hannah connected JFS with Nachshon Minyan, a congregation in the San Fernando Valley, where 16 families volunteered to be paired with 16 survivors in the Valley, adopting them into their family for a year (though she expects the relationships will last much longer). These survivors were selected because of their homebound status, social isolation, and/or lack of family in the area. The families will visit the survivors once a month, call bi-weekly, and bring the survivors to services, establishing routine socialization, which will subsequently improve their health.

Furthermore, Hannah developed a monthly art therapy class for survivors, providing another outlet for the survivors to express themselves and socialize with one another. Hannah is honored to be working with the survivor community in Los Angeles, developing relationships with survivors that have changed her life and relationships that will continue well after her time in AmeriCorps VISTA.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York has appointed Scott Hollander as Interim Executive Director. Scott has spent over 40 years in the Human Resources and Quality Management fields working with start-up companies and those undergoing rapid and dramatic change.

After his retirement, Scott was the Interim Executive Director of the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center for nine months. He has served as a volunteer and Board member with several nonprofit organizations in Albany County, New York and in Berkshire County in Massachusetts. He has been a Board Member at the Albany Jewish Community Center and also Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany.

Kathy Brodsky has decided to retire from the Jewish Child Care Association at the end of February after 28 years, 6 as a consultant and then 23 years as Director of the Ametz Adoption Program.

Kathy has developed and grown the Ametz Adoption Program almost single-handedly and is recognized in New York, and around the country, as a leader in the field. Her knowledge, expertise and devotion have made Ametz a model for high quality, sensitive and individualized service. Recognizing her contribution to the field, she was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2011.

In light of Kathy's retirement, the difficult and changing world of adoption and the need for JCCA programs to be sustainable and mission central, JCCA's CEO Richard Altman and the JCCA board have made the difficult decision to close Ametz at the end of February.

Jewish Social Service Agency most vulnerable Holocaust survivor clients will be the beneficiary of a new eye care program that is being established through the outstanding generosity of community donors under the leadership of Dr. Michael Berenhaus.

Eyeglass lenses will be fabricated through donated optical lab services, and donated frames will be fitted at no cost to the survivors in five pre-selected Maryland/Northern Virginia "eye care sites." Medicaid and Medicare will cover the eye exam; the new eye care program will cover all other charges. Learn more here.

Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida is set to expand its senior center this month to 6,800 square feet thanks to grants from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Patty and Jay Baker, the Brookedale Foundation and others.

Jaclynn Faffer, president and chief executive officer of JFCS, announced the organization has raised the $150,000 necessary to meet challenge grant from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation in less than five weeks.

The combined $300,000 is targeted for an extensive expansion at the organization's Senior Center, the first of its kind in Collier and southern Lee counties. Construction is scheduled for mid-January and will encompass approximately 6,800 square feet upon completion. Continue reading here.

Jewish News|by Shari S. Cohen

Getting older is challenging enough for many individuals, but for the dwindling number of Holocaust survivors, the aging process can be especially difficult. Survivors are more likely to be financially needy and often have few family members to help them. While their numbers dwindle each year, their needs often increase as they become frailer.

Fortunately, Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit has received a 106 percent increase in funds to help Holocaust survivors from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, known as the Claims Conference.

The $2.5 million allocation, compared with $1.2 million allocated to JFS for 2014, will be used  primarily for home care including housekeeping, cooking, dressing and bath-ing assistance for survivors. Continue reading here.

The Board of Directors has appointed Eric Feder as Interim CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services. Eric was the COO of Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for 13 years, and is an accomplished healthcare executive with extensive experience in all areas of hospital and non-profit operational administration. He has served as a volunteer and Board member with several not for profit organizations in Pinellas County, including Habitat for Humanity and the Urban League.

Jay Miller, Board Chair of Gulf Coast JFCS thanks everyone at AJFCA for their support and commitment to the agency. The mission continues and will always be to provide essential human services to individuals and families in times of need.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is pleased to announce it has hired a new Executive Director, Roselle M. Ungar, CFRE. Ungar brings more than three decades of experience to the social service agency whose mission is dedicated to preserving, strengthening and enhancing the well-being and self sufficiency of individuals and families.

A native of New Orleans, Mrs. Ungar is a highly accomplished non-profit professional with an extensive background in development, management, leadership training, community outreach, donor relations and event planning. Her most recent positions include Owner and Consultant for Strategic Nonprofit Consulting, LLC since 2013, and Director of Community and Philanthropic Affairs for Crescent Bank and Trust for the preceding 6 years. Learn more about Roselle here.

The Board of Directors of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta announced that Gary Miller, Chief Executive Officer of JF&CS for 24 years, will step into a strategic advisory role effective July 1, 2015. 

Rich Aranson, who has served as the Chief Operating Officer for the past eleven years, will assume the role of CEO on July 1, 2015.

Gary's  vision and leadership has resulted in the transformation of this organization demonstrated by tremendous growth in service capacity and delivery, resource development and talent management. The organization is recognized as a leading national model in the human service arena. Read the entire announcement here. Click here to read a message from Gary.

Growing up in this day and age is not easy.  As a pre-teen, there are growing pressures at school to be the best student, to fit in amongst peer groups, to please parents, to be involved in the community, and to put your best foot forward at all times.  It seems that as they prepare to leave high school, the stressors only continue to mount and can be difficult to navigate. Our young people are constantly striving to find balance and harmony as they embark into their pre-teen schooling and young adult work lives.

Samost Jewish Family & Children's Services in Cherry Hill is providing some curriculum this February that may help ease the stress and help local youth find a clear path through it all, by offering two new groups:  "This is Me" for pre-teen girls, and "This is My Life", a group for young adults in transition ages 18-25. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast, Inc. was awarded a three-year $993,000 grant by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) as part of an Alzheimer's Disease Initiative: Specialized Support Services Project. JFCS will increase system of care efficiencies and fill existing service gaps for people living in the community with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders or ADRD. Working collaboratively with community partners, JFCS will expand support for those living alone with ADRD, expand services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with ADRD or at risk of ADRD, and enhance behavioral symptom management training and support for family caregivers. Read the entire press release here.

Olga Semenova, a Program Coordinator and Certified Marketplace Navigator at Jewish Family Service of Detroit, has been accepted to the Brandeis Jewish Leadership Incubator. Ms. Semenova started the program with a four-day seminar at Brandeis University last week.

The Brandeis Jewish Leadership Incubator is a 12-month fellowship that strives to nurture a cadre of effective Russian-speaking Jewish communal professionals, fortified by superior management skills, Jewish knowledge, systematic understanding of the Russian-speaking and American Jewish communities, and commitment to the future of the Jewish people. The fellowship combines distance learning with residential seminars at Brandeis University and in New York City along with an overseas mission.

The program is designed for Russian-speaking professionals with up to five years of experience working at Jewish communal organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Ms. Semenova is a member of the first cohort of fellows. For more information, please visit the BJLI website.

Jewish Family Service of Seattle received a major grant from The Covenant Foundation to support a new educational initiative that will recharge connections to the organization's Jewish values-driven mission. 

The $109,245 grant, over three years, allows JFS to design, develop and implement Project Kavod, providing staff, board members, volunteers and others with opportunities to examine the Jewish roots of the organization's work and enhance their capacity to serve the community.

"Jewish is in our name, but that is no guarantee that the Jewish values that historically guide our work are discussed and reflected upon," said Will Berkovitz, JFS Chief Executive Officer.

"For people to process what they are doing within a Jewish framework, it is important that Jewish values are infused into the DNA of our agency. Project Kavod gives us a structure to launch this critical conversation."

Broadly, Project Kavod will create the organizational space for JFS officers, employees and stakeholders to discuss religious, philosophical and cultural concepts and texts with each other, within and across all levels of the organization's structure, and to create a shared language and consciousness. In its first year, the program is expected to directly involve approximately 300 people and will reach 7,000 households through the agency's communication platforms.

by Avi Rose, CEO, JFCS East Bay

On the first night of Chanukah, I was glad to join a large and spirited public gathering of Jews. We greeted old and new friends, we sang, we prayed, we heard words of wisdom and inspiration about this holiday of resistance and rededication . . . and then we marched together in the cold and rainy San Francisco night, calling out for justice for African American men and boys. We said Kaddish for those whose lives were ended far too early, and we stood in a silence that reverberated powerfully in the middle of Market Street. It was a proud, sobering, and altogether fitting start of this year's Chanukah season.

There are so many reasons why hundreds of us gathered together in the rain that night. Continue reading Avi's blog here.

ReelAbilities: Houston Disabilities Film Festival (February 8-12, 2015), hosted by the Jewish Family Service of Houston's Alexander Institute for Inclusion in collaboration with Houston's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities is a city-wide film and arts festival which uses the arts to promote inclusion and celebrate the lives, stories, and artwork of people with disabilities - making impact that lasts far beyond the week of the festival.

A robust and exciting array of films, special events, and extraordinary speakers from around the country are being featured this year. Check out the festival trailer here. Tickets go on January 15th here. Questions? Contact Jess Faerman, ReelAbilities Coordinator.

Being the sibling of a child with a disability can be overwhelming and difficult at times. For all children, and especially these siblings, additional support and attention can make a significant difference in their lives.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta is thrilled to announce a new addition to PAL! PAL has extended their services to meet the needs of Jewish families in the community. PAL will now be serving siblings of children with disabilities by matching them with a Big Brother or Sister in a one-on-one mentoring relationship.If you know a family with children between the ages of 5 and 17 that may benefit, please connect them to the PAL program by contacting 770.677.9390. Read more about the decision to offer these expanded services here.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services' sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time that JFS has earned this top distinction.

"JFS' coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high performing charities," according to Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. "Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars - a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. JFS supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

"In the current economic environment, it's important our donors trust that we're using our funding wisely in order to accomplish our mission of offering hope, help & humanity to those who need it most through our comprehensive range of programs and services, " said Danielle N. Hartman, JFS President & CEO. "Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters that we take our fiduciary and governance responsibilities very seriously." Read more here.

Jewish Family Service of Milwaukee recently opened another licensed outpatient mental health clinic in the Jewish Home & Care Center/Chai Point apartments. Due to the economic downturn there has been a large increase in demand for services at JFS. The number of sessions in all JFS clinical program activities increased by 36% from 2010 to 2014. In recent years, JFS has increased its accessibility in the community by offering services at a variety of locations. The braodened access to JFS may be viewed both as an impetus to the recent increase in demand for those services, and as part of the agency's response to that increased demand. Continue reading here.

Elderly Jewish Holocaust victims in the Baltimore area, the last of their generation to have endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide, will receive significantly more aid in 2015, announced Julius Berman, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference). 

In 2015, the Claims Conference allocation to Jewish Community Services of Baltimore will be $1.4 million, an increase of about $600,000 (70 percent) over 2014 funding, with most of the increase earmarked for homecare, the top social welfare priority for these survivors. The Claims Conference is also allocating $65,000 to Ahavas Yisrael Charity Fund for its food program for Holocaust victims. Learn more here.

Joining MAZON in the Colorado outreach is Jewish Family Service of Colorado, which serves the Denver and Boulder metropolitan community. Jewish Family Service of Colorado is one of 13 JFS agencies in the seven states who are taking part in MAZON's senior hunger initiative. Continue reading here.

Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services' sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time that JFS has earned this top distinction. 

"JFS' coveted 4-star rating puts it in a very select group of high performing charities," according to Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator. "Out of the thousands of nonprofits Charity Navigator evaluates, only one out of four earns 4 stars - a rating that, now, with our new Accountability and Transparency metrics, demands even greater rigor, responsibility and commitment to openness. JFS supporters should feel much more confident that their hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly when it acquires such a high rating."

Jewish Family Service of Colorado had the highest-grossing Real Hope fundraiser in JFS history, raising a record $566,000 when Sheila Bugdanowitz and Sheryl Goodman were honored. Real Hope supports all programs of Jewish Family Service (JFS), including mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services.

More than 550 people attended the 19th annual JFS event at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. During the elaborate cocktail reception, guests posed for photos on the red carpet, enjoyed cocktails and decadent international food stations and passed hors d'ouevres by Epicurean. A surprise highlight during the cocktail reception by Frequent Flyer Productions included stilt walk dancers, silk rope aerialists, and an object manipulator. Read more here.

Agency Honored for Management Practices, Flexibility and Responsiveness

Jewish Family Service of Detroit is honored to be among the four finalists in the Crain's Detroit "Best Managed Non-Profit" competition for 2014.
The competition recognizes non-profit organizations that implement effective financial and programmatic management practices, while demonstrating innovation in pursuit of their missions. JFS was lauded for its Health Care Navigation program, an outgrowth of the agency's highly-successful Project Chessed, which connected more than 1,800 uninsured adults to pro bono medical services donated by local health care providers. 

On December 11th, the Jewish Family Service of Dallas Foundation held a reception thanking the individuals and families who have contributed to or established a fund with the JFS Foundation. Established in 2012, the JFS Foundation supports the long-term viability of the mental health and social services of JFS through planned giving and endowments. Now over $1.5 million in revenue, the Foundation recently granted JFS with $40,000 for mental health services. Since last September, JFS has served 500 children and 635 adults in all of our mental health services including play therapy, individual and family counseling, family violence intervention, support groups and special needs services. 

One of the Jewish Social Service Agency's Hospice volunteers recently wrote a piece about her (and Leo's) experience as pet therapy volunteers. The piece was published by a local community's magazine, Inside Fallsgrove. Read the entire article here.

The concept of peer-to-peer fundraising for a cause is nothing new. Many of us have been asked to sponsor a friend in a walk or run. Kids have raised money for charities for their mitzvah projects for years. Adults have asked friends to make donations in lieu of gifts for big birthdays and anniversaries. Is there a more worthwhile way to celebrate a milestone event?

JF&CS is leveraging technology to make it easier than ever for our supporters to help us raise additional funds. Moving beyond the traditional appeal letters, our peer-to-peer fundraising platform provides the bar mitzvah boy or birthday girl with a tool to turn his or her passion into action, complete with the ability to reach out to a network of friends through email and social media and to illustrate what their donations will support. If you want to make an upcoming milestone more meaningful, consider the power of peer-to-peer fundraising and the difference it can make. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas and UNT Health Sciences present When the War Comes Home: Trauma and the Military Family, a community presentation and professional conference featuring Dr. Harold Kudler, Chief Consultant for Mental Health in the VA Central Office, Washington D.C. As the military downsizes, over 26,000 veterans are expected to settle in North Texas over the next 3 to 5
years. Reentry back into civilian life can be full of challenges. Many veterans find themselves unemployed and even homeless. Trauma experienced during their service, and even preceding their enlistment, underlies mental health needs, family violence incidents and even  thoughts of suicide.

The 18th Annual Janis Ablon Professional Conference is one way that JFS is collaborating to meet the needs of these veterans and their families. Open to the entire community, including mental health professionals, veterans and their families, business and organizational leaders and interested community members, professional speakers and panelists will address the difficulties adjusting to everyday life that veterans and their families may face upon returning from the military. These include challenges may include unemployment, traumatic stress, depression, substance abuse, family conflict, and physical and emotional health. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Service of Houston is pleased to announce that the Neighbors 4 Neighbors Network (N4NN) has officially been approved as a Community Service Program of JFS. N4NN is an innovative project for seniors who want to remain in their own homes. It connects neighbors; facilitates access to a variety of supportive services, cultural and social activities; creates an active caring neighborhood community; and provides volunteer opportunities.

This program is a volunteer-based, self-governing organization within a specific geographic boundary.

The Akron Urban League is a non-profit social service agency, National Urban League affiliate, and United Way affiliate, which seeks to improve the economic, cultural, social, educational, and recreational conditions affecting all citizens of Summit County, particularly African Americans, other minorities, and those most in need.

Women of Power Awards are granted to women who have made a difference in the organizations where they work and also to the community at-large.

Gizelle Jones has been employed by Jewish Family Services of Akron for 13 years and had been the Executive Director for the past three years.  Under her leadership, she has developed and implemented case management, counseling and community education services for seniors and their families.  Her newest initiatives include outreach services for LBGT seniors and a financial program to help seniors avoid scams and fraud. Continue reading here.

The Bay Area, as well as the country as a whole, is facing a crisis in dementia care. Estimates are that one of every two people 85 and older in the Bay Area has some form of dementia, and that by 2020, the region will experience a 49% increase in residents with Alzheimer's disease, not to mention other forms of cognitive impairment. Fortunately, Jewish Family and Children's Services of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties' Seniors At Home, the largest provider of senior care, is leading the charge for enhanced support for people with dementia-related conditions, as well as for their families and caregivers, with the opening of the new Center for Dementia Care. Continue reading here.

An alarming numbers of U.S. senior citizens (including many throughout the tri-county area) are either unaware of - or ignore - governmental support they are eligible for to get the food they need to alleviate their hunger and stay healthy..

This issue has reached a critical point as 10,000 "Baby Boomers" turn 65 every day with 56 percent of U.S. retirees having outstanding debt. One in three seniors is "food insecure" ("having limited access to adequate food") and/or disabled. Thirty percent must choose between food and medicine.

According to Abby Leibman, president/CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, one in six seniors lives in poverty and 65 percent of seniors eligible for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) funds do not use them.
 
MAZON is the only national Jewish organization focused exclusively on issues of hunger and is considered one of the leading anti-hunger organizations in the U.S.
Continue reading here.

Because of the rich and varied lives my clients have lived, I often reflect on the Jewish experience. It's deeply sobering that so much of our collective history has involved trauma, but we are a remarkably resilient and productive people considering our stories.
 
It was my privilege to participate in the Visions of Remembrance, Voices of Hope project at JFS. My task was to formulate the text accompanying the photographs in the gallery and, in order to do that, I listened to each survivor's taped story for that one small piece of truth that expressed something about his or her individual spirit. It was difficult to choose the words because so much of the testimony was compelling, and I was limited to a paragraph. I felt like each person's voice occupied a sacred space inside me and with every name, every location, every date, I became more a part of my history. In order to make sure dates and spellings were correct, I had to research them all, forcing my way through the inevitable images that accompanied the articles I read. In the end, it was the film footage of pre-war Jewish villages and neighborhoods that stirred me most deeply - the innocence of ordinary life before the storm. This clip is from one of our survivor's village in Hungary; she is likely one of the singing school children. Continue reading here. 

Each year, more and more Americans are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disability, or the frailties of old age. According to the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), there are as many as 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today. Caregivers are often caring for their aging parents while raising a family of their own. Becoming effective advocates for themselves and their loved ones is one of the first steps to making their lives more manageable. Family caregivers need to become empowered, proactive, creative, and resourceful in acquiring the information and the help they need. Visit caregiveraction.org and the National Family Caregiver Association website to learn more about National Family Caregiving Month.

If you are in the Sandwich Generation, caring for a parent, a child and sometimes even a grandchild, Jewish Community Services of Baltimore offers resources and services that can help. Their specialists in gerontology provide up-to-date information, expert advice and senior-focused services to help you in planning and caring for yourself and your family members. For information click here

Also, on November 3rd, JCS is offering a program on this very topic. See the Stuck in the Middle? Click here for details.

 

On October 24th, Jewish Family Service of Dallas hosted their 4th Annual Diaper Shower Benefiting the Community at the JFS Food Pantry. Collecting diapers and wipes for families in need in their community, this event was their most successful year ever! Thanks to donations from all over the Greater-Dallas area, they collected 45,305 diapers (15,000 more than in 2013) and 48,037 wipes (12,000 more than in 2013).

1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers and 39% of Dallas residents are in asset poverty. Security-net programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and WIC do not cover the cost of diapers, so the JFS Food Pantry has these items to help supplement the 120+ families they see each week in the JFS Food Pantry.

 

Carlos A. Hernández, MA, LCSW, CPHQ has been named president and CEO of Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southern Arizona. Jill Rosenzweig, chair of the JFCS Board of Directors, announced the appointment after a national search.

"We welcome Mr. Hernández and the leadership he will provide to our 73-year-old social and human service organization. His experience covers the gamut from services for children, adolescents and families, to community collaborations that bring psychotherapeutic counseling to children and caregivers, all with sensitivity to the needs of our multi-cultural community," said Rosenzweig.

Hernández, a resident of Tucson and most recently the Director of Family and Community Partnerships at Child-Parent Centers, succeeds Shira Ledman in a position she held for five years and Jeanne Anderson, who served as interim president & CEO since November 2013.

Hernández has served as director of quality management with Pantano Behavioral Health Services in Tucson, research project coordinator with Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a part-time social work consultant, a program supervisor with the Association House of Chicago's Independent Living Program, and a case manager for that organization's foster care program.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in sociology and social work from the University of Wisconsin and a Master's degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is a former member of the Pima Council on Aging Board of Directors and serves as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University's School of Social Work in Tucson and with the Pima Community College Social Services Department.

 


  

  
Carlos A. Hernández, MA, LCSW, CPHQ has been named president and CEO of Jewish Family and Children's Services of Southern Arizona. Jill Rosenzweig, chair of the JFCS Board of Directors, announced the appointment after a national search.

"We welcome Mr. Hernández and the leadership he will provide to our 73-year-old social and human service organization. His experience covers the gamut from services for children, adolescents and families, to community collaborations that bring psychotherapeutic counseling to children and caregivers, all with sensitivity to the needs of our multi-cultural community," said Rosenzweig.

Hernández, a resident of Tucson and most recently the Director of Family and Community Partnerships at Child-Parent Centers, succeeds Shira Ledman in a position she held for five years and Jeanne Anderson, who served as interim president & CEO since November 2013.

Hernández has served as director of quality management with Pantano Behavioral Health Services in Tucson, research project coordinator with Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a part-time social work consultant, a program supervisor with the Association House of Chicago's Independent Living Program, and a case manager for that organization's foster care program.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in sociology and social work from the University of Wisconsin and a Master's degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He is a former member of the Pima Council on Aging Board of Directors and serves as adjunct faculty at Arizona State University's School of Social Work in Tucson and with the Pima Community College Social Services Department

As they age, their teeth can end up at the bottom of their health care to-do list. But some Palm Beach County Holocaust survivors who need urgent dental interventions are getting essential fixes, thanks to 10 dentists and specialists who have volunteered to treat them at no charge. In a new program coordinated by the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services in west Boca, survivors who are agency clients are linked with dentists who agree to do free cleanings, root canals, bridge work and other needed treatments.
 
The program, called Dentists Assisting Survivors of the Holocaust, began in May and has already treated five patients. The family services hopes to enlist 20 dentists, prosthodontists, endodontists and oral surgeons for the program, so all the 300 survivors helped by the agency can get treatment if needed.

Many survivors, who are mostly in their 80s and 90s, suffered from severe malnutrition and other maladies in World War II concentration camps that affected not only their teeth but caused other long-term physical issues, said Danielle Hartman, family services president.

"Because of conditions in the camps, we see poor health more often in survivors than in other senior populations," Hartman said.

Hartman said the family services decided to start the program after hearing about similar successful programs in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Broward's program, started last year, has treated 48 clients, with 26 dentists and specialists offering free care, said Patti Sinkoe, a case manager at Jewish Family Service of Broward County. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family & Child Service in Portland, OR is  an active member of the local SAIV Chapter.  SAIV, the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence, is a world-wide organization co-founded by Riane Eisler, JD, a Holocaust survivor, author, attorney, and activist, see www.saiv.org for details of this remarkable organization.  As JFCS Disabilities Inclusion Specialist, Corinne Spiegel has been the voice at SAIV-Portland for some of the most vulnerable victims of domestic violence, those with physical and mental health challenges.

Corinne has participated in a community presentation, reading the voice of a Jewish victim of domestic violence in a "Women's Voices" event early in 2014. Corinne has represented the Jewish community at community events, including a special appearance by Rick Santos in September.  Rick is the CEO and President of IMA World Health, whose presentation on "Broken Silence" was a remarkable call to religious and community leaders to take action on the issues of domestic violence.

On Thursday, December 4th, Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta will hold the third annual ArtWORKS Gala Reception from 5:30-7:30pm at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Decatur, GA to celebrate "All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Creatures Great and Small" with ArtWORKS clients. The reception will feature close to 200 works of art to choose from, all developed as part of the pre-vocational program within the disabilities division of the organization. 

ArtWORKS gives JF&CS clients a therapeutic and creative outlet with art while also introducing a commercial element as clients learn to market and sell their art.  This award-winning program is highlighted every year in an annual art show.  Proceeds from art sales go back into the program for supplies as well as to clients as income.  To learn more about ArtWORKS, visit the website at artworksatl.com.

Project Shalom, a program of the Jewish Family Service of Houston's Disability Services for Jewish Families with Special Needs, was established to help those with chronic mental illness maintain a connection to the Jewish community. For over a decade, this special program has provided a place for these individuals to increase their social skills and reduce the likelihood of hospitalization.

Group Weekly Activities
Weekly meetings offer group members a sense of belonging, support and friendship. Facilitated by a master's level therapist, each meeting includes a hot kosher lunch and a planned therapeutic/educational activity such as:

*Cooking demonstrations
*Arts and crafts projects
*Dance instruction
*Music therapy
*Day trips both in and out of Houston
*Jewish and secular holiday celebrations

Counseling and Family Therapy Provided
In addition to group meetings,supportive individual and family counseling is provided to group members.When the family of group members are available,they are invited to participate in family sessions.

Psychiatric Evaluation and Medication Management
Psychiatric services, consultation and medication management are available at JFS to clients of Project Shalom.

Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service of Dallas is pleased to announce the 2014 Diaper Shower Benefiting the Community on October 26th. Now in its fourth year, the JFS Diaper Shower collects diapers, wipes and other baby items for the families in our community in need. One in three families struggle to afford diapers, and safety net programs such as WIC and SNAP (food stamps) do not cover the cost of these items. 

An adequate supply of diapers can cost over $100 per month, and for families in asset poverty (39% of residents in the greater-­-Dallas area living paycheck to paycheck), this expense can be devastating. In order to help make a difference in the lives of families, the JFS Food Pantry offers these items to the community, and the JFS Diaper Shower helps make this happen. In 2013, the JFS Diaper Shower collected over 30,000 diapers and 38,000 wipes. The JFS Food Pantry sees over 120 families each week. With the recent SNAP benefits.

Jessica Schaffer, 29, a 2007 graduate of McGill University, received the 26th annual Samuel A. Goldsmith Award at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's 114th Annual Meeting, which took place Sept. 11.

The Goldsmith award is given to exceptional young professionals who have shown outstanding performance in their work at a Jewish agency in the Chicago area. Schaffer, who now resides in Chicago, Ill., is the Safer Communities Project Coordinator at Jewish Child and Family Services of Chicago, where she works to prevent and combat abuse in Chicago's Jewish community.

In that role, Schaffer has developed training curricula for the Safer Communities program which have been critical to helping schools and synagogues implement new safety protocols. Under her leadership, the Safer Communities Initiative has become one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind in the country. Continue reading here.

 

When Jana Lissiak, Jewish Family Service of Seattle's Polack Food Bank Manager, looked at the 2013 city-wide food bank usage numbers she did a double-take, checked her math and then connected with colleagues in the food bank network to confirm her interpretation of the data.

Years after the official end of the Great Recession, food banks across Seattle continue to see record-breaking use. There were 750,000 visits to food banks in 2013, demonstrating a need that surpassed even the depths of the recessionary years. If the current 2014 trend continues, city-wide usage will blow past last year's record and exceed it by an additional 90,000 visits. Continue reading here.

 

Jewish Family Service of Greater Harrisburg welcomed new Executive Director, Barry Stein in August.

Barry has experience as a consultant with a focus on enhancing organizational effectiveness and increasing market share. Specific projects included promoting geriatric services, developing training materials for a senior care coaching initiative and analyzing statistical reporting and benchmarking.

 

Jewish Family & Child Services of Toronto is pleased to announce that Dr. Jonathan Golden, currently the Chief of Psychology at Kinark Child and Family Centre, has accepted the position of Director of Clinical Service effective Monday September 8, 2014.

As JFCS endeavours to be increasingly client-centred, and to broaden their impact in the community, they look forward to Jonathan's contribution as a member of the JFCS leadership team to enrich and advance their efforts.

Have YOU heard about the Millennial Voices Movement? Jewish Community Services of Baltimore is creating community and connections among young adults and empowering them in finding their personal voice. How? First, they are asking all Millennials to visit www.ifIknew.org/mv and to 'share your truth' by anonymously answering the question: "If you really knew me, you would know..." Next, they're inviting them to join JCS at the Millennial Voices Launch Party on Saturday evening, September 20 featuring entertainment by visual, musical and performance artists, light refreshments and interactive displays.      
 
Click here for more information about what promises to be an incredible evening of entertainment, connection and truth.
 
 

What does 'renewal' mean to you? For the participants at  Project DVORA, it's the process they're in from the moment they decide to call Jewish Family Service of Seattle. Just imagine... You've been living for years with a partner who controls your money. Controls who you see and talk to. Controls how you parent. Controls if and where you work, what you wear, and how you spend your every moment. There may be physical violence, and there is likely the threat of it. Your children are witness to all this and may be in danger as well. And, you are too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone. Continue reading here.

 

Alex Varnai, 93, of Delray Beach, like many Holocaust survivors, needed help arranging for basic dental work he had to have done. But, thanks to a new program, Varnai was able to get his teeth cleaned for free.

The new program is called Project DASH, short for Dental Assistance for Survivors of the Holocaust. It started in May in South Palm Beach County, as administered by Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services, an agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County. Learn more about the program here.

Why impoverished seniors struggle so hard to find affordable houseing in Naples

Ann is 68, comes from a wealthy Chicago family and lives in Naples. On paper, she sounds like any number of affluent retirees who journey from the Midwest and Northeast to spend their golden years in the Southwest Florida sun. By their 60s, most people in Naples are retired, comfortable, if not wealthy. But not everyone.

Continue reading here to learn how Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida, which runs the only senior center open to everyone in Collier County steps in.

Take the Wheel is a service offered by Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey's Veterans Support Program. Take the Wheel offers transportation to veterans, from fellow veterans and local volunteers. Transportation provided helps veterans in need get to their doctor appointments, treatments, and more . . .

Veterans in need must complete and intake interview and assessment by a JFCS clinician, prove their past military service and require transportation to an area VA facility, or wellness-related appointment. Volunteer drives must have a valid drivers license and registration, a clean driving record, and be willing to complete the application process.

PALS (Passport Around Louisville Service) is an easy-to-use, affordable program made possible through Jewish Family & Career Services of Louisville that helps senior adults maintain their independence by providing transportation services to activities such as:

*    Grocery Shopping
*    Medical Appointments
*    Personal Appointments
*    Volunteer Activities
*    And Many More!

PALS operates Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost:  $8 one-way; $15 round trips*
All PALS fees cover rides within a 25-mile radius. For every 10 miles over 25, there is a $5 surcharge.
*Additional charge for escorted services.
 
Contact Naomi Malka PALS Program Coordinator, at (502) 452-6341 ext. 249 for more information.

The needs of the Chicago area's Jewish community are changing rapidly - where we live, how we live and how we connect- becoming more dispersed, active and mobile than ever before.  As those shifts occur, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago is changing, too, taking on the challenge of expanding their connections to people in the communities where they live, work, worship and learn, and looking for new ways to serve the Jewish community.

In July, JCFS received a huge boost to its efforts to expand its reach beyond brick-and-mortar service centers: The organization was awarded two FY 2015 Breakthrough Grants by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. The grants, totaling $518,436 over three years, will allow JCFS to introduce innovative social support, substance abuse prevention education and addiction services to a wider, diversified audience. Read more here.

Recently, Rimma Zelfand, CEO of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston, spoke at a conference held at Simmons College. After her presentation, people came up to her to talk and ask questions. What are the odds that three people told her how the Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms program through the The Center for Early Relationship Support changed their lives as well of the lives of their loved ones?

The first person to introduce himself to Rimma was the husband of a woman who had premature twins five years ago. When the couple finally brought the twins home from the hospital, there was a lot of confusion and the mother was under an extreme amount of stress. Luckily, the couple contacted JF&CS and soon they became involved with the Oliver, Ian, and Serenity Wolk Fragile Beginnings program as well as one of the support groups in Newton for the families of multiples. The Visiting Moms program also came to the rescue, sending a compassionate volunteer to the home for empathetic support, guidance, and companionship. The husband credited those three services for saving his marriage. Continue reading here.

For new refugees, resettling in the U.S. is about more than finding a job and a new home; it's about rebuilding a sense of community and fostering new long-lasting relationships.

While New York and Chicago are large metropolises with vibrant inner-city neighborhoods and comprehensive public transportation systems, Toledo, Ohio is a small city with a spread-out population and limited public transportation, making it hard to get around.

Ghaziyah, a 63-year old Iraqi widow who resettled to the U.S. to reunite with her son just a few months ago, initially struggled to connect with a community in Toledo. The closest refugee assistance organization was more than an hour away by car in Columbus. Settling in was hard for her as five of her six children are in Iraq and she has never worked professionally.

The opening of HIAS partner US Together's new office this past month, however, is dramatically improving the lives of refugees like Ghaziyah. Continue reading here.

Leah Mueller, LBSW, Senior Services Coordinator at Jewish Family Service of Houston, was recently part of a meeting with Mayor Parker regarding the System Benefits Fund, known as Lite Up Texas. Also attending the meeting was Debra Danburg, Former State Representative Harris County, Carol Biedrzycki, Executive Director Texas Rose (Ratepayers' Organization to Save Energy), Laurie Glaze, Executive Director Texas One Voice and Joshua Reynolds, Director Care for Elders. The Lite Up Texas Fund provides discounts over the summer to help low-income households with electric bills to free up funds for other necessities (i.e. medicine) for our clients.

Leah requested that the Mayor's Office contact the various electric companies serving the Houston area to ask them to join a coalition to recreate the System Benefit Fund outside of the state treasury and to host a working group to draft a new System Benefit Fund statue which would ask other city's mayors and the Houston Delegation (House and State Senate) to sponsor and support this fund. Carol and Debra will go to the mayors of Dallas and Corpus Christi to request their support as these cities represent the other large deregulated markets. Mayor Parker agreed to host a meeting with the electrical companies to begin the process and she also plans to contact Representative Turner's office since he is the lead on this issue.

James Klinghoffer, a well-known philanthropist recent made a $50,000 donation to Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties' nursing and nutrition program that bears his name. A staunch supporter of JFS since the 1970s, he is responsible for initiating the James Klinghoffer Nursing & Nutrition Program, a vital, four-year-old program that provides older adults with support for maintaining a healthy and balance diet. This support includes much-needed dietary assessments as well as help with obtaining groceries.

One important piece of the Klinghoffer Nursing & Nutrition Program involves helping seniors with grocery shopping. Many seniors cannot get to a supermarket, have strained financial resources, and/or have a limited capacity to shop for themselves. Thanks to the program, many such seniors get the assistance they need with grocery shopping and delivery. The program also helps support three nurses on the JFS staff who specialize in diabetes care, heart disease, illness education and nutrition planning. These nurses act as medical advocates, providing seniors with in-home health assessments, ongoing coordination of care, and general assistance with dietary needs. Continue reading here.

On July 20th, Jewish Family & Children's Services of Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry (SHCFP) revealed their dazzling new Tribute Wall, created by internationally known local artist James Simon. The Tribute Wall recognizes the donors who have helped SHCFP fulfill its mission through their generous financial support and aims to nurture hope in the hearts of those who rely on them for assistance. Visit the SHCFP Facebook page to view photos from the reveal at the community Open House! Click here to browse photos.

In cooperation with Repair the World: Pittsburgh and NCJW Pittsburgh Section, SHCFP recently launched a new volunteer garden in Squirrel Hill.
The Squirrel Hill Produce to Pantry Volunteer Garden, broke ground in early spring and provides fresh, locally-grown produce for clients at SHCFP. Volunteers from Repair the World: Pittsburgh have assisted SHCFP staff members in all areas of garden operations, from breaking ground and planting produce to community outreach and volunteer coordination and preparing for the garden's first harvests. To date, volunteers have planted and cultivated produce including green beans, tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables, which will all be distributed to clients at SHCFP along with their regular groceries. Read more here.

 

For the first time in history, there is a large influx of unaccompanied children arriving at a U.S. border, requiring an immediate and effective humanitarian response.

There is no question that the long-term solution is to increase safety and opportunity for children in Central America. But, in the meantime, their basic needs for safety, shelter and food must be met.

Just as important, their well-being must be at the heart of every policy decision U.S. officials make. Under both international and domestic law, children who have asylum claims cannot be returned to harm. Furthermore, they should not be expected to represent themselves in court to make their asylum claims. We do not allow children to face complex legal procedures alone under any other circumstances. Why allow it in these cases? Continue reading here.

A Jewish Call to Fair Treatment for All Children, July 30, 2014, Washington Jewish Week, by Rabbi Jennie Rosenn

Jewish Family Service of Detroit's Mentor Connection program was featured in the Detroit Jewish News on July 17th.

Jerry Weinfuss and Daniel Whetstine met as strangers from different generations through JFS's Mentor Connection program. But over the course of more than six years, they became close friends. Jerry has had a very positive impact on Daniel who faced some challenging times as a teenager. Daniel recently graduated from high school and landed his first job, thanks in part to guidance and support from his mentor, Jerry.

The story demonstrates the profound impact that mentoring can have on both parties. You can view a digital version of the story here.

Colin has been with Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta's TeamWORKS program for over 5 years. He was hesitant to transition into the BizWORKS Supported Employment Program, as he did not want to leave his friends. While receiving vocational training, his job coach helped to prepare him and encourage him that he was ready. They began going out on interviews and he established a relationship with the HR director at Target (since his mom is a frequent shopper).

Once the right opportunity came up, he passed the interview with flying colors and was hired as a cart attendant. Colin's self esteem and skills have increased due to his increased independence. He takes pride in his job and loves the discount he receives!

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry Tribute Wall was revealed. The Tribute Wall honors the generous financial supporters who have helped the Pantry fulfill its mission, and inspires hope in the hearts of those who rely on it for assistance. Check out the photos from the open house here.

On July 14th the Ruderman Family Foundation announced the winners for the third annual Ruderman Prize in Inclusion. Jewish Family Services of Houston was one of the recipients and will receive $50,000 to continue their work and pursue new opportunities for inclusion in their local communities. The Prize honors organizations worldwide who operate innovative programs and provide services that foster the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their local Jewish community.

Jewish Family Services Alexander Institute for Inclusion - The JFS Alexander Institute for Inclusion is a Houston based initiative dedicated to engaging local communities in vital discussions on how to meaningfully include people with disabilities and reduce related stigmas. The Institute develops the leadership skills of key players whose awareness of inclusion brings the conversation (and ultimately action) to the forefront of their work, academic, or communal environments. In its efforts to increase awareness across the board, the Institute uses arts and education programs to change perception and trains leaders to challenge organizations to embrace inclusion in a proactive way.

Learn more about the award here.

Directors and staff at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago's Virginia Frank Child Development have realized a dream that has been incubating for many years: to publish a manual for early childhood professionals incorporating the work of over sixty years in the therapeutic nursery/kindergarten program and their experience in providing early childhood mental health consultation throughout the Chicago area.

This guidebook for early-childhood professionals emphasizes the importance of building strong teacher and caregiver relationships with young children to promote a secure, healthy, and productive learning environment.

The relationship-based phase model was developed at the JCFS's Virginia Frank Child Development Center in Chicago by early-childhood professionals with backgrounds in education, social work, child development, psychology, and counseling. It's centered on the knowledge that having secure attachments with a caregivers is the basis of optimal cognitive growth and development for young children, and that their social and emotional needs change. Continue reading here.

This real story focuses on the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program and shows how JFCS strengthens the lives of individuals and families in our community.

The Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program (Z-H ILP) is a highly individualized, person-centered supportive living program that enables people with disabilities to live as independently as possible.

The Z-H ILP staff takes the time to get to know each of the individuals they support in order to evaluate his or her needs and abilities. Clients receive training in money management, cooking, cleaning, household management, laundry, social skills and other areas. Transportation is included as part of this service.

The Z-H ILP is a nonsectarian program. Learn More About The Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program here.

Project Shalom seeks new members who would benefit from a structured social group for adults who have ongoing mental health needs. Participants have a persistent and pervasive mental health issue that could result in difficulty maintaining employment, but many live independently. The group members benefit from activities that are more focused on promoting social engagement than on therapeutic results, thus decreasing isolation and allowing participants to maintain stability in their lives. Participants meet weekly at Jewish Family Service of Houston and enjoy a hot kosher lunch followed by an interactive or hands-on activity such as jewelry making or arts and crafts projects, as well as field trips to cultural events in the community. The program has a community nurse who is available to assist with medication management, if necessary. Through the program, members celebrate holidays and other events together creating a sense of friendship and family.
 
This Jewish Family Service program has been active for twenty years.  A licensed  clinician directs and facilitates the group and maintains contact with participants to assess their gain from the program. There are currently spaces available in this sponsored program.
 

On July 1st Jenni Frumer took over as CEO of Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Services of West Palm Beach County. Now, former CEO Neil Newstein served as CEO for almost exactly 28 years to the day.

In a reflection Neil wrote about his experiences he explained, " What I think I've enjoyed the most after all these years, is the realization that, collectively, we have made so many lives better. And even if we couldn't make a life better, we have been able to provide comfort and support. Continue reading here.

Over the last couple of years, Jewish Family Service Calgary along with Jewish Service agencies in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa, has been participating in a project funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program. The focus of the project is to raise awareness and provide resources relating to the often silenced topic of elder abuse. The project's lengthy title - Pan-Canadian Elder Abuse Awareness and Education Program for Ethno-cultural Communities - is certainly justified by its wide scope that includes linguistically relevant resources development, workshop facilitation, and the production of an interactive socio-drama.

Each phase of the project presented us with amazing opportunities for connections and collaborations, both within and outside the Jewish community, all aimed at a common cause. At its inception, it involved establishing the Senior Advisory Committee, comprised of older-adult volunteers. Its members provide guidance and relevant perspective ranging from developing informational brochures, to directing the emphasis towards legal rights and responsibilities at our workshops. In order to accurately inform both service providers and community members about such legalities, we (JFSC) have been collaborating with the Calgary Police Service's Elder Abuse Response Team.
 
The final phase involved putting together a socio-drama, appropriately titled The Silent Crime, which is a play with a narrator who leads the audience in discussion throughout the show. Our cast of volunteer actors, led by our director Stefanie Lis, have been delivering heart-felt, thought-provoking performances. It would be an understatement that the responses from the community has been exceeding our expectations. It is so encouraging to witness reactions ranging from shock to curiosity to outrage. We can only hope that this awareness will inspire compassion and a sense of responsibility in all generation in hopes to eradicate the risks of elder abuse.

Tanya Muschanov, M.C. Shlom Bayit and Pan-Canadian Project Coordinator, JFSC

The Jewish Child and Family Service Winnipeg Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Al Benarroch, BA, MA as Executive Director effective July 1st. Al has made valuable contributions to JCFS over the last 15 years. He has a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology, and has furthered his education by earning several certifications and completing numerous professional development courses.

He is well established in the community and has built and maintained effective relationships with our partners. Al is well qualified to lead and guide our agency with continued success into the future, while maintaining the highest level of services for those we support.

Al succeeds Emily Shane who will be retiring at the end of June. We wish Emily all the best in her upcoming retirement.

Jewish Social Service Agency's Board of Directors is pleased to announce that an offer was extended and accepted by Todd Schenk, M.Ed., MBA. Todd will assume the position of JSSA's CEO as of September 1st. Todd comes to JSSA from New York City where he was the Chief Operating Officer at the Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services (JBFCS).

Todd has been in the social service field for 25 years, including the past 20 years at JBFCS in various leadership roles ranging from oversight of program services to fiscal and budget management. Read more about Todd here.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado recently received a $1 million gift from the Dresner Foundation of Detroit, Michigan, to establish an endowment in support of JFS's Family Safety Net Program. The proceeds will be used to help individuals and families in crisis with food, rent assistance, utilities, and medical expenses.
The Family Safety Net Program provides food, limited emergency financial assistance, case management, and community resources to individuals and families in crisis.

The goal of the department is to enhance intervention services by creating more case management and outreach activities, and developing additional support services to promote economic self-sufficiency.

Learning by doing is the guiding lesson plan behind a new elective for teens attending evening religious school at Adath Emanu-El.

The new hands-on class at Mount Laurel's Reform synagogue is called Repairing the World. It's helping to keep busy eighth- and ninth-graders attracted to religious studies after they turn 13 and become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. That's when entering high school, pursuing other interests and having limited time typically account for a significant drop-off in the number of students who continue through confirmation at age 16.

This is the first semester for the course, which received a $3,500 grant from the Jewish Community Foundation, a division of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. It is taught in partnership with Samost Jewish Family and Children's Service of Southern New Jersey, a federation agency based in Cherry Hill. Continue reading here.

 

Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County, a longtime regional leader in the successful resettlement of refugees from around the world, has launched the Western New York Center for Survivors of Refugee Trauma and Torture.

Erie County is among the five Upstate New York counties that are home to 94 percent of the refugees resettled in the state from Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Burma, Bhutan, Nepal and other conflict-ridden countries, according to 2013 data from the Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (BRIA).

The Western New York Center for Survivors of Refugee Trauma and Torture is funded by a $250,000 grant from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), the result of a 10-year vision articulated by Marlene Schillinger, president and CEO of JFS Buffalo and project director Pam Kefi. Learn more here.

Jewish Family Service of Dallas held their 2014 Woman to Woman luncheon featuring keynote speaker Bette Midler on May 1st.

The luncheon benefited JFS Greater Dallas. The event took place at the Hyatt Regency and brought together over 1,400 individuals from all over the Dallas and Fort Worth areas to celebrate the power of women in the community. Click here to view more photos.

Jewish Community Services of South Florida has received numerous requests for more information regarding their Kids for Kosher Food Bank
program, which was featured at the 2014 AJFCA Annual Conference session Cultivation Across the Generations:  Reaching Younger Donors.

Bonnie Schwartzbaum, Director of the JCS Kosher Food Bank has revamped the Kids for Kosher Food Bank website, which includes detailed information about the program, including start up tools. Visit the website here or contact Bonnie.

The Jewish Family Service of MetroWest is pressing for senior citizens in its catchment area to sign up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal food stamp program. JFS received a $25,000 grant from MAZON, the Los Angeles-based anti-hunger group, to recruit needy Jews and non-Jews to apply for food aid. MAZON, in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies and with funding by the Walmart Foundation, has offered grants to JFS agencies in seven states.
 
MAZON says about 1.5 million adults aged 55 and older are eligible for supplemental nutrition. "That number is staggering," said Reuben Rotman, executive director of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest. "We are proud to be involved in a project to address such a pressing need that ensures adults in New Jersey are feeling food-secure."

The State of Israel Bonds Kesher Award is presented each year at the Golda Meir Circle Luncheon to remarkable role models in the community who demonstrate an unbreakable Kesher (connection) to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

One of this year's three recipients is Jewish Family & Child Services of Toronto's own Director of Programs, Wendy Wolfman. Learn more here.

The State of Israel Bonds Kesher Award is presented each year at the Golda Meir Circle Luncheon to remarkable role models in the community who demonstrate an unbreakable Kesher (connection) to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

One of this year's three recipients is Jewish Family & Child Services of Toronto's own Director of Programs, Wendy Wolfman. Learn more here.

Arizona Public Service (APS) recently announced a $250,000 lead gift to Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix. These funds will go toward the purchase and build-out of JFCS' Catalina Health Center, a new 24,000 square foot state-of-the-art integrated primary medical and behavioral health clinic.

The new Catalina Health Center will serve 8,500 children, adolescents, and adults. Through innovative technologies, therapies, and integrated treatment solutions, the new Catalina Health Center will help children and families that are dealing with trauma, substance abuse, and other complex mental and physical health issues. Continue reading here.

Linda L. Burger, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Houston, will be the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Joan Alexander Chesed Award during the agency's annual Reel Hope...A Night at the Movies on June 1st. The theme of the evening, The World Will Be Built On Kindness...Olam Chesed Yibaneh, will be repeated as Joan Alexander, the namesake of the award, and Mark Brookner, JFS Treasurer, present the Chesed award to the honoree.  More than 600 guests attended the movie night and delighted with a video about Linda's 36 years of devoted service to the Houston Jewish community...the last eight of which were her service as CEO of JFS. 

Among the guests for the evening will be Lee Sherman, AJFCA President and CEO, as well as Larry Reader of Houston, AJFCA President-Elect of the Board and a Past President of JFS Houston. Continue reading here.
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Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast, Inc. received an $85,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation for its Counseling Services to provide specialized and evidence-based trauma care services to all clients and senior concierge services for the community's seniors, supporting aging in place.

The grant will allow JFCS to expand its service offerings to include trauma counseling and related services using a sliding fee scale. Additionally, the grant supports training eligible JFCS staff using evidence-based and specialized practices for treating children, adults, seniors, and victims of trauma. JFCS' senior services are also growing to include concierge services for a fee to help our community's senior's age comfortably in place.  The personalized concierge services will provide supportive services and case management, helping to manage the everyday and ongoing responsibilities that can be challenging for seniors and their families.

"We identified a need for trauma and senior concierge services within the community and Gulf Coast Community Foundation responded," said Rose Chapman, LCSW, president and CEO of JFCS. "Thanks to the Gulf Coast grant, JFCS is able to provide additional services to our existing clients and serve more clients in need."

"This project will enable JFCS to reach more people who need help while also making the organization and its good work more sustainable," said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  "It's a smart approach to ensuring a healthier community and providing greater opportunity for some of our most disadvantaged residents."

Learn more here.
 

Jewish Family Service of Greater Hartford's Executive Director Anne Danaher celebrates the Family Champion Award given to volunteer Judy Rosenthal by the CT Council of Family Service Agencies.

Sharing the honors with Judy this year was her JETS colleague, Ellen Cartledge.

Congratulations to Jane Deer-Hileman, Director of Volunteer Services at Jewish Family Service Seattle for receiving Seattle University's Center for Service and Community Engagement Spirit of Community Award on May 15th.
 
This award recognizes a community partner (individual or agency) that exemplifies the CSCE goal of creating strong reciprocal partnerships in order to foster social change and contributes positively to the development of reflective, creative, compassionate, and just student leaders.

On March 14th Jewish Family Services of Edmonton announced a unique benefit concert series (Legends of Broadway) that will bring three stars from three generations to the stage in Edmonton for the first time, as part of a fundraising effort to increase support for individuals and families in their City.

"For more than 60 years, our organization has helped Edmonton area residents in need and we now serve more than 4,000 individuals and families each year. We are absolutely delighted to be able to bring this amazing Concert Series to Edmonton audiences and to bring focus to how our agency helps our neighbours be successful in life. " says Jewish Family Services president Dr. Michael Alpern.
 
Contact Mike Campbell for more information.

On June 19th and 20th, the Faith Inclusion Network of Dallas (FIND) Weaving Inclusion Into Our Faith Communities symposium, in conjunction with Perkins School of Theology at SMU and Highland Park United Methodist Church,  will wrap up the week-long 2014 Summer Institute on Theology and Disability conference.

The symposium is designed to help local congregations and leadership of all religions learn ways to meet the needs of their members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Faith Inclusion Network of Dallas (FIND) is in partnership with Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.

"I went through many years of darkness and worries, which no doubt have left their mark. By a miracle, I was the only one of my nearest relatives who survived..." - Lore Hirsch

Jewish Family Service of Seattle has long worked with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to distribute funds to survivors of the Nazi persecution and to provide services like free in-home care and care management to these remarkable elders in our community. Visitors to the JFS campus are always struck by the photo gallery featuring portraits of survivors who have made their lives in the Puget Sound region.
 
Now, JFS is  pleased to launch the online component of this extraordinary collection of oral histories and to share the stories of those who persevered beyond the suffering they endured to build lives of meaning and substance. Visit the gallery.

Every year on April 2nd, organizations around the world aim to raise awareness of autism and how the diagnosis affects individuals and families. Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh provides many resources for families and individuals who are managing an autism diagnosis, and we also offer a multitude of programs and services that assist with other special needs and disabilities.
  
Most notably, JF&CS's Squirrel Hill Psychological Services (SHPS) partners with Quest Therapeutic Camps, a 2014 AJFCA Annual Conference sponsor in offering the Quest Therapeutic Summer and Afterschool Programs. Quest Camp was launched in Pittsburgh in the summer of 2012 and is a unique summer therapeutic day camp program for children ages 6 - 18 who experience mild to moderate emotional and/or social challenges. Quest Camp is designed for children with diagnoses including attention deficit disorder, chronic anxiety, chronic depression and high-functioning Autism (previously called Asperger's Syndrome).

"Quest Camp is a first-of-its-kind camp in Pittsburgh. The program is different from the typical summer camp experience; it is a therapeutic program designed to address children's emotional and social challenges while setting them up for future success throughout the school year, which typical summer camps are not equipped to do," said Dr. Jordan Golin, director of SHPS. "Additionally, Quest Camp provides a middle-ground for children who might slip through the cracks or have occasional struggles in a typical summer camp but who do not have the level of need that warrants a strictly special needs program." 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast  will honor and recognize four veterans at a Tribute to Veterans Service to Community Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 27th. Award Recipients include Richard R. Alvarez, SSG, US Army; Christopher L.  Davis, MSG, US Army; Andy Hooker, SPC 5th Class, US Army; and John C. O'Brien, COL (Ret.), US Army.

The awardees were selected from the community for their ability to inspire patriotism, provide service to others and offer hope to veterans while demonstrating collaboration, leadership, and integrity.

 

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati's Friendship Club enjoyed their trip to the symphony on March 1st . The Friendship Club is a program of Jewish Family Service's Center for Holocaust Survivors and provides monthly social-therapeutic activities.
 
The survivors were accompanied by Lilly Wolter (second from the left), who is a JFS volunteer from Germany. Lilly joins JFS through Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP), an international program which hosts young German volunteers who work with our Holocaust survivor community for one year. ARSP is committed to combating racism and antisemitism, and to supporting peace. Learn more about the Center for Holocaust Survivors here.

 

Since the late 1990's, Jewish Family Services of Richmond has facilitated dozens of adoptions to LGBT couples across Virginia. The history was unknown to the Richmond Gay Community Foundation, which was in the process of distributing $15,000 in grants, until it recieved a proposal from JFS in December to promote and encourage adoption among the LGBT community in metro Richmond through workshops and other resources. Continue reading here.

In response to the escalating number of seniors struggling to put food on the table, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger has launched a new initiative, in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies (AJFCA), designed to help low income, food-insecure seniors get the nutrition assistance they need. Solutions to Senior Hunger™, which is generously funded by the Walmart Foundation, is designed to reduce the barriers that keep vulnerable seniors from enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Jewish Family Service of Colorado is one of 13 participating Jewish Family Service agencies nationwide that have signed on to participate in this new initiative. With support from MAZON and the AJFCA, JFS is conducting SNAP outreach and education to senior populations, administering SNAP application assistance for eligible clients, and acting as a liaison between the client and their local government agency managing SNAP.
 
"We are proud to be part of this important initiative that will educate and serve an isolated population that needs food assistance," says Shelly Hines, JFS Family Safety Net director.  "It's a great opportunity to collaborate with many other local agencies to provide important resources for seniors." The program serves low-income adults, age 50 and older of any faith, who do not currently receive SNAP benefits. Trish VanDusseldorp from JFS will lead outreach efforts at community fairs and festivals, senior lunch facilities, and other events throughout the year to educate seniors and help them enroll for SNAP benefits. She is also available to visit homebound seniors' residences to get them enrolled.

Tuesday night's Jewish Family & Children's Service of Boston's Journey to Safety fundraiser, An Evening to Inspire, was an enormous success! More than 150 friends of Journey to Safety (JTS) gathered together at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown for a moving and inspirational evening that included music, monologue, and spoken word performances by celebrated artists and performers. JTS raised more than $133,000 to continue to prevent domestic abuse in the Jewish community and help those who have been abused find a path to safety, regardless of their background or beliefs.

This poignant and emotional evening reminded attendees that domestic abuse affects the entire community and that education and empowerment are vital to the prevention of domestic abuse.
 
View a photo montage made possible by Allegro Photography.

Salma is intersex. She was born with sexual anatomy that is both male and female. Salma identifies as a woman. She looks and sounds like a woman, and was considered female by the US military. But she was classified by Iraqi officials as male and felt ostracized.
 
In December, Salma arrived in San Francisco, where she now lives with roommates: Reuben Zellman and Erika Katske, a couple.

Jewish Family and Children's Services of the East Bay, the resettlement agency handling Salma's case, had just gotten notice that she would arrive soon. The agency put out a public request for housing assistance. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Service of MetroWest New Jersey is one of 13 Jewish Family Service agencies in seven states to have signed on to participate in an initiative that responds to the escalating number of seniors struggling to put food on the table. The initiative, Solutions to Senior Hunger TM is sponsored by MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger in partnership with the Association of Jewish Family and Children's Agencies (AJFCA). The program is designed to help low-income, food-insecure seniors to get the nutrition assistance they need. The program, which is funded by the Walmart Foundation, will reduce the barriers that keep vulnerable seniors from enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (SNAP).
 
With support from MAZON and AJFCA, JFS MetroWest will conduct SNAP outreach and education to senior populations, administer SNAP application assistance for eligible clients, and act as a liaison between the client and their local government agency managing SNAP.Required Bidder's Conference for Agencies Providing Emergency Food & Shelter Services. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego's Brenda Bothel, Meredith Morgenroth, and Marilyn Greenblatt presented on transportation solutions for older adults at last week's Aging in America Conference in San Diego.
 
When asked to reflect on what they learned among 2,500 like-minded professionals, they sent this great video. What's the BIG IDEA? "The Baby Boomers are an introduction to what will be a permanent shift" in American society.

After many months of searching and planning, Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina, located in Asheville, finally moved out of the JCC building into new, independent agency space!

With the new location, JFSWNC will be expanding and adding programs to better serve the community. This will include an expansion of: Case Management, Food Pantry, Job Coaching, Elder Club Group Respiite, and, new support groups and educational programs. JFS WNC looks forward to adding mental health counseling later in 2014. Their new facility includes a kosher kitchen so they can continue to prepare and serve kosher meals in the Elder Club and for Jewish holiday meal deliveries. JFS WNC's most important goal: supporting individuals and families so that they can overcome challenges and achieve a better quality of life. 

Jaclyn Faffer, President/CEO of Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida comments on the opening of a senior center in Naples.

We are a data-driven society. And that's a good thing. We, at Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida, utilized data to support the development of this senior center.

 For example, according to a study done by the National Council on Aging, 70 percent of senior center participants are women and half of them live alone. Continue reading here.

Music and film legend, Bette Midler, will be the wind beneath Jewish Family Service's of Dallas wings on May 1st the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
 
Ethel Zale, celebrates the power and impact of women in the Dallas area while providing substantial support for JFS' programs and services. For over 60 years, JFS has served the greater Dallas community by providing nationally accredited mental health and social services to anyone in need regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or ability to pay.

Judy Brier and Leslie Hahn, co-presidents of Jewish Family Service of St. Paul and Eli Skora, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater St. Paul are pleased to announce the appointment of Ted Flaum as the new executive director of JFS. Ted succeeds Rena Waxman, current executive director, retired at the end of the year. Ted began his position in February 2014. Read more about Ted here.

 

The newest volunteer community at Jewish Family Service of Seattle challenges its members to DASH - dare to act, serve and help - towards service. The group formed as part of an initiative to engage those 40 and under in volunteer work. For its latest project, DASH is hosting an online registry to benefit Refugee & Immigrant Service Center clients. Over the course of the drive, DASH will collect small housewares to furnish homes for newly arriving refugees. The drive runs through April 13 and includes an in-person happy hour and shopping trip to City Target on March 20th.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford is proud to sponsor this important conversation about mental illness. Too many people - children and adults - are not getting the help they need because of the stigma, lack of information, and confusion about where to go and how to pay for treatment.
 
Join JFS Greater Hartford and hundreds of other concerned people for An Honest Look at Mental Illness Friday, March 7th at The Bushnell.

Dora Sorell, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to more than 400 students at Berkeley High School on Thursday, February 6th.

Berkeley High teacher/librarian Ellie Goldstein-Erickson facilitated two assemblies with the 90+-year-old Sorell, who has visited the school before. She said she comes back because, "It is important that young people know what happened so long ago, and those who already know should not forget. I worry about that."
 
Dora Apsan Sorell was born in Sighet, Romania, in 1921 where she spent her pre-war years. Sorell was taken to Auschwitz as part of a wave of Hungarian transports in 1944. After a year in Auschwitz, Dora was moved to a second camp, Weisswasser. She was liberated two days before the end of the war and returned to Romania to medical school. She eventually immigrated to New York where she practiced medicine. Read more about Sorell here.

February is National Inclusive Education Month, and Jewish Family & Community Services of Jacksonville recently launched a program to support children, their families and educators who want to see special needs children receive the learning they deserve - and that the law requires. As part of the effort, JFCS met already this year with parents and teachers to assess needs in the community.

A local organization has received a grant to help needy area residents put food on the table.

It's estimated that only 30-percent of the people 50 and older who are eligible for food stamps are currently enrolled and a year-long project hopes to improve that number.

Joanne Lippert Co-Director of Adult and Senior services for the Jewish Family & Children's Services of Greater Philadelphia says many do not understand the food stamp program, also known as SNAP.

"We're going to contact all the pantries in the area, we're going to contact senior centers, we're going to contact supermarkets. The idea is to get to the places where people, who are facing these issues are, and set up a table or time that we can be working with these clients."
 
The MAZON Solutions to Senior Hunger Initiative, in partnership with the AJFCA and supported by the generous funding from the Walmart Foundation,  is a national initiative designed to alleviate food insecurity and improve nutrition among low-income seniors by reducing the barriers that keep them from enrolling in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

February is national Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month. The mission is to unite Jewish communities and organizations for the purpose of raising awareness and supporting meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Jewish life.
 
According to the National Organization on Disability, 54 million Americans have a significant disability... that's one in five Americans.  In 2010, the Baltimore Jewish Community Study revealed that more than 6,000 Jewish households had at least one person with a disability, be it physical, developmental, or a learning disability. Continuing reading this piece published on Jewish Community Services of Baltimore's website.
 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Louisville received a generous contribution from FirstCall in honor of local artist and real estate agent Frank Weisberg.
 
The contribution commemorates Weisberg's recognition for Outstanding Commercial Transaction of the Year in Kentucky. This award was given by the Kentucky chapter of Certified Commercial Investment Members in appreciation of a particularly complex commercial real estate sale.
 
Meghann Vamvas, a public adjuster from FirstCall, presented the donation to JFCS Executive Director Judy Freundlich Tiell and JFCS Board President Debbie Friedman. Afterward, Weisberg and Vamvas toured JFCS and learned more about the variety of services we offer to our clients.

 

Couples and families dealing with fertility and adoption issues and living as adoptive families will learn from a wide range of experts about the basics of domestic and international adoption at the 20th Annual Conference: Adoption and the Family. The conference, sponsored by the Ametz Adoption Program of Jewish Child Care Association, will take place on Sunday, March 23rd, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., at The Conference Center, 130 E. 59th St. in Manhattan. Now marking its 30th year, Ametz has been a leader in domestic and international adoption since 1984.

The keynote address, "Parenting 101: Before and After The Adoption," by Sam Pitkowsky, President of the Adoptive Parents Committee, NYC, will look at the unique parenting challenges of the adoption process and offer insight and practical advice on one of life's most challenging commitments. Learn more here.

This past Sunday, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh was recognized by the Somali Bantu Community Association of Pittsburgh for helping their community through our refugee and immigration departments.
 
 Aweys Mwaliya, president of the Somali Bantu Communication Association of Pittsburgh, presented Leslie Aizenman, JFCS director of refugee and immigrant services, with a Certificate of Appreciation for JFCS's invaluable assistance with case management, employment and immigration services at the community's cultural celebration. Continue reading here.
 

With the theme "Keys to Inclusion," The Special Needs Partnership (SNP) of Jewish Family Service of Dallas will host and support activities to raise awareness throughout February's Special Needs Awareness Month-part of a national
effort to raise awareness and navigate the journey of inclusion of people with special needs. The SNP works with local synagogues, day schools, preschools and organizations to bring education and community programming to help others better understand the daily challenges of disabled individuals and provide opportunities for inclusion. Continue reading here.
 

The first Spanish-language Whole Health Action Management training at Jewish Family & Children's Service (JFCS) was a great success with twenty participants from five Valley social and behavioral health services agencies. "We were very pleased to work with the National Council... and see this as a critical part of addressing the intersection of health and behavioral needs in our community," said Michael Zent, Ph.D, JFCS President and CEO.

Click here for more information.

When Sue Stellick, Director of Day Programs, Services for People with Disabilities, shared with Marjie Sokoll of Jewish Healing Connections the sad news of a young staff member who had died, she asked whether Marjie might provide a healing circle for people who knew him.  For the past 15 years Marjie has facilitated a monthly healing circle for JF&CS staff members. Sue was familiar with the healing circle and thought the participants in the residential disabilities program would benefit from one at this time. Read more on the JF&CS Boston Blog.

Colleen Rodriguez believes in adoption. Rodriguez was adopted as a child. Today, she's the adoptive mother of 3-year-old Nathan. And she is CEO of an agency that handles many adoptions. "I really believe that when you go through the adoption process, you are absolutely matched with the parents you are supposed to be with," she said.  First Coast Adoption Professionals is part of Jewish Family & Community Services, a non-profit social services agency. Rodriguez, a licensed clinical social worker, became CEO of Jewish Family & Community Services in 2011. First Coast Adoption Professionals handle as many as 100 adoptions a year, the vast majority involving adoption of children coming through the foster care system. Click here for the full article.

From Awareness to Inclusion, that's the purpose of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (JDAM), which takes place in February. The goal is to raise awareness and promote meaningful inclusion in the Jewish Community for people with disabilities and their families.  In recognition of JDAM, JCS is teaming up with Baltimore Jewish Abilities Alliance to present Through My Eyes: Reflections on Having a Sibling With Special Needs. For more information, continue reading here.

All of us have seen Atlanta in the news this week with the snowstorm virtually shutting down their city.  Click here to see an impressive list of what the DSPs (Direct Support Professionals) and other staffers at Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta did to keep their clients safe and cared for in the thick of the storm. This is also a great example of how to engage followers on your facebook page!

Twenty-three years ago, HIAS and partner, JFS Buffalo, helped Roman start a new life in the U.S.  Now, the former refugee from Moldova is a successful property manager, helping JFS find affordable housing for newly-arriving refugees.  Read the full article here.

Danielle Hartman, CEO of Ruth & Norman Rales JFS Boca Raton and Ken Moskowitz, CEO of JFS Broward County were interviewed by Jewish Life TV on the needs of Holocaust survivors in South Florida.  Both execs told reporters of the unique needs of the survivor population and how their JFS agencies step in to help. To read  the article and watch the video, please  click here.

When it comes to programs helping those with special needs, it doesn't get any sweeter than this.  The Soups and Sweets program is a collaboration of the JFCS Special Needs Department and Congregation Beth El. Soups and Sweets is a food service training program designed to provide young adults with special needs an opportunity to gain transferable culinary skills. For more information, continue reading here.

Project Chessed is a referral network of health care providers managed by JFS of Metropolitan Detroit to provide pro-bono health care to uninsured Jewish families. Project Chessed, an innovative health care program that became a model for others across the country, served nearly 10,000 individuals in the Jewish community by providing services, medication and even surgery from local volunteer physicians, hospitals, pharmacies and companies. Click here  to learn more about this program in the Detroit Jewish News.

Jewish Family Service Career & Employment Services announces an expanded program for young adults ages 18-34. The new Career S.T.E.P.S., Strategies and Tools Empowering Progress and Success, includes one-on-one job counseling, job placement, networking groups and workshops to any under employed or unemployed Millennial for as long as needed. Click here for the full article.

Brandywine Village Network Keeps Seniors at Home Longer

The Brandywine Village Network, a program operated by JFS Delaware, is one of the ways community-focused efforts are trying to make it easier for older residents to stay in their homes as they get older. There's a growing need for these kind of programs, especially in Delaware, which is projected to have the ninth-highest proportion of people age 65 and older in the U.S. by 2030.  Continue reading about this successful program here.

When it comes to programs helping those with special needs, it doesn't get any sweeter than this.  The Soups and Sweets program is a collaboration of the JFCS Special Needs Department and Congregation Beth El. Soups and Sweets is a food service training program designed to provide young adults with special needs an opportunity to gain transferable culinary skills. For more information, continue reading here.
 

Jewish Family & Children's Service is pleased to announce its partnership with the National Council for Behavioral Health tooffer the first in the nation Spanish WHAM Training on January 23& 24, 2014. Spanish WHAM Training (Whole Health Action Management) is an in-person, 2-day group training conducted exclusively in Spanish to equip peers to help the people they serve set and achieve whole health goals to improve chronic health and behavioral health conditions.  For more information, please visit www.jfcsaz.org

Starting this important conversation - and reducing the anxiety often associated with this transitional period - is the impetus behind the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA)'s "To Drive or Not to Drive" program.  The program's creator, Beth Shapiro, a licensed clinical social worker in JSSA's senior services department,  hopes seniors and their families will allow time to become comfortable with the idea of limited driving.  To learn more about this program, please contact bshapiro@jssa.org.

JCCA's Compass Project is one of the only programs providing comprehensive social, vocational, educational, and independent-living transition services for young adults with Autism Spectrum challenges on Long Island, Westchester, and New York City.  "The goal of the program," according to Evan Oppenheimer, Assistant Director of JCCA's Compass Project, "is to help our clients maximize their abilities, learn new skills, and lead active and fulfilling lives."
 
Click here for the full article.

March 20-21, 2014

Registration is live for this  conference addressing current issues of addiction.  
Keynote speakers include:
 David Sheff, Journalist and  Author of 'Beautiful Boy'
 Nic Sheff,  Recovering Addict & Author of 'Tweak'  
 Dr. Paul E. Garfinkel, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C) - Staff Psychiatrist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
 
Go to the conference homepage for details including the schedule and link for registration.

 JFCS is growing!
 
JFCS Sarasota is adding programs, expanding existing programs, and welcoming new staff members to the JFCS family as a result.  They have grown to serve Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties offering more than 26 programs at 17 locations to serve more than 20,000 clients each year.
 
With the expansion of their services to a broader region, the JFCS Board decided to update their name to reflect the wider region they serve. Effective immediately, please begin referring to the organization as Jewish Family & Children's Service of the Suncoast, Inc.  You may also use or see abbreviated references to the agency as JFCS or JFCS of the Suncoast.

JFS Dallas Director of Volunteer Services Beri Schwitzer had known about Sharsheret for quite some time, but it was actually an article featuring them as an AJFCA sponsor in our newsletter that turned on the proverbial light bulb that she could run with them in the NYC Marathon.  Read this article from the Texas Jewish Post for all the details on why running and awareness for breast and ovarian cancer are two of Beri's passions outside of her work at JFS.

This video, created by JFS Colorado, tells the inspiring story of how JFS helped change a Holocaust survivor's life more than 50 years ago and is helping him again today as a senior. Originally shown at JFS's fundraiser, Reel Hope 2013.

Clear Channel Media spoke with CEO Will Berkovitz,  JFS Seattle and Immediate Past President of the Board Emily Alhadeff about JFS programs and their role in the community. Listen here.

Last year, JF&CS Boston's New American Services successfully served a total of 182 permanent residents from 36 countries, with the largest number coming from Russia and Haiti.  JF&CS is proud to report that 100% of the program's graduates from the past year have passed the exam, successfully completed the naturalization interview, and received citizenship status.  Read more here.
 

Agence Ometz is proud to officially launch Money Matters, a series of financial capacity building workshops to educate and empower Ometz clients to help break the cycle of poverty. Ometz professionals are using financial discussions also as a vehicle to look at family dynamics, relationships, communication and planning. Money Matters is an Ometz initiative in partnership with the YM-YWHA and Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors. Read more here.

AJFCA would like to thank our friends and donors for your support during our 2013 AJFCA Friends Fund Campaign.  Your generosity will help us build resources, promote strategies and advocate for just policies alongside our members to benefit individuals and families in communities throughout North America.
Todah Rabah.

"With this new gift from the Rales family, the Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services agency's budget will increase by 20%," said Danielle Hartman, President and CEO of Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services. "This donation allows us to create the new 'Center for Families & Children,' which will reach an underserved demographic in our community. Further, we will launch four new programs under the Center's umbrella. Thanks to the generosity of the Rales family, we are now prepared to support and nurture the growing needs of our South Florida community." 

Read the full announcement here.

Social Justice Dream Team to Lead HIAS

HIAS, the leading international Jewish organization dedicated to welcoming and
protecting the rights of refugees, has announced three additions to its senior management team with
leaders from the Jewish social justice world, who will join recently appointed President and CEO Mark
Hetfield. Opening a new chapter in the nonprofit's 130-year history, Rabbi Jennie Rosenn is assuming the newly created role of Vice President for Community Engagement; Riva Silverman will join HIAS as Vice President for External Affairs; and Melanie Nezer is being promoted to Vice President for Policy and Advocacy.

Read the full press release here.

Last month, JCFS Chicago launched a new program, the Jewish Center for Addiction.  The Center's agenda includes educational, preventative, and recovery programs, with an initial strong focus on awareness and education.   The main message the center's manager, Beth Fishman, hopes to get across for anyone who is struggling with addiction is "there's light at the end of the tunnel. I want to lead other people in the Jewish community to see that light. The main thing is, there is hope."  Read more here.

Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles received a grant of $40,000 from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation to help fund counseling services for children housed at shelters for victims of domestic violence.  The shelters, part of the JFS Family Violence Project, provide refuge and support for survivors of domestic abuse and their children, helping their day-to-day lives become safer and more secure. JFS operates three domestic violence shelters in the region.

Continue reading here.

 This month, Lisa Budlow, who has served in the role of Director of Programs for AJFCA since May 2010, has assumed the newly-created role of Chief Program Officer.  As AJFCA continues to grow,  and Lee has spent more time working  with external national and international partners, Lisa has taken more responsibility for overseeing and implementing all of our many program areas.  In her new role, Lisa will oversee all internal matters, striving to maximize the quality and value of services to our members.

JBFCS
JACS Sober Birthright  Tour
jbfcs
There are still a few spots open. Call Sharon at JBFCS JACS if you are interested 212-632-4600.

Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit is the lead regional health care navigator for Oakland and Macomb counties in Michigan. JFS navigators and certified application counselors are trained and licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services. We help find the best coverage for families and to ensure that people receive any and all subsidies for which they are entitled.

Funding for this comes from a Federal Grant that was received by the Michigan Consumers for Healthcare.

Please welcome Molly Kern Rowles, the Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Portland, Maine, effective December 4th.   If you wish to contact Molly, her email address is Mrowles@mainejewish.org.

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County has received a much-needed award from the Griswold Cares Foundation. The Griswold Cares Foundation has provided critical support of the Partners in Care Concierge program. The funding JFS will receive will allow the agency to recruit and train 'Partners' needed to implement the program.  For more information continue reading here.


Please welcome Molly Kern Rowles, the Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Portland, Maine, effective December 4th.   If you wish to contact Molly, her email address is Mrowles@mainejewish.org.

Five years ago, when Shira Ledman took the helm at Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern Arizona, her husband, Bob, relocated with her to Tucson.

Now it is her turn to follow her husband, a professor of business, as he takes a job with South University in Austin, Texas. Ledman will be stepping down as president and CEO of JFCS at the end of the month.
Ledman "led us out of the quagmire," says JFCS board chair Jill Rosenzweig. "She will be remembered forever as the CEO who brought a viable business plan to JFCS."  Read more from the Arizona Jewish Post.

Interim Director, Jeanne Anderson, started at the agency on Nov. 26.

One year after the grand opening of the agency's food pantry in a new 2600 sq. ft. space in Delray Beach, Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service is celebrating the move's success in enabling the agency to do even more to address hunger in the Boca Raton and Delray Beach community. ruth rales new food pantry "We knew that moving the food pantry to a more appropriate space would give JFS additional opportunities to feed more people and store more food, and the relocation has surpassed our expectations," said Danielle N. Hartman, JFS President & CEO.  For the full article, click here.

Jewish Family Service of Delaware is proud to announce that the BVN has seventy members!

The BRANDYWINE VILLAGE NETWORK (BVN) is Delaware's first and only membership-driven, grassroots, concierge association devoted to vibrant aging in northern New Castle County.
Village membership is open to any adult age 50 and over who is interested in civic engagement and active living, and who desires to age-in-place in the comfort and security of home.

Contact Maggie at 302.478.9411 or at mratnayake@jfs.org for more information.

Construction is underway on Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida's senior center at 5025 Castello Drive, adjacent to the existing JFCS offices. Upon completion, the 4,000-square-foot center will provide a full range of activities, services and programs to support all older adults and their caregivers in Collier and southern Lee counties. "Compared with their peers, participants in senior centers have higher levels of health, social interaction and life satisfaction," reports JFCS President and CEO Jaclynn Faffer.  Click here for the full article in the Naples Florida Weekly.

Exploring the "J" in JSSA is an ongoing series of writings by Rabbi James Kahn, the Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA) Director of Jewish Engagement and Chaplaincy.  Here, Rabbi Kahn reflects on JSSA's inspirational work through the lens of Jewish wisdom.  His writings are grounded in  Jewish tradition, but speak to universal issues of meaning and value.  They provide a rich context for the vital services that JSSA offers and serve to nourish both the people that bring JSSA's mission to life every day as well as their clients and the community at large.
 
We invite you to read and share Rabbi Kahn's Thanksgiving message.

Volunteers in Action (VIA), the young professional volunteer corps of
Jewish Family & Career Services
, held its annual VIA Mitzvah Day the last Sunday in October.  More than 200 participants lent a helping hand and collectively completed more than 600 hours of service at 10 project sites around Atlanta, making this year's effort one of the most successful to date.
 
Click here for the article in the Atlanta Jewish Times

Reaching out to local communities is a daily activity at the more than 5,000 hospice organizations across the country. Every November, this activity is amplified as the nation's hospice and palliative care community observes National Hospice Palliative Care Month and raises awareness about end of life care and how palliative care empowers people to live as fully as possible, surrounded and supported by family and loved ones. This special month also allows the Jewish Social Service Agency the opportunity to salute the wonderful and important work of JSSA's Hospice program. 
JSSA Hospice was founded almost 30 years ago (and in fact 2014 will mark JSSA Hospice's 30th birthday!) and its mission remains unchanged today. We invite you to learn more.

For the past five years, Jewish Family Service of Dallas' Career and Employment Services has developed a specialty of career services focused on meeting the unique needs of veterans. JFS is pleased to announce that the National Organization on Disability's (NOD) Wounded Warrior Careers Program (WWC) - has transitioned the responsibility of its local WWC program to JFS - adding a new program model to their CES services for veterans.
 
As part of this transition, NOD is providing specialized training for JFS career specialists so they can best serve as a helpful employment resource for veterans, disabled veterans and wounded warriors. The goal is to provide long-term support and career guidance so they can obtain and retain employment, while regaining self-sufficiency. Read more here.

Last week Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas announced that PLAN (Planned Living Assistance Network of North Texas) has entered into an affiliation agreement with JFS. This new relationship will broaden both the agencies' client base and footprint to better serve people with mental illness in the Greater Dallas area.

Following an evaluation of options to secure their future, PLAN approached JFS due to JFS' quality of wrap-around services, accreditation, diversified funding, strong management and governance, billing, marketing and resource development experience and long-term continuity. The affiliation will provide for the long-term continuation of PLAN and even greater access and coordination of JFS services on behalf of PLAN consumers, including career and employment, emergency assistance and those for older adults. Continue reading here.

November is set aside as a time to thank, support, educate and empower family caregivers. Day in and day out, more than 65 million people in the U.S. are caring for family members who are ill or aging or who have disabilities. 
 
Read Jewish Community Services of Baltimore's current blog, "When Your Partner Needs Your Care."

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati celebrated the community-wide grand opening of the Barbash Family Vital Support Center on October 27th. AJFCA's CEO, Lee Sherman was in attendance. It is wonderful to see our community supporting this important Center that can promote wellness for families in need. Learn more about our Vital Support Center.
 
The Jewish Family Service Barbash Family Vital Support Center provides a new approach to tackling the growing needs of the most vulnerable members of the JFS Cincinnati community. 

JFS opened its food pantry in 2003 to a couple dozen people in need, and watched it grow to serve 458 individual clients by 2012. A 2008 community survey confirmed the need to transform the pantry into a full comprehensive center. The survey identified 1,100 low-income Jewish households in Cincinnati, and another 1,625 households that are just one car repair, one job layoff, or one health setback from descending into poverty.  Along with poverty, hunger, and mental illness come the hardships of homelessness, fear, isolation, stress and despair.
 
By offering a full menu of comprehensive services at one location, JFS professional social workers and care managers can best lead JFS clients toward stability, security, and self-sufficiency.  It puts the (kosher) food pantry, case management, emergency financial assistance, supportive counseling, therapeutic socialization activities, and health promoting classes under one roof.   

The Center is housed in over 4600 sq. ft. of newly renovated space with plenty of parking. This location is served by three bus lines, proximate to the over 45 zip codes served by JFS, and conveniently located near the community services that clients frequent for health care, behavioral health care, and benefits administration. Continue reading here and watch the video.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota-Manatee will soon be expanding its reach into the community thanks to the generosity of The Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust. The Flanzer Philanthropic Trust gifted JFCS $1,814,740 to purchase a building at 1753 Ringling Boulevard and renovate the 7,643 square foot interior. 
 
JFCS will offer counseling, education, social services, as well as community outreach programs at this new facility which will be named the Gloria & Louis Flanzer Campus of JFCS.

What does social bullying look like among older adults? Not so different than among adolescents, with the exception of cyber bullying. Most common are gossiping and spreading rumors about another elder, making critical comments within the victim's hearing, or comments such as, "You can't sit here. I'm saving the seat for a friend." This type of behavior occurs in senior centers, in senior living communities, and wherever groups of seniors gather.

Since Marsha Frankel, LICSW, and Clinical Director of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston Senior Services and the Director of Mental Health last blogged about this topic more than two years ago, JFCS has been busy seeking effective interventions to make a difference in the lives of older adults.

Last spring's incident of a 68-year-old bus monitor in upstate New York being bullied by 7th graders was posted on YouTube. It led to even more interest in the topic and questions about why the bus monitor did not speak up and why no one else intervened. JFCS has been developing approaches to help staff and older adults speak up when social bullying occurs. They have presented to senior groups including the Essex County Triad and Newton JCC Seniors and received very positive responses. Read more here.
 

Jewish Family Service of Colorado's Senior Solutions department has helped many people age forward over the years through consultation services by helping families, couples, and individuals create a proactive game plan to ease the stress of aging and the unknown territory that comes with it. The focus has been on helping people maintain as much independence as possible while maintaining control over situations that occur as we age. In other words, if you want to take steps to be better prepared for the future, you can work with a geriatric consultant at JFS.

JFS is formalizing geriatric services with the launch of JFS AgeForward Consulting Services. For a fixed fee, master's-level geriatric specialists will create an individualized assessment of a client's situation and provide a plan of action and referrals, as appropriate. A working relationship with a consultants can be brief, as needed, or can become a long-term relationship, as many consultants are also geriatric care managers. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix is sponsoring, "How to Communicate with Your Teen So They Will Listen - At Least a Little," an upcoming seminar presented by clinical psychologist Dr. Larry Waldman. JFCS is one of the largest providers of behavioral health and social services in Arizona. Click here for more information.
 

Jewish Family Service Agency of  Las Vegas offers a Meals in Motion program. This program is designed to provide individuals with meals that are delivered directly to their home. Whether the client is a senior in the community, an individual that has recently been discharged from the hospital or anyone who wants the convenience of an easy to heat meal, this program is designed for them.

Meals are delivered within 24 hours of placing an order and payment processing.

From now until December 1st, Meals in Motion is offering buy one get one free meals.

Sandi Fried was installed as President of Jewish Family Services of Kansas City on October 13th. Fried has been involved with JFS since 2006 when she joined the board of directors. She has served on the executive and nominating committees.

In addition to her work with JFS, Fried has been involved as a volunteer with a number of other organizations including Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and its Women's Philanthropy, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, and CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties.

Joanne E. Lippert will receive the Bernard Rodkin Professional Development Israel Fellowships, which provides an opportunity for increasing knowledge and understanding of Israeli society and its social welfare system.

Joanne is Co-Director, Adult Senior Services, for the Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia. She oversees community partnerships, donor relations, internships, budgets, personnel, and long-term strategic planning.

Recipients will participate in a 10-day Professional Development Experience in Israel which will enhance their community organization skills and career development.

The Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, November 10th at Merkaz Shimshon-Beit Shmuel [HUC-JIR] in Jerusalem. Read more here.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying has become ingrained in our society, and it's an epidemic that no parent can ignore. Here are some truths that debunk common myths about bullying:

  • Bullying isn't always easy to spot. Sometimes it happens "under the radar" and may not be visible, especially if the victim doesn't tell.
  • Some bullies may have low self-esteem but some actually have inflated images of themselves.  The desire to be popular, combined with a need to control others, can result in bullying behaviors.
  • Bullying can be a result of other problems in a child's life that are not being addressed.  If they feel unable to control some aspect of their life, they may use bullying as a way to gain a sense of control. It is possible they are victims who are being bullied elsewhere, and are taking out their frustration by bullying others.
  • Bullying isn't a normal or natural part of growing up.  The long-term effects on physical, emotional and social well-being can be devastating well into adulthood.

Would you know what to do if your child was being targeted?  Has your child witnessed bullying and stayed silent?  And what if you got a call telling you that your child is being a bully?

For more information on this and future topics in the Jewish Community Services of Baltimore's Parent Discussion Series, click here.

Abraham Lincoln. Gandhi. Winston Churchill.

All of these great leaders in history suffered from mental health issues at some point during their life. In America, nearly 30 million adults seek therapy a year for a mental health issue.

For the last 23 years, the first week of October has been designated by Congress and the National Alliance on Mental Health as “Mental Health Awareness Week.” People are encouraged to get screened for depression, learn about recovery and understanding and most importantly, increase awareness of the mental health issues in our community and erase any negative stigma attached to it.

 “A myth of therapy is that it is for ‘disorders,’” said Lynn Shyman, LSCW, Director of Adult, Child, and Family Counseling at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago. “Therapy’s focus is on an individual’s personal growth and positive evolution.”

While therapy certainly can help those with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or depression, it can also help with the things that occur in our day-to-day lives. Everyone’s life has problems now and again. A loved one can pass away. You could lose your job. You might be going through a rough patch in your marriage or relationship. You may simply want to improve your well-being.

Whatever the issue is, there are professionals available to talk to and seek guidance from in order to live the life you want to live. Continue reading here.

Michael E. Blimes recently was named Vice President for Philanthropy for Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern Arizona. Blimes brings four decades in the fundraising profession to his new position. He has held executive fundraising positions at major public universities, private colleges, symphony orchestras, as well as healthcare and a national association for the protection of children and animals.

Blimes most recently served as Vice President for Philanthropy with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. His tenure at JFCS began September 9th.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service's Meals on Wheels program was featured in the Palm Beach Sun Sentinel on September 24th.

Frail seniors who no longer cook can get nutritious meals delivered to their homes, courtesy of a new service that seeks to alleviate cuts to government food programs.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service, a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, has started its own Meals On Wheels program, targeted at the homebound elderly who lack the strength to make their own food.

The new service has16 clients but can accommodate about 50, said Danielle Hartman, family service president. Seniors whose incomes are at 150 percent of poverty level or below can get the meals for free, while others pay $3.50 or $7 per meal, depending on their incomes. Continue reading here.

October is both National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta's Tools for Life is proud to recognize these causes by partnering on two community programs:

Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse (H.A.M.S.A.), is partnering with the Atlanta Rabbinical Association for the first Community-Wide Substance Abuse Awareness Shabbat, October 4th-6th. This Shabbat weekend is designed to educate and inform our community about substance abuse and to show understanding toward and help advocate for those in our community who are in recovery.

Shalom Bayit is proud to partner with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta's Women & Philanthropy Division to present a women's community event to educate Jewish women about domestic violence in the home on November 12th at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy's Performing Arts Center.

Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service just received a grant from the Herbert Bearman Foundation to bring Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to the Jewish and senior communities of Palm Beach County that they serve.  MHFA is an evidenced based program that has been taught to more than 150,000 people in the US since 2008. The funding will allow Alpert JFCS to obtain national training certification, and then implement the program for individuals in their community.

Much like medical First Aid and CPR, the goal of Mental Health First Aid is to create a community knowledgeable in responding to potential mental health crises, and getting help early, when indicated.  MHFA is designed to destigmatize mental illness, and mitigate against the isolation and despair that often accompany severe and persistent mental illness, and too often, contributes to a worsening of symptoms, up to and including suicidal behavior.

Join the Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services for a full day conference with inspirational keynotes, workshops and panel presentation.
 
26th Annual Bikur Cholim Conference
Renew a Steadfast Spirit Within Me: Illness and the Bikur Cholim Response

Sunday, November 10th
UJA-Federation of NY
130 E. 59 Street
New York
9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Keynotes will be given by Rabbi Simkah Y. Weintraub, LCSW and Israela Myerestein, LCSW-C, LCMFT.

Workshops and plenary presentation will include:  Essential Visiting Skills, Preparing an Ethical Will, Using the Telephone to Visit, Practical Jewish Spirituality:  Tools for Coping and Healing.

 To learn more and register, click here.

WATCH a 7 minute clip of highlights from the 25th Annual Bikur Cholim Conference.

In September, Jewish Family Services of Colorado's volunteer para-chaplains and Rabbi Eliot Baskin, Jewish community chaplain, led High Holy Day services for Jewish residents at more than 30 locations throughout metro Denver and Boulder.

Para-chaplain volunteers serve Jewish individuals in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, retirement communities, mental health centers, and correctional facilities.

"These invaluable volunteer para-chaplains help create a warm Jewish connection and provide spiritual support by making a difference in the lives of people suffering from serious illness or isolation," said Nancy Benyamin, JFS's director of volunteer services.

Congratulations to Rose Chapman, President/CEO of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota, Manatee who celebrated her 20th anniversary at JFCS on August 26th.

Under Rose's leadership, JFCS has grown to become a leading social service organization offering 26 programs at 16 locations throughout Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota Counties in Florida.
 
Watch Rose's anniversary video here.

Jewish Family Service Agency of Las Vegas, in partnership with Three Square Food Bank, has launched the Senior Share Food Program. This program provides seniors over the age of 60 with supplemental groceries.

Applicants who are at least 60, have a chronic condition, and are already receiving food assistance are eligible. Volunteer Coordinator, Brenda Jepson, leads a team of loyal volunteers who are willing to pick up these groceries at JFSA and  drive across the valley twice per month to deliver them to seniors in need.  
 
The first delivery was a huge success. Read more here.

Jewish Social Service Agency Hospice volunteer Rita Rubenstein will be inducted into the 2013 Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in October!
A volunteer with JSSA Hospice for the past three years, Rita Rubenstein has visited a variety of patients, bringing them companionship and comfort in the last stage of their lives.

For Rita, volunteering with people facing the end of their lives feels like a natural extension of her dream of becoming a nurse. A Holocaust survivor, Rita is all too familiar with death and wanted to "give back to the community." Prior to her retirement, Rita was an elementary school teacher and later a principal of a Yiddish school. She is a singer in a local group, and often sings and speaks Yiddish with her patients. Rita also likes to read short stories with patients. With one patient who lived in a nursing home and missed the outdoors, Rita took her outside on her weekly visits until the patient became bedbound. Then, they looked at nature together through the facility window, reading and singing about birds. Rita finds the work "very rewarding" and states that "it makes me feel wonderful."

Rita will be honored at the MSCHF Awards Luncheon on October 17th in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado will honor Norman Brownstein and Rabbi Steven and The Honorable State Senator Joyce Foster at its 18th annual benefit film screening, Reel Hope, on December 2nd.

Reel Hope supports all programs of JFS, including mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services.

Community members are invited to pay tribute to Norm Brownstein as he receives the 2013 Kal Zeff Business Leader of the Year Award, and the Fosters who will accept the 2013 Jack Shapiro Community Service Award. Read more here.

A new grant allows Jewish Family & Children's Service of Minneapolis to provide free services to people who've lost their jobs due to a layoff.

Deciding on a course of action after a job loss can be overwhelming. Working with JFCS helps people make strategic decisions about their professional future, including whether to look for work in the same field or transition to a different job or industry.

To move workers back into employment as quickly as possible, JFCS provides customized services including: career counseling and assessments, job search assistance, education planning and retraining along with emergency financial assistance. For more information click here.

Vote for Jewish Family Service of New Haven to Win an Extreme Charity Makeover. This includes a new website, new logo and branding and all sorts of marketing and communication materials to use!

One vote per IP address per day. So if you share a computer with someone, only one of you can vote daily. Please Vote every day until September 30th, 2013. Vote here.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Philadelphia staff member, Joanne Lippert, was recently honored with The Bernard Rodkin Professional Development Israel Fellowship, which provides an opportunity to study, learn, and bring back service delivery strategies from Israel.

Six people from North America were chosen for this prestigious fellowship. As a Rodkin Fellow, Joanne will have opportunity to travel to Israel in November for 10 days to look at Israeli social service agencies and explore their programs and program delivery methods; the trip will culminate with attendance at the JFNA General Assembly in Jerusalem. Continue reading here.

In March 2013, the Budget Control Act - the sequester - triggered a 5.1% cut to the federal budget. While that may sound like a small percentage in the grand scheme of things, domestic social support programs suffer disproportionately as cities and states make heartbreaking choices, slashing local services and programs to implement Congress's cuts of $26.1 billion.

These cuts are a slippery slope toward homelessness for many. In New York City alone, a shortfall of $42 million for Section 8 vouchers is putting 3,400 households at risk, according to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

New York youth are greatly affected by this but can be helped via the Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services, which operates supportive housing units for youth aging out of foster care. Continue reading here.

Trickle-down Sequester, July 8, 2013, Zeek, by Suzanne Reisman

The Union Bank Foundation presented Jewish Family Service of San Diego' Ways to Work program with a $5,000 check. This year, Ways to Work will provide more than 50 working families who have poor or no credit with an auto loan to purchase a pre-owned vehicle for the purposes of commuting to school or work.

Read more about Ways to Work here
.

Holocaust survivors face particular challenges during aging, as past traumas and losses often resurface.

Read about the issues and how the Jewish Family & Children's Service of East Bay community responded in the August 9th issue of Jewish News Weekly.
 

Jewish Family Service of Colorado recently received a $40,000 Season to Share grant through the Denver Post Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund, for its Family Safety Net (FSN) program, which strives to prevent homelessness by promoting self-sufficiency.

Most of the funds will go toward general operating expenses for this program to provide individuals and families in crisis care management, limited emergency financial assistance, and food.

The funds will also assist JFS to implement an innovative program, "Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-by-World." This distinctive 40-hour workshop series helps families at risk for homelessness identify the underlying causes of poverty, increase financial literacy, and design a personalized action plan for escaping poverty and achieving long-term self-sufficiency. Read more here.

Jewish Family & Community Services of Jacksonville, has a vision - a vision for all Jacksonville families, no matter what their circumstances, to receive the help and assistance they need.

The Achievers for Life program, a United Way-funded program that addresses the challenges of keeping students on track for high school graduation, is one step in the right direction. JFCS has been involved with Achievers for Life since the program began in 2007. Last year alone, more than 1,100 families received services ranging from weekly mentoring and family counseling to parent training and academic planning. Read more here.

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore is proud to have been selected by the United States Department of Labor and IAJVS (International Association of Jewish Vocational Services) to be a partner in The Career Gateway.  The Career Gateway is a way to access a world of online resources, information, and supports that helps jobseekers be more successful in finding and securing employment.
 
It includes career information, job leads, and links to training programs and job placement services, plus powerful tools to advance any job search.  Unlock the full potential at GatewayToCareers.com.  
 

The Governance Board of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix has announced the appointment of two new board members: Jay Fruchtman and Jeffrey Packer, D.O.

Jay, who resides in Scottsdale, AZ, has over twenty years of experience in the Financial Services industry, currently as a Senior Vice President at Bank of America. Jay is an active member of Congregation Or Chadash Men's Club, and has held previous Community Board roles with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as Junior Achievement.

Jeffrey, a physician, resides in Paradise Valley, AZ. Originally from South New Jersey, he has specialized in Nephrology for over 33 years. Jeffrey is a current member of the Valley Beit Midrash Board of Trustees and the Innovating Worthy Projects Foundation Board of Directors. Continue reading here.
 

The Jewish Social Service Agency has launched a new fee-based  one-on-one LinkedIn coaching service in the metro DC area. Given the popularity of JSSA's free LinkedIn workshops for both beginners and intermediate-level users in the past two years, JSSA has created a buzz in the professional community and among their broad base of clients  for such a service.
 
Coaching is provided by JSSA's Martin Tillman, MA, Employment Relations Specialist. Mr. Tillman manages JSSA's fast growing LinkedIn group and maintains business relationships with employers and staffing agencies in the metro DC area to identify employment opportunities for JSSA clients. Learn more about JSSA's LinkedIn coaching and workshop programs.
 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Philadelphia's Project Empower Giving Circle recently celebrated its 2nd Anniversary at Coyote Crossing. Over 60 people attended, ate great food, and learned about ways in which Project Empower helps those in need throughout the community.
 
Guests were given a hands on opportunity to vote on a JFCS program to support. The program that was chosen was the JFCS' Child Welfare program. Click here to view photos.
 

This past week at Jewish Family & Children's Services of Minneapolis launched a new website.  The excitement was similar to how people felt when the first astronauts touched down on the moon!   

Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but JFCS is truly in awe of what their new communications tool can do thanks to their creative and talented staff who designed the site, carefully determining how best they might communicate with the community.  Visit the site.


 

At the end of July, Roberta Glick, LCPC, NCC, a JVS Chicago Career Counselor, and Rosalie Greenberger, LCSW and Family Life Educator at  Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago will begin a new session of "Staying Motivated in a Tough Job Market," a four week education and support group presented jointly by JVS Chicago and JCFS for 18 years.

"Looking for a job takes an enormous amount of emotional energy," said Glick. "The program takes a holistic view of the person and the process the person is going through. It acknowledges the psychological impact of long-term unemployment and provides practical job search and career building support."
 
This program is one example of the perfect melding of the expertise of JCFS and JVS Chicago to provide services to the community. On July 1st this joint approach became formalized with JCFS and JVS entering into a strategic alliance to provide integrated services. Building on the foundation of each organization, the alliance allows them to provide enhanced comprehensive services to those in need throughout the community. Read more here.
 

The JOY Club at the LJCC has been a staple for seniors for more than 20 years, and has over 100 members. One of the many ways these seniors stay active is to go on outings together around town, particularly the symphony, the ballet, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. While only 15-20 people may choose to go on each outing, it is still a bit difficult to coordinate volunteer drivers and a 5-car caravan to downtown destinations. LJCC Executive Director Betzy Lynch had a great idea . . . for safety and convenience, call on Buz-A-Bus!
 
Mindy Cohen, Director of Senior Programs at the LJCC, approached Collat Jewish Family Services of Birmingham about a partnership to safely transport JOY Club participants from the J to various places in Birmingham. Before nailing down the business details, they decided to give the idea a "trial run," so plans were made to transport the seniors to the Birmingham Symphony on May 10th.  Continue reading here.
 

Happy summer campers are once again collecting food and raising funds for the Jewish Family & Career Services of Louisville Food Pantry during the JCC Summer Camp Caring & Sharing Week.  From July 22-26, campers will raise funds with carwashes, dance-a-thons, "Chanukah in July" sales, bake sales and more.  
   
This collaboration between JFCS and the JCC provides an opportunity for children to learn and to put into action the concepts of mitzvoth and Tikkun Olam.
 

Michael S. Steiner is the new Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of New Orleans. He replaces Deena Gerber, LCSW, who is retiring after holding the position for 19 years. Mr. Steiner is a seasoned health care executive with 30 years of academic medicine and teaching hospital management experience. He has held senior executive positions at health care institutions in New York, New Jersey, Texas and Mississippi and was a health care strategic planning consultant for Deloitte & Touche. Continue reading here.


 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota-Manatee recently implemented a Board Advocacy Committee Chaired by Board member Adrea Seligsohn. Advocacy issues approved by the Board of Directors include Medicaid Expansion
and Family Homelessness.
 
The Advocacy Committee hosted a Housing Summit on May 30th to bring together a diverse group of community representatives to encourage collaboration
and elevate the awareness of the issue of family homelessness in Sarasota County. Continue reading here.
 

Jewish Children's Regional Service was able to secure more than $28,000 to provide camp scholarships for Jewish youth from outside major cities. An anonymous donor matched new and lapsed donor gifts up to $14,000 for this initiative. Originally planned to run for six months, JCRS was able to reach the maximum match in only two months time! With an average camp scholarship of $500+, JCRS is now able to provide over 50 additional opportunities for Jewish youth from small and rural communities to attend Jewish sleep-away camps.
 

Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey announced the no-cost Stan Kessler Career and Entrepreneurial Counseling Services seminar, "Professional Networking Made Easy" on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.  The seminar featured marketing and communications experts from the Rutgers University School of Business - Camden, Samantha Collier and Kim Richmond.

The seminar focused on educating and guiding those interested in fully and properly utilizing professional networking skills cultivate employment opportunities, to develop business partnerships, foster relationships, and enhance awareness of personal brand. Continue reading here.

The Jewish Family & Children's Service of Minneapolis' Annual Meeting was a wonderful celebration featuring Annette Sandler, JFCS Aging and Disability Services Director, who spoke on "Strengthening Community Through Partnerships," a celebration of JFCS and the City of St. Louis Park.

The evening also honored long-term Board and staff members, along with celebrating outgoing Board President Robin Landy and installing new President Howard Zack. Jeff Mirviss received the 2013 JFCS Spirit Award. To see pictures of the special evening, click here.

Last month, Leslie Aizenman, director of refugee services at Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh, was presented with the Nelson Mandela Leadership and Diversity Award by Afrika Yetu and the African community of Pittsburgh for her role in leading JFCS's efforts in providing resettlement and social services to refugees, as well as helping the African community to establish itself in Pittsburgh. Read more here.

Jewish Family Service of Metrowest is excited to announce that JFN has received an Innovation Grant from Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) to explore the level of interest in programming for children ages 5 to 7 and their families in the Metrowest area who have not yet joined a synagogue.
 
JFN is a collaboration between the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, JFS of Metrowest, and CJP.

On June 23rd Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago held their annual fundraiser, A Striking Event, where they honored JCFS past president Tom Korman with the Irving B. Harris Leadership Award. Korman and his wife have fostered 40 local teenagers over the past 15 years while also raising their own son and daughter.
 
The Chicago Tribune ran a story on Glenview couple. Continue reading here.
 

Gulf Coast JFCS Names Tia Gray as New CEO

   
The Board of Directors of Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services is pleased to announce the appointment of Tia Gray, LCSW as the new President/Chief Executive Officer of the agency. Tia will join the organization on July 15th.

The Board appointed a committee to conduct a nationwide search. After reviewing dozens of applicants, the search was narrowed to two candidates who visited the agency in April. The selection of Ms. Gray was unanimous. Barbara Sterensis, Board Chair, stated, "Ms. Gray closely mirrors the Agency's culture and brings a wealth of experience in serving children and others in need in our community." Continue reading here.
 

Jasmine's Corner, Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City's new Pet Food Pantry, launched June 5th.  Especially for older clients, pets might be their only companions.  
 
JFS Greater Kansas City never want their clients to be forced to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pets, and now they're able to feed clients and their beloved animal companions.  Learn more here.
 

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County recently received a $10,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support its literacy program.  Specifically, the grant will will allow JFS to expand the capacity of the ESL program to allow more individual attention for students.
   
"With the influx of refugees we've had in the past few months, more than ever we need to increase individualized attention for our newest students, many who are suffering from the trauma of war.  We are very happy that Dollar General was willing to support this need," said Andre Yastchenko, JFS' Director of Transportation and International Services.
 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Philadelphia, in association with Quest Therapeutic Camps, will open a therapeutic summer camp at the Abington Art Center in Jenkintown. Quest will run from July 1, 2013 through August 9, 2013 from 9:00am-3:30pm. Campers must participate a minimum of three consecutive weeks for therapeutic benefit. Program treatment services may be reimbursed by insurance companies as an "intensive structured outpatient program" or group therapy. Continue reading here.
 

Effective July 1st David Rivel will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services.
 
David Rivel has been running successful nonprofit organizations for 20 years.  David came to JBFCS two years ago to overlap with Paul Levine so that he could learn the organization, programs, staff and partners. During that time, David also worked with the staff and board to develop a new strategic plan, one that focuses on recovery and resilience for all JBFCS clients and calls on JBFCS to be more data-driven and outcome-focused than ever before.

After 31 years at JBFCS, Paul's tenure comes to a close. He is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to serve in partnership with your organization. If you wish to be in touch with Paul beyond July 1st, his email will change to paul@jbfcs.org.

Since Dr. Shari Stanton joined the Jewish Family Service Agency Las Vegas team, she has felt some discomfort when asked to change the way she thinks about clinical services.
 
When introduced to words such as strategic planning, business plans, and sustainability, she thought the JFSA executive director and board president, failed to understand the heart of clinical services. Continue reading here.


 

Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties will hold Celebrate the Shore on June 27th.
 
Over the past 25 years more than 25,000 visitor have helped JFS raise $1 million through the Annual House Tour featuring the island's most luxurious Downbeach homes. On October 29th Superstorm Sandy devastated Absecon Island. Many area homes were destroyed leaving thousands without food, shelter or a place to go. Learn more here.
 

AgeWell Pittsburgh impacts the lives of thousands of local seniors, decreasing emergency room visits and lowering nursing home admission rates in comparison to rates in Pittsburgh and nationwide. Continue reading here.
 

Responding to a growing community need, Jewish Family and Children's Services of the East Bay has entered the burgeoning home care business - with a twist.

Berkeley-based JFCS launched its Home Care for Seniors program last month in collaboration with 24Hr HomeCare, a privately owned company based in Southern California. The unusual partnership between  a nonprofit agency and for-profit business allows JFCS  to "leverage what we're best at, while teaming up with somebody who already has the expertise and infrastructure" to provide home care services, said JFCS executive director Avi Rose. Continue reading here.
 

Congratulations to Samost Jewish Family & Children's Services' Director of Fundraising and Development, Beth Wynne, who has been selected to receive the Harry and Helen Pinsky Memorial Award from the Jewish Community Foundation.
 
This award recognizes Beth's exemplary professional accomplishments and will be celebrated at the Foundation's annual meeting later this month.
 

Jewish Family & Community Services of Southwest Florida is in the process of establishing a senior center in Naples, at 5025 Castello Dr., with a planned opening in the fall.
 
We hope it will become a focal point for older adults in the community, with a full range of advocacy activities, services and programs. Continue reading here.

 
 

After a Project SARAH presentation at the Jewish Federation of Southern NJ's Women's Gala, a Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey representative received a letter, which, in part, read: "Before you started speaking, I leaned over to my friend and asked why we even needed a domestic abuse program. I mentioned to her that this didn't really exist in our town; the families I know all seem so successful and together, and not what I thought abusive homes 'looked' like.
 
After you spoke about how many people approach you - from my own town - and use your services - I was shocked right there in my seat. It's sad to think of them enduring the violence in private, and not being able to reach out or get support. I am so happy to have learned about a program like Project SARAH that helps them get the support and help they need." Continue reading here.
 

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County received a $25,000 grant from the James A. & Faith Knight Foundation to support internal capacity through technology. JFS Washtenaw County has outgrown their current system and are so grateful to the Knight Foundation for making it possible to add efficiency and ease to daily activities.

Additionally, the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation has generously decided to award $16,000 in funding to JFS Washtenaw County's Older Adult Services program Partners in Care Concierge (PiCC). Partners in Care Concierge (formerly known as Patient Partners), was awarded the AJFCA Goodman Award in 2011. PiCC is a coordinated care/medical appointment accompaniment program in which trained JFS volunteers are paired with clients who require assistance in the removal of barriers to accessing health care. The grant will allow the program's expansion to incorporate, coordinate and expand other related JFS services to better meet client needs. For more information visit PiCC.
 

Jewish Family Service of Houston celebrated their 100 year anniversary. Celebration of the Century was the most successful fundraising event in their history. An elegant evening with a performance by The Houston Symphony celebrated Houston's wonderful community and 100 years of compassionate care by JFS.
 
Click here to watch the 100th anniversary gala video.

Jewish Social Service Agency in collaboration with the Jewish Council on Aging's (JCA) Connect-A-Ride program, is pleased to announce a new Coming of Age in Maryland program for seniors - To Drive or Not To Drive: Helping Older Adults Plan For Their Future Mobility and Driving Needs of Older Adults. This complimentary program is led by JSSA senior services experts.

Research shows that most of us will outlive our ability to drive by 7 to 10 years. Few people plan for a time when they can no longer drive. To Drive or Not To
Drive offers older adults who currently drive the opportunity to be proactive. This is not a safety assessment. The program provides three one-on-one sessions focused on reducing fears about living without a car; creating a customized driver transition plan and offering community mobility resources.

For additional information and to register, contact Beth K. Shapiro, LCSW-C at 301-816-2665.

If you'd like to schedule an interview, or if you need any additional information, please contact Lise Bram at 301-610-8312.

Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service of Palm Beach County, Inc. is a new 501(c) Agencies Trust member. They join over 1,400 nonprofits nationwide who outsource the management of their unemployment claims to the Trust and collectively save millions of dollars annually.
   
"We're pleased to welcome Ferd and Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service of Palm Beach County, Inc." said John Huckstadt, Founder and CEO of 501(c) Agencies Trust.  "For over 30 years we have helped nonprofits reduce their unemployment costs allowing them to put more money into their programs."

 

Jewish Family Service of Colorado is celebrating over 140 years of service to the community at "Celebrate JFS." This complimentary wine reception will be held on Monday, June 24, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Palazzo Verdi. The community is invited to celebrate JFS's accomplishments over the past year, welcome new board members, and thank volunteers and staff. Attendees will enjoy wine, kosher-style hors d'oeuvres, and the exhibits in the Madden Museum of Art inside Palazzo Verdi.

Irene Morita and Lisa Zales, dedicated JFS volunteers, will be honored as the 2013 Max Frankel Volunteers of the Year.

JFS will install new board members Jack Brodsky, Julian Izbiky, Laura Michaels, and Don Siegel. Eric Pollock will be inducted as chair of the JFS Board, beginning a two-year term. Alan Mayer will complete his term as board chair but remains on the Executive Committee.  Board members completing their service are Nancy Gart and Lary Weintraub.
 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh was recently honored with the 2013 Alfred W. Wishart Jr. Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management by The Forbes Funds.
 
The Wishart Award is given to a local nonprofit human service or community development organization that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to excellence in management and governance. The award is presented bi-annually at the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership's annual Nonprofit Summit to one nonprofit organization in western Pennsylvania demonstrating excellence in best practices, overall management and leadership in the region.
 
JFCS was among two other finalists for this year's award; Community Human Services and Familylinks.
 
Aryeh Sherman, CEO of JFCS, proudly accepted the award in front of an audience of about 800 individuals representing the nonprofit and foundation communities. Continue reading here.
 

The Caron Foundation is one of America's leading addiction services providers, with treatment centers in locations across the country. Each year, Caron recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of treatment, community education and awareness, and mutual support.

The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services' JACS had a strong presence at the Breakfast, as two of our volunteers received awards. Continue reading here.
 

JanMarie Brown, Director of Jewish Child Care Association's Gateways Program, will speak about JCCA's innovative treatment program for trafficked youth on Monday, April 22nd, at the conference "We Were Slaves: The Jewish Community Unites Against Sex Trafficking." She will be joined by other experts in the field, who will explore the history of sex trafficking and our obligation to combat it. JCCA is one of the sponsoring agencies. The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 130 East 59th Street, New York City. For more information contact liberchuckl@ujafedny.org or 212-836-1633.

On March 8th, Mark Hetfield was privileged to participate in a meeting on behalf of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society at the White House with fourteen faith leaders and leaders of faith-based organizations. The President called the meeting to discuss strategy for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), now called "Common Sense Immigration Reform."

Mark was honored to be the only representative of the Jewish community in the room and encouraged the President to speak about immigration and refugees in his Passover message and whenever he speaks to a Jewish audience.

Mark reminded the President that prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 immigration was the most important issue for the Jewish community, and that it remains a core issue, as it speaks to the most fundamental Jewish values and experience. The President acknowledged this, responding: "You know what it's like to be a stranger." Continue reading here.

Over 150 students and adults turned out to see the amazingly moving musical/play Freedom Song (entire cast pictured) on Tuesday in Cherry Hill New Jersey. The troupe shared real-life stories of addiction, recovery and living through dependency on drugs and alcohol. This Cherry Hill, NJ performance was one of only three Northeast performances scheduled for this unique show. After the performance, the cast took questions from teens and parents in the audience. It was a memorable, impactful evening that will stay with attendees for a long time.

Thankful for the collaboration of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey, Department of Jewish Education, Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey, and area schools for bringing this worthwhile program to the community.
 

Dana Toppel, LCSW, MBA was recently named as the new Chief Program Officer at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, CA.  Toppel has been an instrumental part of the agency's success since starting with Jewish Family Service nearly four years ago and most recently held the position of Divisional Director of Clinical and Educational Services.

"Dana brings accountability, clarity, enthusiasm, and a tremendous drive to improve our ability to serve the community. As a Divisional Director, she was an instrumental part of the agency's most recent successes", said Michael Hopkins, Chief Executive Officer of Jewish Family Service.  "Sometimes the best things are right in front of you."

The third Saturday of every month Jewish Family & Children's Service of Long Beach, CA will offer a "window of time" for women ages 15 and up who are survivors of intimate partner violence, substance abuse, and early trauma to relax, slow down, and use art to express their inner most feelings. Learn more here.

The Avon Foundation for Women has awarded a $65,000 one-year grant to Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix, AZ in support of its Avon Domestic Violence Survivor Empowerment Program, Shelter Without Walls, which provides annual funding for 20 full-time coordinator positions in domestic violence agencies across the United States.

JFCS has provided services and support to more than 5,000 domestic violence victims since 1998. Continue reading here.

Freedom. A physical and spiritual housecleaning.Caring for strangers. These themes have strong connections this month as many in the community prepare for Passover to celebrate this feast of liberation from slavery.  

Turns out March is also National Social Work Month.  Coincidence? Perhaps not, say professionals at Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago, IL reflecting on the connection between the themes of Passover and the work of JCFS to provide help, healing and caring services, infused with Jewish values, to strengthen lives in our community.

"Passover is the Holiday of freedom from bondage. It is deeply related to social work, as we work to free our clients from all of the issues that can bind them and hold them down," says Michal Cohen, LCSW, and Clinician at JCFS Peterson Community Counseling Center (CCC).

Lynn Shyman, LCSW and Director of Adult and Family Counseling at JCFS CCC in Skokie agrees. "Our physical selves were freed from slavery in Egypt. While we are now physically free, Passover gives us an opportunity to reflect on being psychologically free from unhealthy habits or negative thoughts that may 'enslave' us during the year." And that, adds Shyman, is a critical role of a social worker in his or her work to help adults, children and families. Continue reading here.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware recently awarded seven grants, totaling $1.3 million through its BluePrints for the Community grant program. Jewish Family Services of Delaware was one of the grant recipients for 2013. Awarded $250,000, this grant supports the Brandywine Village Network, a program designed to promote independence and increase access to health care and support services for adults over age 50 in northern New Castle County. The program aims to ensure older adults remain in their homes as they age, reducing the need for institutionalization and hospital readmissions. Continue reading here.

One of the top priorities of Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties, NJ is serving the needs of older adults because for many people the later years can be lonely and stressful.

JFS has been awarded a grant administered by the United States Administration on Aging to provide services to older adults living in the Somerville area. JFS is calling the project "Home Sweet Home" and the goal of the project is to help older adults to be comfortable and secure at home and to be able to age in place. For more information watch this video.

The Charities Review Council has certified that Jewish Family & Children's Service of Minneapolis, MN earned the Meets Standards seal by demonstrating a commitment to accountability and openness and voluntarily submitting to review.

The Council's mission is to mobilize informed donors and accountable nonprofits for the greater good. The Council is dedicated to empowering the public in making informed and thoughtful giving decisions.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia, PA will feature a different video each week in March in honor of Social Work Appreciation Month. The hope is that you will experience the featured social worker's passion firsthand, learn how they impact the lives of their clients through the work they do, and hear what they have learned from their work. Watch the video here.

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 286-138 to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the pivotal federal law that provides law enforcement, service providers, and federal, state and local government the tools to protect victims and to reduce the incidence of violence in America. Now that both the Senate and House have passed the same bill (S. 47), it goes to the President to be signed into law.

AJFCA has been advocating for the reauthorization to include protections for LGBT individuals, women on tribal reservations, immigrants, and women on college campuses. AJFCA's Legislative Task Force joined with communities around the country in contacting our representatives to let them know we want them to support the bipartisan, Senate-passed VAWA. We recently sent a letter to Capitol Hill expressing our support.

Yesterday's victory required intense advocacy to first defeat the House version of VAWA, which did not include the protections for LGBT individuals, Native American women or immigrants. After the House version (known as the House substitute amendment) failed by a vote of 166-257, the House was able to vote on the bipartisan Senate-passed version.

It is important that we thank those representatives who voted yes to the underlying bill (S. 47). You can find out how your representative voted here. Please contact Shelley if you would like advice on how to contact your representative and what to say. Congratulations on a legislative victory that will benefit our clients and make our communities safer!

Home Care Pulse, the leading national quality assurance firm for in-home senior care, has recognized Jewish Family Service of Seattle's HomeCare Associates as one of the top providers in the country based on third party research.
 
HomeCare Associates, the state licensed in-home care division of JFS, specializes in personal and homemaker services that are tailored to the specific needs of client and family alike. All caregivers are bonded and insured employees of Jewish Family Service.

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore is partnering with the JCC to offer "Good Grief", a project for teens ages 14-19 who are grieving the death of a loved one.  Participants will be creating a mosaic while discussing different aspects of grief such as the "woulda, coulda, shoulda's", things friends and family say, when does the pain go away, and how to honor the person who died.

The completed mosaic will be displayed in the Owings Mills JCC as a way to offer comfort and hope to others who have lost a loved one. For more information and to register, call JCS, 410-466-9200.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado and the Synagogue Council of Greater Denver are partnering again this year to provide foods needed for a complete Passover Seder to families in need in the community. Each Passover basket includes a kosher chicken as well as other necessary kosher-for-Passover items, such as matzo, matzo meal, grape juice, borscht, gefilte fish, macaroons, cake mix, eggs, fresh produce, and candles. Community participation is essential for the success of this project.

This Community Passover Program is designed to help those families who would normally prepare a Seder for themselves, but at the present time do not have the resources to do so. It is anticipated that more than 80 households will be served this year. JFS is striving to raise $7,200 to purchase enough kosher-for-Passover food to meet this need in the community. The agency asks people to give the community a "chai five" by donating $90 for this program-the cost to purchase food and nonperishable items needed to make the Seder complete for a family of four. Continue reading here.

Academy-award winner Richard Dreyfuss, who lives with bi-polar disorder, delivered the keynote on February 21st, at Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service's sold out new luncheon on breaking the stigma of mental illness while benefiting comprehensive mental health services. Continue reading here.

 AJFCA congratulates Mark Hetfield, the new President & CEO of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the global migration agency of the American Jewish community. The announcement was made by HIAS Chairman Marc Silberberg, following a unanimous vote by the HIAS Board of Directors. Hetfield was most recently HIAS' Interim President & CEO while an extensive national and international search to fill the agency's top position was conducted by a specially appointed board committee in collaboration with a search firm. Continue reading here.

NY1, New York City's cable news station, recently interviewed Jewish Child Care Association experts concerning a controversial new study by the National Institute of Mental Health that found that some people "outgrow" autism. Elise Hahn-Felix, Director of JCCA's Compass Project, told the NY1 reporter, "I've seen people adapt to autism but not outgrow autism." Click here to view the video.

The United Nations held a Holocaust Memorial Ceremony to honor Holocaust Survivors and the many heroic people who risked their lives to rescue thousands marked for death by the Nazis. Entitled "Rescue During the Holocaust: The Courage to Care," the event featured distinguished speakers, video, and live music.
The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services was represented by Board member Carol Levin, Assistant Executive Director Carmen Collado, and Jonathan Katz, Director of Jewish Community Services. They are seen in this photo with Carol's husband, Jerry Levin, President of UJA-Federation of New York, which helped sponsor the commemoration as part of its Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors.

For the 16th consecutive year, Alan Shawn Feinstein, through the Feinstein Foundation of Cranston, RI, will divide $1 million among hunger-fighting agencies nationwide to help raise funds during March and April 2013. Jewish Family & Career Services of Louisville is one of the participating agencies in this event to receive a portion of the funds.
 
All donations during this period to the JFCS Food Pantry of food, canned goods and grocery gift cards, as well as monetary donations to the Sonny & Janet Meyer Family Food Pantry Fund, will be matched as part of the Feinstein Challenge to Fight Hunger. Many families and individuals use the JFCS Food Pantry throughout the year, allowing them to utilize very limited resources to pay for other items while JFCS helps with the basic food needs. JFCS distributes more than 40 tons of food annually.

Past Feinstein Challenges to Fight Hunger have raised a record $1.5 billion for hunger-fighting charitable agencies nationwide. Make a donation to JFCS during March and April and become a partner in the most successful grassroots campaign of all time to fight hunger. Food donations can be delivered to JFCS Monday-Friday, from 8:30am-5:00pm. Monetary and credit card donations are also accepted via mail or on the JFCS website. Be sure to designate to the Food Pantry. Call 452-6341 for more information.

Gulf Coast Bank is giving away $5,000 each to ten charities. Jewish Children's Regional Service is the only Jewish organization eligible. Register and vote today (and every day) here. Voting ends on Monday, March 4th.
 
How do I vote?

  • Register your email address
  • Gulf Coast will send you an access code
  • Choose Jewish Children's Regional Service (JCRS) from the list and enter your access code
  • Then press VOTE
  • Go online and vote every single day using the access code

Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City and the Jewish Community Mental Health Coalition are delighted to partner with the Jewish Community Center on their production of "Next to Normal."  This rousing musical is a great starting point for a frank discussion around mental illness.

Through the Mental Health Coalition, mental health professionals will be at the various talkbacks following the production, offering attendees a chance to learn about the realities of living with mental illness: that it's real, it's common and it's treatable.  

In recognition of the importance of this conversation, the UMKC School of Social Work is offering 3.5 clock hours of Continuing Education Credit for mental health professionals attending the show and the talk-back. Continue reading here.

Five of the Houston Zoo's Asian elephants were chowing down on hay Tuesday morning, and 20-year-old Ian Spindler was determined to get a good photo.

He put his walking stick aside and peered at one of the bigger elephants, unsure how to get a good angle.

"Step back a little," Courtney Bent told him. "Bend down and look through the railing. Press the button now ... hold still ... there you go." His camera clicked once, then twice. Spindler, who has developmental disabilities, stood up. He looked at his picture, then at Bent. "I can see the trunk," he said. "Thanks for the tips."

Bent, a former fashion photographer , has spent the past 15 years putting cameras into the hands of people with disabilities. She's in town this week for Wednesday's screening of "Shooting Beauty" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The documentary is the final event of ReelAbilities: Houston Disabilities Film Festival.
"Shooting Beauty" - which Bent made with her husband, George Kachadorian - tells the story of a group of adults at a United Cerebral Palsy day center near Boston. Bent gave them cheap plastic cameras and told them to document their lives, and the results were both beautiful and eye-opening.
Today, as Bent travels the country to introduce the film at screenings, she also re-creates the project with short workshops for kids and adults. On Tuesday, she accompanied nine people with mental and physical disabilities to the zoo.
   
All nine work for Celebration Company, part of the Disability Services division of Houston's Jewish Family Service. Three days a week, they prepare boxes for Three Brothers Bakery and make candles and cards to be sold for Jewish holidays.

Melissa Shapiro, 33, warmly shook the photographer's hand and said, "Courtney, I am going to need your help, because I don't know a thing about cameras."
Almost none of them, in fact, had ever used a camera. For some, it's been a practical matter - their hands can't grasp a standard camera or manipulate a shutter button. Continue reading here.

Remember the scene in Woody Allen's "Sleeper" with the Jewish robot tailors Ginsberg and Cohen? ("Maybe you vould like a nice double knit?") Well, in the not-so-distant future, these "socially assistive" robots may not only be making suits but also preparing kosher-style meals (no cheese on that low-salt, low-fat pastrami sandwich please!). The field of gerontechnology,  meaning the use of technology to support elders, is rapidly growing. Technology, usually thought to be the purview of the young, can help support our parents and eventually us Baby Boomers in ways that seemed impossible only a few years ago.

The goal of all of this new technology is the same: to assist older adults in the ways a caregiver does now. Even though the widespread use of robots like Ginsberg and Cohen may be a way off, innovative technology on the market now can monitor older adults in their homes and alert worried adult children of any problems. Baby Boomers should keep an eye on this technology as well, as it will directly affect the way we receive services when we get to be our parents' age.

One familiar device is the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). This technology, which has been around for years, provides an older adult with a push-button pendant connected with an emergency center. (Remember the "Help I've fallen and can't get up" commercials?)

While those types of pendants are great, in some situations, the older adult can't press the button. Fortunately, these companies now offer newer monitors that can detect falls and alert an emergency center even without the device being activated. Continue reading here.

When planning for this year's community-wide observance of Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM), the Minneapolis Jewish Community Inclusion Program for People with Disabilities of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Minneapolis wanted the broader community to become more aware directly from individuals with disabilities, themselves. They spoke with members of the committee and others in the community, and found many who were willing to talk about not only their lives and disabilities, but about their abilities, as well. Some of the performers will talk about their lives, and how they've adapted to disabilities they've had from birth, or that came on later in life. Some will share the event that changed their lives, and others will express themselves through music or art. However they do it, these performers will give the audience an intimate look into a world of which too few of us are aware, presented by the people who live there.
 
JFCS is also sponsoring the JDAM Reads! Community Book Club, featuring "Now I See the Moon: A  Mother, A Son, A Miracle" by Elaine Hall, Coach E from "Autism the Musical" an Emmy Award winning film on HBO. Elaine's insights guided by Judaism, family and raising her son Neal, who has autism, make for a wonderful discussion about values and inclusion.

Fundraiser Expected to Attract Hundreds to Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center

Jewish Family Service of Colorado welcomes Mandy Patinkin, Tony® and Emmy® Award-winning performer and current star of Showtime's hit drama series Homeland as the speaker for its ninth annual JFS Executive Luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, April 24th.

All proceeds from the event will help support all programs of JFS, including mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services.

For more information click here or for tickets, contact Lisa Mehl at 720.248.4633.

Couples are sometimes confronted with the shocking and upsetting news that they suffer from unexplained infertility. It may be suggested that they undergo fertility treatments in order to start the family they had always dreamt about. These treatments can be quite expensive.
 
Thanks to an anonymous donor family, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia recently launched The Fertility Fund: A Gift From The Heart, available to help Jewish couples in the Philadelphia region experience the greatest gift in the world-the gift of life.
 
The fund is a need-based program that helps subsidize the sometimes prohibitive financial costs of fertility treatments that are not covered by insurance. Supportive counseling from JFCS clinicians who have personal and/or professional experience is also available to help couples navigate their unique path through the fertility treatment process.
 
For more information about The Fertility Fund: A Gift From The Heart, contact JFCS at 1.866.JFCSNOW.

On Sunday, January 27th at 9:27am Local 10 WPLG TV will feature a segment on the Jewish Community Services of South Florida's Kosher Food Bank. News Journalist Constance Jones went to the Kosher Food Bank this week with a camera crew to film a 'Faith & Family' segment. She interviewed Bonnie Schwartzbaum, KFB Coordinator, as well as one of JCS' client families.

People whose lives have been touched by adoption, especially adult adoptees and birthparents, often have a strong interest in searching for family connections.

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore invites anyone who is interested to join its adoption search group. Participants discuss whether to search, how to search, and how to handle issues that arise after searching.

This non-sectarian group meets one evening a month. Formore information, please call Myra Hettleman at 410-466-9200.

JTNews readers in Washington voted Jewish Family Service of Seattle:

  • Best Local Jewish Organization, School or Agency
  • Best Place to Volunteer   
  • Best Local Food Bank
  • Best Counseling Service

"Jewish Family Service serves so many areas of our Jewish  community -- and a lot of the non-Jewish community, it should be said -- in so many different ways. Once again this Agency is the clear winner." - JTNews, What You Loved in 2012, 1/21/13
Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Services of Dallas presents its first in a series of three inclusive, faith-based communities symposia created to share successful strategies to fully embrace individuals with disabilities and their families on February 25th. Share, learn and connect with spiritual and lay leaders, congregants and consumers from a cross-section of faith communities to create opportunities that empower an individual or family with a disability to participate and contribute to their highest potential. This project is funded graciously through a grant from the Texas Council on Developmental Disabilities with federal funds made available by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Developmental Disabilities. Continue reading here.

The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services' JACS (Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically dependent persons, and Significant others) was recently touted in a local paper for its sober Birthright trips to Israel.

Sharon Darack, the program director, was interviewed for the story and explained how the sober Birthright trips began and why they are so important.
Birthright Israel is meant to make people fall in love with Israel.

There is nothing hidden about the goal, and most of the time it works. It offers its 18- to 26-year-old participants a free trip that engages all their senses, engages their emotions, and very often captures their hearts. It accomplishes its task in a whirlwind of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, colors, and experiences, often fueled with the short-term rush of adrenaline rather than the longer-term comfort of sleep.

Finish reading at the Jewish Standard.

Jewish Family & Career Service of Atlanta has expanded its psychoeducational evaluation services, a program of JFCS' Child & Adolescent Services - Tools for Families division, to be able to serve more students and their families.
 
Psychoeducational evaluations often are requested by schools or parents when there is a question about a child's learning style or social, emotional or behavioral functioning. Evaluations can help determine whether this is a learning disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or other concern that may be getting in the way of a child's capacity for learning. It can also help to identify a student's strengths and weaknesses, and provide recommendations regarding next steps to help a student succeed to his or her potential.

JFCS' psychoeducational evaluation team is delighted to welcome Dr. Amy Kincheloe (right) and Dr. Sarah Levy (far right). Both Dr. Kincheloe and Dr. Levy have a warm and engaging style that helps families and students quickly feel at ease in the evaluation process.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh celebrated their 75th year of service and received much press, sharing the agency's story and impact. Below please find links to these articles; a great way to see the full scope of the impact JFCS has on so many individuals and families in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
The Jewish Chronicle
Pop City
Shady Ave Magazine

The 8th Annual JPROSTL Mentor award will be presented to Lori Goldberg, Director of Senior Services at Jewish Family & Children's Service of St. Louis. Over 200 staff members and nearly 100 friends, family and community leaders attend each year, representing 40 different organizations including agencies, organizations, schools and congregations. For more information visit, www.jprostl.org.

"We've all been crying since learning about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, shaken to our cores. We're hugging our children harder and longer, talking to our friends about the missing pieces of the puzzle that will never be found and trying to make sense of what is senseless and unthinkable." Continue reading Jewish Family Service of Detroit's blog here.

Tricia Downing, author, athlete, and inspirational speaker, will be featured at the fifth annual Jewish Disabilities Awareness Day and Resource Fair sponsored by Jewish Family Service of Colorado on Sunday, January 27th. Jewish Disabilities Awareness Day is the cornerstone of the metro Denver Jewish community's celebration of the national Jewish Disability Awareness Month in February, promoting understanding and inclusion in community life for Jewish people with disabilities. The goals of the day, which focuses on "finding ability in disability," are to increase awareness, in both the Jewish and general community, of the abilities and contributions of people with special needs; to honor those who care for those with disabilities; and to provide valuable resources for families and caregivers. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County has been awarded two Community Impact Grants from the Greater Ann Arbor Jewish Federation.

  • "Generations Skype" will provide funding to arrange Skype sessions between local older adults and their long-distance family members.
  • The Jewish Bereavement Group was created by Donna Shewach, PhD. She invited JFS to collaborate with Rabbi Sara Adler, a chaplain with the U of M Health System, to create a Jewish-centered bereavement support group to be sure that both clinical and spiritual needs are being met.      

More details about both programs will be forthcoming in early 2013.

Rafael Spiritual Healing Services, a program of the Counseling Center and Jewish Community Chaplaincy of Jewish Family Service of Colorado, is offering a weekly bereavement group for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This unique eight-session group not only supports people through the process of grieving, but also fosters connections with self, faith, and community by integrating Jewish traditions and rituals. For more information or to register, contact Arleen Gershen at 720.248.4598.

In four weeks of staffing the FEMA/NYC Restoration Center in Staten Island, The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services has served close to 2,500 people, offering case management and crisis counseling to the people of Staten Island. Crisis counseling is being provided to individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Sandy who need to understand how to access services.

The real story is in the shifting needs of those who are visiting the center. JBFCS staff are seeing more clients with increasingly complex needs-mental health issues compounded by medical issues and special needs, and with pre-existing trauma and other mental health conditions now heightened by trauma, anxiety, survivor guilt, and other issues brought on by the storm. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado raised $432,000 at its annual movie-themed fundraiser, Reel Hope 2012 on December 10th. More than 500 people attended the 17th annual JFS movie-themed fundraiser.

Reel Hope supports all programs of JFS, including mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis recently received a two-year grant from national membership organization the Alliance for Children and Families to implement a pilot project meant to explore, test and gain understanding of the elevation of strategy within nonprofit human service agencies. JFCS is one of five nonprofit organizations in the country chosen to receive this grant.

"This grant enables JFCS to not only improve our own services and ultimately the quality of life for community members," said Judy Halper, JFCS Chief Executive Officer, "but it means we are part of an exciting program that is closely examining how nonprofit human-service organizations can be even more effective throughout the country."

The grant comes from the Alliance's Strategy Counts program - a multiyear pilot project designed to enhance the social impact of nonprofit human service providers by increasing their focus on strategy and its effective deployment.

The intent is for the pilot sites to test and model how nonprofits can be more nimble in adjusting to change, more data-driven in making decisions, better positioned to partner, and more able to innovate in ways that have meaningful client and community impact on improving the lives of children and families. Continue reading here.

Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (JWF) approved a new $20,000 grant to Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago to develop a community response to the needs of Jewish pre-teen girls. With this program, "BeTween: A Jewish Community Planning Initiative," JCFS will spearhead a community response addressing the needs of Jewish girls, during one of the most critical and vulnerable times of their development.

"Tween girls are an important, underserved group," says Dana Rhodes, Director of Resource Planning and Grants at JCFS.  According to the 2010 Metropolitan Chicago Jewish Population Study, there are more than 14,000 girls ages nine to 14 in the Chicago Jewish community.  "Early adolescence can be incredibly turbulent for girls, full of angst and self-doubt," says Rhodes.

Continue reading here.

As many celebrating Hanukkah this week are lighting the Menorah, spinning dreidels and eating latkes, for some interfaith couples, navigating holiday traditions and family celebrations can be a challenge when December rolls around.
 
In an article in last week's Jewish Chronicle, Wendy Levin-Shaw, a licensed clinical social worker and therapist with Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill Psychological Services, spoke about navigating the complexities that can accompany some interfaith couples' holiday celebrations. Click here to read the article. Continue reading here.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta is the proud recipient of the 2012 Managing for Excellence Award, presented by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. One of more than 7,000 nonprofits in Georgia, JFCS received the award recognizing outstanding nonprofit management in the largest category. JFCS CEO Gary Miller and President Seth Cohen accepted the award on November 14th, at the Foundation's annual meeting.

Jewish Family Service of Cincinnati has been strengthening lives since 1943 from the joys of adoption to the challenges with aging parents, and every age and stage in between. Yet JFS still has people who are surprised to know about the wide range of services they provide.

So JFS created "We give a..." campaign. They want the community, and the world, to know that through four comprehensive program areas, they give. Check out their video.

While Jewish Family Service of New Mexico runs a Senior Transportation project there are limitations. JFS has begun a new pilot program. Those in need of a ride, or "Riders," register with JFS and then ask a neighbor, friend, or family member to give them a ride at a mutually convenient time.  In exchange for the ride, the Rider can offer their volunteer driver mileage reimbursement to cover the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance. Learn more here.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service announced a new $1 million gift for the "Jacobson Family Food Pantry at JFS." Anne and Norman Jacobson's gift coincides with the opening of JFS' new food pantry.
 
In addition to a much expanded storage area, the new Food Pantry at JFS will feature a "shopping" area for clients with transportation to make selections onsite rather than receive food deliveries. The new location also includes a walk-in produce cooler for donated produce and will allow JFS to begin storing store fresh milk. Learn more here.

On Saturday, November 17th, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh held their Lifecycles & Laughtracks gala, celebrating their 75th anniversary.
 
Prior to the celebration JFCS was featured in several articles. In the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, JFCS's programs and services, as well as several clients were featured in an article about the agency's history and social services. Click here to read the article.
 
In the Jewish Chronicle, JFCS President/CEO Aryeh Sherman reflected on JFCS's progress in the Pittsburgh community over the past 75 years and what the future holds for the agency. Click here to read the article.

Since 1982, Jewish Family Service of Colorado has operated a kosher Jewish group home in Denver for adults with developmental disabilities. The group home accommodates eight residents who are supported by a dedicated professional staff. The home currently has an opening. If your agency is aware of an individual with developmental disabilities who would benefit from this high-quality residential home and services, please contact Sara Leeper, coordinator of client services at Jewish Family Service of Colorado's SHALOM Denver program, at 303.623.0251.

The reality is that divorce does happen, but it does not have to be an adversarial battleground. The collaborative divorce approach promotes an honest, transparent exchange of information to facilitate problem-solving with a commitment from participants not to go to court.

Jewish Social Service Agency offers a one-time divorce consultation free of charge to help an individual or couple understand all the ways to divorce and why the collaborative model may be a good fit. Learn more.

Heather Hershey-Tompkins has replaced Gail Arenstein as the director of Jewish Family Services of Canton. Heather can be reached on her direct line, 330-445-2402.

Gail made many friends during her employment with JFS. Feel free to connect with her via personal email.

The latest Hip Hop Video all the kids are watching? It was made in the in-house recording studio in Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago's Residential program, and the kids themselves made it!

Thanks to Title 1 funding from the US Department of Education, designed to "improve the academic achievement of the disadvantaged," a new music production studio is available to "honor the young people's interest in doing music," says Therapeutic Recreation Leader Daniel Lanctot.

"The program is not just fun, but therapeutic," says Corey Dickson, Assistant Director of JCFS Residential Program. JCFS Residential Program offers a supportive, confidential and empowering environment for teens and young adults whose emotional and behavioral needs merit 24 hour attention, due to abuse, neglect or chronic family conflict.  "The studio offers a way for these individuals to get their emotions out in a healthy and productive way.  More than a hobby, it's a way to de-stress."

The Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey (JFEDSNJ) and its family of six agencies announced the launch of the "Hurricane Sandy Community-Wide Relief Project" on November 8th. Thsamost jfcse agencies will work in conjunction with area synagogues and the Tri-County Board of Rabbis to collect donations of food and clothing for November 18th delivery to those in desperate need in Atlantic county.
 
Jennifer Weiss, CEO for the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey and AJFCA Board Member, says, "There is an unprecedented need in our South Jersey coastal community for food, clothing and basic necessities. We cannot sit idle as our neighbors struggle. By combining the strength of our Federation agencies, local synagogues and residents, we can help to deliver assistance and recovery to those in need. This is bigger than ourselves, and collectively we hope we can bring warmth and peace of mind to those hardest hit by Sandy."

The unity of all the organizations toward a combined relief effort is a testament to the power of community cooperation during a time of need.

Through the Human Resources Administration/NYC - a request came out last week for agencies to assume staffing and case management for various regions of New York hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. The Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services (JBFCS) submitted their application and was notified less than 24 hours later that their proposal was accepted. JBFCS began their work at the Staten Island Restoration Center on Sunday and continued for a full day Tuesday. JBFCS CEO, Paul Levine shares a report from the trenches.

In Tuesday's edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, JoAnn White, Director of Family Hope Connection (FHC), Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's licensed adoption and foster care agency was interviewed to discuss the post-adoption services and support FHC provides for adoptive families. Several families who used FHC's post-adoption services after finalizing their international adoptions were interviewed as well. Click here to read more. View the article here.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta is the proud recipient of the 2012 Managing for  Excellence Award, given by the The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. JFCS CEO Gary Miller and President Seth Cohen accepted the award from Community Foundation CEO Alicia Phillip at the Community Foundation's annual ceremonies on November 14th.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado announced that Reel Hope, the agency's annual film benefit on Monday, December 10th, will feature a private early screening of Emperor. The movie opens nationally to the public in March 2013. Reel Hope will be held at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at 14th and Curtis in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. The event will begin at 5:30pm. with heavy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, followed by an awards program and film screening at 7:00pm. Tickets for this event are $180 and sponsorship packages start at $1,500. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets or contact Lisa Mehl at 720.248.4633.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego launched a new homepage design. The new design focuses on making it very clear for clients, volunteers and donors to navigate their way directly to the program or web feature they are trying to reach. View it at www.jfssd.org.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh has partnered with North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) and South Hills Interfaith Ministry (SHIM) to create WorkAble, a county-wide employment and critical needs service for financially struggling adults.

Generously supported by the United Way of Allegheny County, WorkAble is designed to serve unemployed and underemployed individuals throughout Allegheny County-especially those newly struggling, those who are one event away from crisis and struggling single female households.
 
Click here to learn more about  WorkAble.

Justin and Cari Levy recently established the Dorinda Levy Thanksgiving Fund at Jewish Family Service of Colorado, in memory of Justin's mother, to ensure that people who might otherwise not be able to celebrate the holiday can have everything they need for a complete Thanksgiving meal. This fund will allow JFS to provide Thanksgiving food to more of its clients during this holiday.

JFS is seeking additional contributions to the Dorinda Levy Thanksgiving Fund as well as donations of frozen turkeys, disposable aluminum foil roasting pans, canned yams or sweet potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing, canned pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk, canned cranberry sauce or jelly, canned beans, turkey gravy mix, fresh apples, canned fruit, and grocery store gift certificates.

Monetary contributions can be made online at www.jewishfamilyservice.org/donate. Choose "The Dorinda Levy Thanksgiving Fund" from the drop-down menu. Food donations can be dropped off at Jewish Family Service, 3201 South Tamarac Drive, Denver, CO 80231, by Wednesday, November 14th.

With more than half a century experience in the field of childhood mental health, Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago's Virginia Frank Child Development Center is perfectly poised to "develop the exjcfs chicagopertise of more teaching professionals who do the extraordinary work of serving the emotional and developmental needs of the children who need them," said Associate Director Kathy Ham. VFCDC will add 18 new Head Start consulting locations to its roster, thanks in large part to a newly awarded contract with Easter Seals.
 
Click here to read the full story.

After spending several days visiting the Jewish Child Care Association's Bukharian Teen Lounge and interviewing many of its staff and residents, Jewish Week writer Steve Lipman wrote this terrific article on the program.

"For Bukharian Teens, Shelter From The Storm," in the October 10th edition of The Jewish Week, discusses how Bukharian Jewish youth struggle with acculturation issues and the ways in which the Teen Lounge offers them a place to socialize with peers and receive counseling and support. Many of them talk of how the Lounge "saved" them from a life of drugs and other at-risk behavior, and encouraged them to finish high school and go to college.

Please read this wonderful article here.

25th Anniversary Bikur Cholim Conference
Face-to-Face Meets Facebook:
Paths to One Purpose in Bikur Cholim

Sunday, November 11, 2012
@ UJA-Federation of New York
130 E. 59 Street
New York, NY
8:45 AM - 3:30 PM

Early Bird Discount: Register before October 12th
You can register via email, mail or fax.

Download the brochure:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bikurcholimcc
Email: Bikurcholimcc@jbfcs.org

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta's CEO Gary Miller and President Seth Cohen recently attended the BoardSource annual conference and national competition for The Prudential Leadership and Excellence in Board Governance Award.
 
JFCS was among five finalists for the award, submittinboard sourceg this video which showcases their process of moving towards a more diverse board: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOCo1iKx-HY&feature=plcp. While JFCS did not win the top honor, they did come home with a $2,500 cash award for the agency and made many new friends and admirers who were inspired from their story of leading the JFCS through a Board diversity process.

Nell Edgington was in Birmingham, Alabama a few weekends ago showing AJFCA member agency, Collat Jewish Family Services'  nonprofit board of directors how to finance, not fundraise for, their organization. Nell, a speaker at AJFCA's 2012 Annual Conference, loves leading these sessions because there is always a point, about 45 minutes into the session, when she sees the light bulb go on around the room. Board members become energized when they realize that instead of fearing money as they have always done, they can employ it to create more social change.
 
Like it or not, money is an incredible tool. If nonprofit leaders could better understand, stop fearing, and learn how to wield money effectively, the results could be transformative. Here's what it means for a nonprofit to wield the money tool:

  • Add Money to Every Conversation
  • Create a Financing Strategy
  • Make Every Board Member Contribute Financially
  • Ask For Investments, Not Donations
  • Raise Capital, Not Just Revenue

Money doesn't have to be a feared, uncomfortable element in the nonprofit sector. It can be an incredibly powerful tool for creating social change. Indeed, the only way for a nonprofit to really succeed is to embrace all that money has to offer.

Read Nell's entire article to learn about money tools in more depth.

Nonprofits Must Stop Fearing Money, September 12, 2012, Social Velocity, by Nell Edgington

The Jewish Federations of North America's (JFNA) National NORCs Aging in Place Initiative peaked in Fiscal Year 2008, and wound down over the next two fiscal cycles. In an 8 year-period, JFNA's initiative secured 99 demonstration grants for nearly 50 institutions in 26 states.

This investment (partnership) was intended to help provide participating communities with the necessary building blocks for successful Aging in Place programming consistent with the trends, preferences, and needs of their communities' older adult populations. It also led to the establishment of the broader Community Innovations for Aging in Place Program of the Administration on Aging (2009-2012).

As an Initiative, JFNA worked together with communities on applications, program development, the sharing of best practices, the dissemination of key accomplishments, and in establishing the credentials (bone fides) for lasting programs. For these communities, the work that has been accomplished has created a base of desired programming, experience and infrastructure for healthy and safe aging that ensures the quality of life for their communities' senior members.

Through the National NORCs Aging in Place Initiative, participating communities were ahead of the curve. Now that the program has sunset, these program must transition to locally supported footings.  This would be consistent with the expected course public policy makers have prescribed for the country, and has always been a planning function (responsibility) of the participants.

Earlier this month, New Jersey's Senate Health and Senior Services Committee approved legislation that provides funding for a NORC-SSP project in Mercer County. A companion bill was approved by the full State Assembly in June.

The Jewish Family & Children's Service of Princeton, New Jersey
, has played a significant role in advancing this State initiative, along with the New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations.  Princeton was a participant in the National NORCs Aging in Place Initiative in FY2009.  

New Jersey follows a number of other states that have provided support to NORC-SSP programs. Most notably, neighboring New York State (and City) has enacted permanent legislation that supports multiple NORC-SSP contracts throughout the State. In better fiscal times, Maryland, Georgia, Indiana and Massachusetts also provided support for these initiatives. New Jersey, which is home to 10 past participants in the National NORCS Initiative, could significantly benefit from a robust program such as New York State's. Perhaps, with the passage of the Mercer County project, a key footing will be established for future opportunities across New Jersey.

The L.A. Mid-City Integrated Care Collaborative, a partnership led by Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS) to provide coordinated community-based services that will reduce avoidable hospital readmissions for Medicare patientsJFS LA, was selected on Friday, August 17th, by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as one of 17 additional sites across the nation to participate in the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP).
 
CCTP reflects a new, innovative approach to health care delivery. The program identifies community-based organizations such as JFS that can provide care transitions services across the continuum of care and partner with one or more acute care hospitals and other community providers. The L.A. Mid-City Integrated Care Collaborative includes hospitals, medical personnel, social workers, mental health professionals, and senior care specialists that will be able to provide better, more sustainable health care services - all at a lower cost to the health care system.

For more information click here.

Recently, Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry was highlighted in Uncensored Magazine, a publication of the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness. Becky Abrams, director of SHCFP, was interviewed for an article on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit changes and cuts in Pennsylvania and across the nation.  
 
Many of Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's Food Pantry clients receive SNAP benefits, through which individuals and families that qualify receive a monthly cash allotment (issued via an electronic debit card accepted by food stores) to help pay for food. Click here to view the article.

In May, SNAP recipients across the state saw their benefits potentially in jeopardy as the asset test was reintroduced in Pennsylvania. Through the newly-reintroduced asset test, in order to be eligible for and receive SNAP benefits, those under age 59 cannot have more than $5,500 in assets, and those who are age 60 and older, or disabled, cannot have more than $9,000.
 
SNAP benefits have the ability to provide significant relief and assistance to not only those individuals and families who receive them, but also to food-providing organizations like SHCFP. For many households, losing SNAP benefits means they must rely on food pantries as their only hope of putting adequate food on the table. This has the potential to significantly drain resources and put extra strain on the SHCFP as more people turn to organizations like SHCFP to feed themselves and their families.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service will be relocating and expanding their existing community food pantry services.  The new "Food Pantry at JFS" will move to a 2,600 sq. ft. warehouse and will be offering both kosher and "kosher style" food to meet the needs of recipients.  
 
"This expansion will enable our agency to feed more people in need," said Danielle N. Hartman, President & CEO of JFruth rales jfsS. "In addition, we will be able to save money through bulk purcruth rales new food pantryhasing and deliver more customized food packages to the people we help."  
 
Hartman continued, "JFS remains committed to providing kosher food to those people who request it.  A recent survey of current food pantry recipients indicated that 20% request kosher food.  Those with transportation may also visit the pantry and 'shop' from selected items by appointment."
 
JFS began operating its food pantry in 1996, serving 35 clients. Today, the "Food Pantry at JFS" provides more than 550 people with bi-monthly food packages. The pantry will move into its new location early in October this year, with a Grand Opening celebration planned for November 29, 2012.

Jewish Family & Children's Services of San Francisco was recently profiled by Stanford University. On August 27th Stanford Social Innovation Review published, "Elderly Care and the Future of Social Innovation."
 
A case study in innovation: Jewish Family and Children Services
Curtis Chang, founder and CEO of Consulting Within Reach (CWR) recently spent some time with JFCS San Francisco. JFCS is the oldest public charity west of the Mississippi and serves the elderly from the entire community, not just the Jewish one. In the 1980s, it began to struggle financially. Amid this fiscal crisis, Anita Friedman took over as the executive director and vowed to reinvent the agency's business model or go out of business trying. Over the next twenty years, she radically reshaped JFCS into a thriving $30 million organization that enters the new era of fiscal scarcity far stronger than typical social services agencies.

Her reinvention included several components, but one particular idea was especially worthy of contemplation: the adoption of universal versus targeted services.

Universal versus targeted services
Perhaps the most radical move JFCS made was to shed the typical nonprofit model of providing services targeted for low-income seniors. Instead, it aimed to help all seniors, including those with significant financial resources. The financially able group generated JFCS's core financial base, and today, 65 percent of the organization's revenue comes from earned income. This financial strength allows JFCS to forego aggressive fundraising to cover core operating costs and instead to focus on raised funds to subsidize low-income clients.

Read Elderly Care and the Future of Social Innovation to learn more about successful new models for senior care.

A Washington coalition has deemed Raquel Woodard an "Angel,'' but a Framingham family sees her in slightly different terms. "We always think of her as our fairy godmother,'' said Gail Gregory. "But angel works, too.''

The Gregorys' daughter is one of about 1,000 children Woodard has helped place with adoptive families, both in her years working in California and the 20 she has spent with the Framingham-based Jewish Family Service of MetroWest's Adoption Choices, a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency that serves families statewide.

"Raquel is a tireless supporter of everyone participating in an adoption - child, birth parents, adoptive parents,'' Gregory said. Which is exactly what Woodard's colleague, Dale Eldridge, coordinator of adoptive parent services at Adoption Choices, said in her letter nominating Woodard for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's "Angels in Adoption Award for 2012,'' an annual recognition of those "who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of children in need of a permanent, loving home.''

"It is her absolutely unfailing commitment to children,'' for more than 45 years as a clinical social worker in the field, that is "truly unparalleled,'' said Eldridge, who has worked with Woodard for 20 years at the JFS site. Eldridge's nomination was sent to the Massachusetts delegation on Capitol Hill and sponsored by Sen. Scott Brown.

"Raquel's selection as an Angel in Adoption is a well-deserved honor and recognition of her invaluable service to our community,'' Brown said in a statement this week. "Her dedication to the field of adoption and advocacy for children and families has changed many lives for the better.''

But Woodard's work as coordinator of services to birth parents and children at Adoption Choices is unique. She was at the forefront of adding educational components, support groups and workshops for parents to the adoption process. "That was her baby,'' said Eldridge. She's "a longtime unsung hero in the adoption field, as well as being an adoptive mom herself,'' said Marc Jacobs, chief executive officer of JFS.

Read more about Raquel Woodard in the Metrowest Daily News.

Jewish Social Service Agency's Employment and Career Services department has worked to forge new relationships with prospective employers and created numerous, growth oriented employment opportunities for JSSA's developmentally disabled clients. JSSA's supported employment services, which include vocational training, work adjustment training, job development, career coaching and social engagement are custom tailored to individuals with an emphasis on the dignity of occupations and enhancing the client's sense of self-worth and self-sustainability. Despite JSSA's best efforts, unfortunately, stereotypical thinking and assumptions, combined with lack of exposure to people with developmental disabilities, is often as big a hurdle as the disability itself. While JSSA has had great success working with employers they feel that developing programs that will allow themJSSA logo to help remove these stereotypes and assumptions, programs that "introduce" their clients to the prospective employer will help their success rate improve dramatically.
 
To support one such initiative, JSSA has received funding for the purchase of equipment needed to start the agency's new iPAD Interview Program. Equipment will be used to bring the faces and abilities of individuals with disabilities to life with the help of high definition digitally recorded interview presentations which can then be presented to the prospective employer thus removing the mystery of the disability. With this program, JSSA can greatly improve prospective employers' knowledge and then acceptance of their clients. To learn more about JSSA's Supported Employment Services click here.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado will honor Elaine and Max Appel, and Betsy Mordecai Heyman and Gareth Heyman at its 17th annual benefit film screening, Reel Hope, on December 10. Reel Hope supports all programs of JFS, incljfs coloradouding mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services. Community members are invited to pay tribute to the Appels as they receive the 2012 Jack Shapiro Community Service Award, and the Heymans who will accept the 2012 Kal Zeff Business Leader of the Year Award.
 
For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.jewishfamilyservice.org/ReelHope or contact Lisa Mehl at 720.248.4633.

Jewish Family Service of Tidewater has been nominated for Hampton Roads Magazine's "Giving Back Awards." These awards aim to recognize the often unrecognized groups living among us who address the many needs of the community. The winners - as determined by reader votes - will be revealed in the magazine's November/December 2012 issue.
    
The first voting round began September 3 and runs through Friday, September 7th at 3:00pm. The 50 non-profit organizations receiving the greatest number of votes will advance to the next round!  Each of the five finalists will be featured with editorial profiles in the November/December 2012 issue of Hampton Roads Magazine, with their rankings revealed and the non-profit of the year receiving top billing. Click here to vote for JFS!

Going to the doctor is usually never an enjoyable experience one looks forward to.  As one grows older, one learns to fear the diagnosis or the health advice one doesn't  want to hear. Many times, however, it can be a worry just trying to remember or understand all the information the doctor imparts - in complex medical terms - and being able to follow those instructions.  Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern NJ is now offering a remedy to this very dilemma:  Patient Partners.
 
The Patient Partners program will pair trained volunteers with senior citizens to accompany the patient to his / her doctor appointments. The volunteer will be trained to record, relay and share the information of the visits with the patient and the patient's family, if needed.  The advocate will help decipher the medical jargon, and act as a support person to the patient.

"This program is a necessity. Many patients are lost without the advocate, and lost within all the doctor terminology. It helps them to have a supportive person by their side, to relieve the burden. The patients who use Patient Partners are more confident and empowered," says Suzi Abrams, RN, program coordinator for Patient Partners at Samost JFCS.  "When there are treatments, medications, appointments, therapy, surgeries all possibly being discussed simultaneously, it can be simply overwhelming - especially for seniors," says Abrams.

Since the program's inception, patients who have used Patient Partners are finding better outcomes from their appointments, with an increased commitment to treatment plans and medication regimens, and a much-improved understanding of their health matters. "Having a liaison available to the patient can make all the difference," says Abrams.  

The program was conceived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Samost JFCS is one of the first agencies in the area to launch it in the Northeast. The Patient Partners program is now accepting and training volunteer advocates to accompany patients to medical appointments. Training covers common health issues, medical terminology, honing listening and communication skills with medical personnel, and confidentiality and ethics.

On August 10th, Jewish Child Care Association's Compass Project, a program for high school, college-aged students, and young adults with special needs, celebrated their accomplishments at an Intern Appreciation and Recognition Reception. The Compass Project placed 35 interns in a wide range of employment situations throughout Long Island and Queens. Internships varied from working at a print shop and assisting groomers and vets to working with kidjccas at a children's museum. The room was bursting with the tremendous joy and pride felt by the interns, their partners in business, and parents. Compass youth spoke of how this internship program has given them direction, new skills, and an opportunity to explore fields they are passionate about.

With the unemployment rate high in New Jersey, career coaching and entrepreneurial grooming is a necessity in the ever-competitive job market. Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey announced the Stan Kessler Career and Entrepreneurial Counseling Services series of programs. The workshops offer the keys to gainful employment - and even starting a business.

The no-cost career coaching programs impart strategies for building a better resume, engaging potential employers while interviewing, and honing in on the most marketable assets as a potential employee. Specific programs are also slated for the fall to help would-be entrepreneurs develop and cultivate skills for starting their own business.
The employment and entrepreneurial programs were inspired by the late Stan Kessler, an entrepreneur and business leader. Stan Kessler utilized his entrepreneurial ways to create a revolutionary change in the marketplace in the late 1970's by creating one of the first automobile leasing companies in the US, geared to the individual consumer.

Nadine Halevy, previously a senior recruiter for Fortune 500 companies such as Tyco International and Goldman Sachs & Co, is the program director for the series at  Samost JFCS, and says, "It can be very daunting to look for a job, especially in this market," she explains. "I don't find people jobs, but I re-energize and empower them to find their own. Some people need only one session to get re-energized, and for others it takes longer. People are so grateful for this help, and I feel like I am making a significant impact."

The next seminar is on October 18th, and will feature internationally-renowned business etiquette speaker, coach, and author, Barbara Pachter. Participants will hear advice on establishing relationships easily, writing and speaking confidently, using social media successfully, and making a powerful first impression.  Then, on October 22, Sarah Vaynerman, Founder and President of the Manhattan-based Esvee Group, will share her niche expertise of strategic online communications.  Attendees will gain insight into how to build an online presence, navigate the platforms of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest , write captivating blogs, develop content strategy and manage their online reputation.           

To register for either no-cost program, or for more information, contact Meredith Seligman at 856-424-1333.

Throughout the month of September, Jewish Family Service of Colorado volunteer para-chaplains and Rabbi Eliot Baskin, Jewish community chaplain, will lead High Holy Day services for Jewish residents at more than 30 locations throughout metro Denver and Boulder. Para-chaplain volunteers serve Jewish individuals in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, retirement communities, mental health centers, and correctional facilities.
 
"These invaluable volunteer para-chaplains help create a warm Jewish connection and provide spiritual support by making a difference in the lives of people suffering from serious illness or isolation," said Nancy Benyamin, JFS's director of volunteer services.

Jewish Family & Children's Services of East Bay is celebrating their 135th anniversary on Sunday, October 28th at the Oakland Museum of California.

The benefit, The Art of Living, will feature a unique theatrical and musical tribute to JFCS East Bay's 135-year history. For more information email swaits@jfcs-eastbay.org.

In the past five years, the number of clients Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles serves has tripled to more than 12,000 every month. The most recent 12-month period continued this trend - yet with the support of the community, { SOVA (community food and resource program) and JFS continue to maintain and even expand their service level.

  • In November 2011, with the generous help of Republic Services, JFS { SOVA distributed grocery bags filled with complete Thanksgiving dinner needs to more than 2,000 families. 
  • Bright and early on the very first day of 2012, student volunteers from the Universities of Oregon and Wisconsin put aside their friendly rivalries and teamed up to sort food for JFS { SOVA clients at the Valley location. 
  • A partnership with Fromin's Deli in Santa Monica, which began in February 2012, has been extraordinarily successful, with Fromin's donating 25% of their dinner proceeds from the first Monday of each month directly to JFS { SOVA. 
  • In March, JFS { SOVA opened a new Family Resource Center directly adjacent to the Valley pantry - clients visiting the food pantry now have access to an even broader spectrum of supportive services in a family-friendly environment. 
  • April saw a "magic" moment as JFS { Aleinu and JFS { SOVA programs teamed up for a community fundraising event featuring professional magicians showcasing their talents to the amazement of all! 
  • The JFS { SOVA Leadership Committee began working on a special project soliciting surplus from wholesale food producers and distributors, which has so far led to donations of truckloads of food, led by the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. 
  • This summer, JFS { SOVA woll continue to grow - this August, a new warehouse will be added, which will more than double overall storage capacity!  

Other plans for the coming year include further expansion of counseling and case-management capabilities. JFS { SOVA has more than tripled the number of area supermarkets providing surplus food - especially fresh produce and perishables - on a regular basis. To effectively handle this expansion, JFS hopes to acquire a new refrigerated truck in the next few months, so stay tuned for an update on that in the months to come.

Jewish Family Service of Seattle is celebrating their 120th anniversary. JFS will recognize and honor those whose dedication and passion have helped Jewish Family Service serve thousands upon thousands of individuals and families here and at home. This event is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with members of the community and reflect upon generations of continued support. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Leslie Sugiura at 206-861-3151. Please note: All guests must pre-register as there will be no registration at the door.

This year marks an important milestone in Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh as they celebrate their 75th anniversary of service to the community at their upcoming gala, Lifecycles & Laughtracks, on Saturday, November 17th.  

Lifecycles & Laughtracks will be an exciting night of food, friends and entertainment with our valued supporters, along with five-time Emmy Award winner Alan Zweibel, renowned writer of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and the original "Saturday Night Live." For 75 years, JFCS has proven that a better day is always within reach.
 
JFCS's message for their 75th anniversary speaks to their work which has touched the lives of so many individuals and families. Throughout their history, JFCS has continuously evolved to meet the community's changing needs, constantly innovating to ensure they deliver the very best services to those in need, and making good on their promise to help clients reach a better day -- for every individual and family who walks through the door.

Click here to visit the gala website for exciting event updates, ticket and sponsor information and more.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Boston is excited to share a new report, Promoting Aging-Friendly Communities in Massachusetts: Experiences of a Neighborhood Model in Brookline. The report describes one three-year demonstration project addressing older adults' desire to remain living in the community for as long as possible. The success of key elements of the project served as a catalyst for a town-wide aging in community model, Brookline Community Aging Network.

This report is a must read for those who want to know more about what is happening on the ground to engage and care for older adults in the community. As the number of older adults grows significantly over the next decades, there is a real need for information about the successes and challenges in creating aging-friendly communities.

For more information please contact Kathy Burnes, Project Manager, JF&CS Geriatric Institute at 781-693-5573.

On July 8th about 100 alumni of one of Jewish Child Care Associations' predecessor organizations, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, and their guests, held their last gathering at a farewell buffet. It was a cheerful yet poignant affair--the culmination of decades of meetings, social get-togethers, and publication of The Rising Bell, the official newsletter of the HOA.
 
Alumni generosity was demonstrated with the distribution of their remaining funds to three nonprofit organizations: Jewish Child Care Association, UJA-Federation of New York, and the jccaAmerican Jewish Historical Society, to "perpetuate the memory of the HOA as far into the future as possible." Several alumni spoke of their experiences at HOA and old friends reminisced with each other about their time there.

In 1860, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum was created to "aid the sick, needy, widowed and orphaned of New York's Jewish community." It was the city's first Jewish orphanage, on West 29th Street, with 30 children. It moved several times thereafter. The HOA closed its doors in 1941.

Experience Asheville through Jewish Family Services of Western North Carolina's raffle, 'Mountains of Fun' Vacation.
The raffle prize includes a week in a beautiful vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina, and a variety of restaurants and activities in the Asheville area. The prize is estimated to be worth around $3000, and the tickets are only $18 each!

A maximum of 1,000 raffle entries will be sold. Raffle sales will close on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 12:00 midnight, or when 1,000 entries have been sold, whichever comes first. The winner will be notified by phone call, email, and USPS mail. The winner will have one year from the date of the drawing to utilize the items included in the raffle prize.

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry (SHCFP) Director Becky Abrams was a guest on a recent edition of "The Lynne Hayes-Freeland Show" earlier this month, where she and Pantry volunteer, local celebrity chef and former "Hell's Kitchen" contestant Elise Wims talked about hejfcs pittsburghalthy eating. Becky spoke to the work of SHCFP in ensuring Pantry clients are offered a continuous wide variety of healthy items, while Elise spoke about utilizing great-tasting and inexpensive ingredients, including seasonal produce, that can easily be found on SHCFP and supermarket shelves. Elise also demonstrated how to create a quick and tasty gourmet meal while still remaining budget-conscious.
   
The segment aired on Saturday, July 7th at 6:30am on The CW and on Sunday, July 8th at 6am on KDKA. To view the segment online, click here

Last year, Collat Jewish Family Services of Birmingham had 196 volunteers work for 1392 hours helping CJFS to  serve the Birmingham community. CJFS volunteers come from all age ranges, have all sorts of talents and work a little or a lot.
 
CJFS new Volunteer Coordinator, Debbie Bunch, is available to discuss assembling baskets, making someone smile, serving on a committee, or developing a Mitzvah project.

Jewish Family Service of Rochester welcomes Wendy Strauss, LMSW, as new Assistant Executive Director. Wendy will be working to enhance the services JFS offers to the Rochester community. She will be injfs rochestervolved with strategic program development as well as supervise the program management staff.

Wendy comes to us from the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester where she spent 10 years as part of the financial resource development staff working with young adults and donors to the Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. Prior to that, Wendy worked at Catholic Family Center as the Director of the Employee Assistance and Counseling Services Department.

Paul Levine has announced that he plans to step down as Executive Vice President and CEO of JBFCS on June 30, 2013. David Rivel, Chief Administrative Officer/Associate Executive Vice President, is named his successor. Levine has been with JBFCS for 30 years and without question has strengthened and broadened this large multi-service agency serving New Yorkers in need.

His contributions to the success of his agency and the entire New York City metropolitan area have been considerable.  Although his leadership and passion for the work of JBFCS will be missed, his legacy will continue because of the strong organizational foundation he has built.

Paul will also be missed by his colleagues and friends all across the AJFCA network.  He has been an exceptional board member, but, more importantly, a mentor and teacher for many across the system.  Paul's work with AJFCA is not yet done, as he still has his board term to complete and he has agreed to serve as Program Co-Chair for the 2013 AJFCA Annual Conference. AJFCA knows each of you will join us over the next year in wishing Paul well and thanks for all of his contributions.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service west of Boca Raton has trained its first parenting coordinator, psychologist Jill Schwartzberg. The organization joins a growing number of social service agencies and family court judges who believe bitter divorced parents need an arbiter outside the courthouse to make sure they stick to their agreements.

The state Legislature created a legal role for parenting coordinators in 2009 as part of a law designed to assist parents in resolving their disputes. If the parents agree, judges can appoint coordinators to sit the parents down and develop a detailed plan for splitting responsibilities, such as pickup times and places, summer camp payment plans and the role of grandparents.

"These are very high conflict families," said Schwartzberg, who has worked with families for more than 20 years. "You're like a referee. It's really about conflict resolution and trying to protect the children."

Read about parent coordinators and Jill's new role in the July 6th South Florida Sun-Sentinel article, After divorce, parent coordinators mediate for children.

Recently Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh welcomed Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to Pittsburgh and to their office. This was Assistant Secretary Richard's first visit to Pittsburgh, and JFCS was one of the agencies selected to meet with her about their important work welcoming, transitioning and resettling refugees in Pittsburgh.

While in Pittsburgh, Assistant Secretary Richard met with JFCS staff and refugee clients. During her visit, she also spoke with additional refugee service providers, agencies and members of the community.
 
Following her visit to JFCS Pittsburg, Assistant Secretary Richard praised JFCS for their work meeting refugees' needs in the Essential Public Radio article.

Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland, OH was named Top Workplace for the 2nd year in a row.  JFSA has been named a Top Workplace in Northeast Ohio by the Plain Dealer. The ranking is based entirely on employee feedback regarding the workplace environment.     

"My direct manager is immensely helpful. I have gotten to know a broad range of people through my job and I feel like I've learned and accomplished a lot."

"My manager motivates team work, learning and makes each client and employee special. Great environment to work and learn!"

"The belief that they really care about the individuals they serve."

Since its launch two years ago, Project Build has done at least 20 projects. Some are large-scale builds, but some can be as small as putting in new plumbing or windows or modifying houses to make them safer for elderly residents, said Erin Lederman-Thackray, Project Build's program coordinator.

The program is a collaboration with the Building Industry Association of Southeastern Michigan and provides pro bono renovations for families in Metro Detroit.

Stacey Grant, a family caseworker with JFS, said the program is open to everyone, but they must be recommended by caseworkers based on financial need.

On June 27th, Perry Ohren, CEO of Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit, MI went to a house in Southfield for a "Home Reveal."  Local JFS staff and community members, JFS's Building Industry Association partners, The Jewish Fund and the Detroit News converged on what the Jewish News refers to as a miracle. Click here to read about JFS in The Detroit News.

On July 1st, the Jewish Child Care Association in New York celebrated 100 years of caring for needy and neglected youth on its beautiful Westchester Campus.

One hundred years ago, on a gorgeous summer day, 480 children arrived at the Pleasantville Cottage School, many of whom had never been outside the city. One of the first residents recalled: "We were like bugs flying all over. We ran in and out of all the cottages. We chased each other across the square. We climbed inside the huge ice boxes which looked bigger than a whole East Side apartment. We jumped on the beds and flushed the toilets. We were explorers in a new world."

The 250 current residents on the Campus, in Pleasantville Cottage School, Edenwald Center, Pleasantville Diagnostic Center, and now the Gateways Program, like those before them, have faced unimaginable struggles, emotional difficulties, and troubled pasts. Thanks to a supportive and expert staff, as well as a network of extraordinarily dedicated and loving volunteers, they can rebuild their livjccaes and gain hope for the future.

Three generations of leaders came together at Jewish Child Care Association's Bukharian Teen Lounge in Queens on June 25th to celebrate Welcoming New Leaders to the Community. Young men and women, ages 25-35, who graduated from the Kalontar Leadership Program, sponsored by UJA-Federation of New York, and the Bukharian Teen Lounge Young Leadership Board that consists of teenagers age 15 to 18 and is sponsored by COJECO, were greeted with open arms by the senior leaders of the Bukharian Jewish community. Debby Perelmuter, JCCA's Vice President of Services in the Jewish Community and distinguished members of the Bukharian community spoke to an enthusiastic group.

Kalontar is a leadership training program that promotes philanthropic consciousness among Bukharian youth as they take on leadership positions on the Boards and committees of UJA-Federation and its agencies. Some of this year's group of graduates started their own foundation to help needy children, became members of the Board of Queens College Hillel, formed their own non-profit organization, organized events to help teens, and actively participated in the life of the community. More than 50 young adults have been involved in Kalontar since its inception in 2008.

Jewish Family Service Agency of Las Vegas, NV has new addition to their staff. Sara Reiss has been hired as a full-time Volunteer Coordinator. With her prior experience in volunteer services in the Las Vegas non-profit sector, she brings the experience necessary to develop a strong and engaged group of volunteers for the agency.  

Jewish Family Services is dedicated to healing the world one person at a time but can't achieve their goal without the generosity of volunteers.

On June 25th Jewish Family Service of Colorado held JFS Salutes Those Who Serve Others, at the Palazzo Verdi in Greenwood Village. The charities of JFS were the beneficiaries of the evening. Complimentary tickets were provided for the kosher cocktail party celebrating 140 years of JFS. Kay and Aubrey Knight were presented with the 2012 Max Frankel Volunteer of the Year Award.

"I can't testify to all 140 years of JFS in the community, but I have been around for a very long time" Yana Vishnitsky, JFS President and CEO said.
 
https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/photos/photoevent.cfm?id=2770

Jewish Family Service of Austin, TX announced that the Austin City Council approved a resolution "directing the City Manager to work with interested parties to determine the feasibility and logistics of establishing an eruv in Austin." This brings Austin one step closer to joining Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and other cities in Texas and elsewhere in the country in accommodating the needs of many religiously observant Jews and making Austin a more welcoming destination for Orthodox newcomers.  

The proposed eruv would encompass approximately one square mile in Northwest Austin and create an unobtrusive, largely invisible perimeter where certain activities restricted on the Jewish Sabbath would become permissible. Private contributions would cover the cost of installation and maintenance. The Austin eruv also has the support of the Jewish Community Association of Austin, the Northwest Austin Civic Association, the Austin Anti-Defamation League and local congregations and Jewish clergy from every religious movement.
 

According to the American Alzheimer's Association, there are 15 million non-professional caregivers in the United States. Their unpaid services are valued at $210 billion a year. Fortunately, in Southwest Florida a number of community services offer help. The Senior Friendship Center has an adult daycare program at its various facilities.

The Jewish Family and Children's Services of Sarasota-Manatee, Inc. provides a weekly caregiver support group. While the patients spend time together in another room, the caregivers meet to discuss various issues they face. Afterward, everyone has lunch together. For Joelle, whose 80-year-old husband, Stephen, suffers from frontal temporal dementia, this is one of the few times a week that she gets a break. JFCS also provides a volunteer who comes on Tuesdays and spends time with Stephen for three hours. Joelle also uses Take Care, a paid companion service, once a week for four hours so she can play bridge with friends.

JFCS was featured in the June 26th Sarasota Herald Tribune, Health & Fitness Supplement.

On the steps of the NY Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 19th, Jewish Child Care Association's CEO Richard Altman joined Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a youth from JCCA's Gateways program and members of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition to urge legislature to pass the Trafficking Victims Justice and Protection Act (TVJPA). TVPA addressed the continued criminalization of trafficking victims and the impunity of those who prey on them - the pimps, traffickers, and buyers. Key provisions of the bill were at risk in both the Assembly and the Senate Codes Committees. JCCA's Gateways youth gave a powerful speech about the horrific encounters she experienced on the "streets" as a commercially exploited youth.

For the fifth consecutive year, Jewish Family Service of San Diego has earned the highest rating for sound fiscal management, the coveted 4-star designation from Charity Navigator, America's premier charity evaluator.

According to Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator, Jewish Family Service earned its 4-star rating through its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances.

"Only 5% of the charities we rate have received at least five consecutive 4-star evaluations," said Berger. "This outstanding accomplishment means that Jewish Family Service of San Diego outperforms most other charities in America. This 'exceptional' designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Jewish Family Service of San Diego from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust."

"This accomplishment," said Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service, "is a testament to our Board of Directors and staff who take great pride in fulfilling our mission and managing our resources so we can help as many clients as possible in our programs. It addresses perhaps the greatest donor concern-that your money is stewarded wisely and put to good use. As Charity Navigator puts it, 'this exceptional designation differentiates Jewish Family Service of San Diego from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.' "

In response to community need, the Jewish Social Service Agency is proud to have recently launched a comprehensive program for specialized bereavement support for survivors of suicide loss, encompassing expert clinical training, counseling services, a support group, information and referral services, and community educational programs. The Suicide Grief Support Program includes:

Counseling:  Specialized counseling for individuals, couples and family members.
Support Groups:  Monthly; for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The group, facilitated by a trained JSSA clinician (with expertise and specialized training in bereavement and suicide loss), offers a comfortable, safe and respectful setting to share feelings and gain support. This group is offered at no charge.
Information and Referral Services: Linking and referring family members and loved ones to community support services.
Community Educational Programs:  CEU trainings for mental health professionals and specialized free community workshops.

To learn more click here.

On June 11th, Jewish Family Service of Rochester received the Elmer Louis Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester for the Brighton Food Cupboard for superior programming in the Rochester Jewish Community.

The Brighton Food Cupboard, a program of JFS Rochester in cooperation with the Brighton Central School District, Foodlink, other community organizations and volunteers, opened in 2010 to help prevent and reduce hunger and food insecurity for individuals and families in Brighton and the surrounding communities. In addition to supplying food to approximately 500 individuals per month, the Brighton Food Cupboard houses a JFS social work case manager who meets with Food Cupboard clients to assess and make referrals based on their needs.

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore has a new website, www.jcsbaltimore.org; same address, with a new fresh look! The new website is:

  • Easy to navigate....Find the services you need fast.
  • Interactive...Reading and commenting on the JCS blog is a breeze.
  • Convenient....Purchase JCS contribution cards and make donations online.
  • User friendly...Employers can view featured candidates that match their vacant positions or submit job openings for FREE.
  • Accessible...Request more information about volunteer opportunities.
  • Contemporary....JCS understands and addresses the concerns of today.

Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City's JET Express program was featured on Fox 4 News on June 19th. When elderly folks hang up their car keys for good, some can feel trapped and isolated. But there are some services in the Kansas area that offer driver services to help elderly people stay active. One of the services is called JET Express, run through Jewish Family Services of Greater Kansas City. The rides are incredibly low cost, only $5 for a round trip. Demand for rides far exceeds the volunteer drivers right now.  JET Express is always looking for volunteers and does partially reimburse drivers to help ease costs. For more information about JET Express click here.

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Boston announced that they are further expanding and enhancing the scope of services available to the community through their affiliation with Jewish Family Service of Worcester. JFS Worcester's flagship clinical programs will be integrated with a wide variety of JFCS programs to expand their services throughout Central Massachusetts.

In 2011, JFCS merged with JFS of the North Shore; through their recent affiliation with JFS Worcester, they are continuing to enhance the impact of their many services through the combined resources of the organizations.

As one of the country's largest nonprofits, with almost 150 years of service to Greater Boston, JFCS will leverage their extensive resources to programs where they are most needed in Central Massachusetts. The two organizations will build on each other's areas of strength, while continuing to offer existing services and introduce new ones. With a similar mission and many complimentary programs, there is a strong synergy between the two organizations.  
 
Bringing together the two organizations will allow the agency to serve even more individuals and families in need. As their footprint continues to grow, they remain steadfast in their commitment to the community, clients, and friends and supporters. JFCS appreciates the support of the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts, which was instrumental in facilitating the affiliation.

Please join JFCS in welcoming JFS Worcester to the JFCS family.

Congratulations to Scott Rogoff, Board President of Jewish Family Service of Rochester, on receiving the 2012 Benjamin Goldstein Young Leadership Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester.  

Scott received this prjfs rochesterestigious award on June 12th at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochster Annual Meeting. Scott is a graduate of the Federation's Ramim program, serves on the Federation's board of directors (since 2011) and has been a leader in organizing activities for young adults. Scott is currently board president of Jewish Family Service of Rochester, where he has served on the board of directors since 2009, and the executive committee and board governance committee since 2010. At Temple Beth El, he serves on the strategic planning committee.

Jewish Family Services of Delaware has been an integral voice in the effort to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In recognition of JFS Delaware's service to the community, Vice President Joe Biden invited the agency to the White House on April 18, 2012 for a briefing on VAWA and a private lunch with the Vice President.

Dory Zatuchni, CEO and a member of AJFCA's Legislative Task Force, traveled to Washington along with her colleague Scott Michels, Director of Youth Development, Brahmin Jackson, Media Matters intern and case manager, and Tre Bracey, Media Matters intern. AJFCA Washington Director Shelley Rood met the JFS delegation at the VAWA briefing, which included presentations by Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Biden.  

Take a look at Dory Zatuchni's exciting account of "A Day with the Vice President of the United States of America."

Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service is proud to announce three major gifts totaling $2 million. Two gifts are multiyear pledges of $500,000 each for mental health services and residential care for disabled young adults respectively. A $1 million endowment was received in support of the agency's Life Plan program, helping seniors with adult disabled children plan for their future care. These gifts were in addition to the 11% increase in JFCS's annual campaign over last year.

Jewish Family Service of Metrowest MA's 2012 Seize the Dream Annual Gala was a huge success with over 350 people and $255,000 raised.  

Click here to view pictures taken. To read the stories and see a video of some of JFS' clients profiled, click here.

Jewish Family Service of Colorado celebrated their 140th year of service to the community at "Celebrate JFS," a complimentary cocktail reception held on June 25th.  

The community was invited to celebrate JFS's  accomplishments over the past year and in its 140-year history, welcome new board members, and thank volunteers and staff.

Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof continues his coverage in The New York Times of child sex trafficking. On May 24th, he highlighted Taz, (not her real name) who is a youth in Jewish Child Care Association's Gateways program. He writes about her traumatic story of being controlled and branded. He also writes about what is currently being done to help these young women across the country by changing current laws and treating these girls as victims rather than criminals. In addition, he calls attention to the troubling existence of backpage.com, a Village Voice Media website that facilitates the trafficking of young girls.

JCCA has been spearheading an advocacy effort with the Governor's Office and the NYS Legislature to provide funding for the landmark Safe Harbor Law which was enacted in 2008, but never funded. JCCA's efforts were successful and the State budget was modified to include $1.5 million for the development of services and programs for children who are victims and not criminals.

Read the entire story here. Read Kristof's first article about JCCA's Gateways program here.  

Jewish Family & Children's Services of Southern Arizona honored volunteers for Volunteer Appreciation Week with a salute to its volunteer corps. More than 20 volunteers gathered for a luncheon honoring their service on April 19th. JFCS staff turned the tables and served volunteers for a change.   

Linda Krause, Volunteer Services Manager, saluted the volunteers, noting the profound impact each of them has on the success of the agency. "Whether they are project-based volunteers helping at one or two events, or here daily, the organization could not function without them.JFCS volunteers are so dedicated and give from the heart. It is a real pleasure to work with them."
On Tuesday, May 15th, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh held their 2012 Annual Meeting, sharing accomplishments and progress over the past year and kicking off their 75th Anniversary celebration.

JF&CS was honored with a Proclamation from Pittsburgh City Council, declaring May 15th as "Jewish Family & Children's Service Day" in Pittsburgh.

CEO Aryeh Sherman writes, "For 75 years, we've proven that a better day is always within reach, JF&CS has touched the lives of thousands of our friends, neighbors and relatives. As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we're proud of our 75-year legacy of making a profound impact in peoples' lives, and we are committed to providing support, service, and continued innovation in light of evolving community needs and challenges for the next 75 years and more."
Jewish Family Service of Seattle held an amazing Community of Caring Luncheon on May 17th. The energy among attendees was "absolutely electric." 

CEO, Ken Weinberg writes, "Even if you weren't at the Luncheon, thank you for your ongoing support and helping JFS celebrate believing in one another for 120 years. Listen  to Ken's personal thank you here.
On Tuesday, May 8th Jewish Family and Community Services of Southwest Florida held a breakfast to celebrate their KOVOD Award and thank the four congregations that participated in the "Seder in a Box" collaborative project to raise funds for Passover Assistance. JFCS Southwest FL presented each of the four congregations with a replica of the AJFCA Kovod award with each congregation's name and logo. So now four congregations have an award with AJFCA and JFCS Southwest FL hanging in their buildings!
On May 16th Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey hosted their 68th Annual Meeting and Recognition of Volunteers. The festive evening is being held at the local JCC. Andi Lowe, JFCS Director of Volunteers publicly acknowledged all the hard work and time that JFCS volunteers have dedicated to the agency.  Sharing volunteer successes with the community highlighted their volunteers as role models, while encouraging others to give of their time. 
A record-breaking $1 million was raised at the Jewish Child Care Association's "Celebration of Hope" Fundraising Benefit on Tuesday, April 24th at the Mandarin Oriental, New York thanks to Jonathan M. Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels and more than 300 friends and supporters. JCCA CEO Richard Altman said, "We are so grateful to our wonderful honoree and all our generous donors for believing that every child deserves to grow up hopeful."
Jewish Family Service of Colorado's eighth annual JFS Executive Luncheon held on May 8th at the Grand Hyatt Denver entertained a sold-out crowd of 650 business and professional leaders. The event raised a record $468,000-$156,000 more than last year- to support all programs of JFS, including mental health counseling, senior and adult in-home care, disability and employment services, and family safety net services.

One of JFS's SHALOM Denver clients, Heidi Pittaway, bravely shared her personal success story about how the agency's job training program helped her, as a young single mother of two, transition from welfare to work. "SHALOM guided me," Heidi said. "The program gave me a dose of reality and helped me build my skills and confidence to succeed."  
Since 1912, Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford, CT has served adults, children, and families in the Greater Hartford community without regard to age, religion, income, physical ability, or race, through counseling and other vital programs.

To celebrate this milestone, JFS is hosting a Sparkling Evening on June 10th including dinner, tribute program, music, and dessert. 
Richard Cummings, Executive Director of Jewish Family & Child of Greater Toronto, was featured in the May 3, 2012 edition of Canadian Jewish News. In a CJN feature entitled CJN Roundtable, four people were asked to weigh in on the question, "In difficult economic times, how can we best help the needy?" In Richard's response, he describes the important work of JF&CS and details his vision for a caring and connected community.  Read the entire article here
Jewish Community Services of Baltimore has opened new offices at the Owings Mills JCC. An open house will be held on May 20th. Tours will be offered and attendants will have the opportunity to meet JCS staff and find out what JCS can do for the community

On Tuesday, June 5th, JCS will formally dedicate its new site at the Owings Mills JCC. There will be a ribbon cutting, mezuzah hanging, tours and light refreshments. The dedication will immediately follow the JCS Annual Meeting at the Gordon Center.
The Jewish Child Care Association has been spearheading an advocacy effort with the Governor's Office and the New York State Legislature to provide funding for the landmark Safe Harbor Law which was enacted in 2008 but never funded. JCCA's efforts were successful this year under the leadership of Amy Cohen, JCCA's Director of Government Grants and Lashauna Cutts, Director of Gateways. The State budget was modified to include $1.5 million for the development of services and programs for children who are victims and not criminals.

NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof contacted JCCA in mid-April requesting an on-site visit to Gateways and interviews with staff and the girls treated in the program. He visited the campus. Kristof's visit resulted in this article, featured in the New York Times Op-Ed, a part of Kristof's continuing coverage on child sex trafficking.
Toronto Star's, LIFE section featured the annual High Conflict Symposium, hosted by Jewish Family and Child Service of Greater Toronto. The High Conflict Symposium conference was well attended with over 350 professionals (judges; lawyers; psychologists and mental health professionals and child welfare staff from 21 CASs across Ontario).

The feedback on the symposium was excellent and many of AJFCA's Canadian agencies volunteered time to assist and/or attended. The Symposium was a collaborative event pertaining to leading edge professional development both within JFCS Toronto and with their community partners.
Thank you to JFS Houston for hosting such a wonderful conference.
Jewish Family Service of Metrowest, MA recently received a $30,000 grant from the anonymous Boston-based foundation to support a program to close education achievement gaps at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Framingham.

"This is your urban poverty elementary school in suburbia," said JFS CEO Marc Jacobs. "When you think about the gigantic achievement gaps that are there for children in the commonwealth, you usually think about Lawrence and Lowell and Mission Hill and the like, but it's also right here in Framingham."
Thousands in Metro Detroit's Jewish community have been flocking to Home Depot's Facebook page in recent weeks. No, they are not all interested in becoming fans of the national retail giant. They are simply trying to help a local social service agency win $250,000 from the Home Depot Foundation.

Jewish Family Service in Michigan was one of 12 nonprofits around the country to win a monthly prize of $25,000 cash and another $5,000 in Home Depot gift cards from the Home Depot Foundation this past January. That win put them in the competition for the Aprons in Action contest that will give away a total of a half-million dollars in March. JFS plans to use the cash prize for its Project Build! program, which provides JFS clients with safe and barrier-free homes through pro bono repairs and renovations provided by local builders, remodelers and suppliers.

While many nonprofits in the Jewish community are still trying to find their way in the new world of social media, online contests like the Home Depot Foundation's Aprons in Action have pushed nonprofit organizations to create a social media strategy to get out the vote on Facebook, the social networking site that boasts more than 850 million users.

Retail giants like Target and Home Depot, as well as large corporations like Toyota and Ford Motor Company, have drawn millions of Facebook users to their corporate and foundation "Fan Pages" through their online contests.

AJFCA is thrilled to see Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit's social media efforts featured in eJewish Philanthropy. In addition to supporting their efforts, AJFCA wishes to congratulate JFS Detroit on winning a 2012 Kovod Award for Effective Use, of Social Media, which will be presented at the Annual Conference on April 23rd.

Continue to read about these crowd-raising initiatives in the remainder of the article

Nonprofits Compete in Facebook Contests, March 19, 2012, eJP, by Rabbi Jason Miller
Jewish Family Service of Raleigh-Cary is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Their kick-off event ---GOOD DEEDS DAY is slated for Sunday, March 25th. For the first time, the Raleigh-Cary community will join with Jews in this country, in Israel and across the globe for this internationally recognized day of performing mitzvot. 

Good Deeds Day, established in Israel in 2007, is a local opportunity to renew Jewish values by giving to the community in which one lives. During the past five years, more than 140,000 volunteers have participated in this day of service. JFS is asking Good Deeds Day volunteers to help families in the Jewish community by bringing a grocery store or gas gift card with them on Good Deeds Day. JFS will distribute these cards to Jewish families who are in need of financial assistance. 
Our member agency in Naples, FL has made some exciting changes. The agency is now called Jewish Family and Community Services of Southwest Florida. JF&CS has moved from it's original location to 5025 Castello Drive, Naples, FL 34103. The phone number remains the same, 239-325-4444, but the general email address has changed. Executive Director, Dr. Jacklynn Faffer has a new email address as well.
Jewish Family Service of Colorado is currently seeking para-chaplain volunteers for its Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick) Para-chaplain Program. Training sessions will be held on Thursday evenings, April 25th, May 2nd, May 9th, and May 16th from 4:30-7:00pm (at JFS, 3201 South Tamarac Drive in Denver). Bikur Cholim para-chaplains assist JFS by providing spiritual support and a Jewish connection to isolated members of the Jewish community.

Para-chaplain volunteers visit Jewish seniors or conduct holiday services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, prisons, or hospitals.

In order to be a para-chaplain, volunteers must be Jewish, but do not need to have an extensive Jewish education. To lead services, a deeper understanding of Jewish traditions is desirable. For more information/registration please contact Beth Lippa, 720.248.4599.
Thank you to everyone who helped Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit's Project Build! win $25,000 in January 2012 in The Home Depot Foundation's Aprons in Action Facebook contest. As a result of that win, JFS Detroit is now in the championship round and needs your help throughout March to bring home the grand prize of $250,000. 

Project Build! provides essential home repairs and modifications for people who have low-incomes and/or physical challenges. Because we need you to vote every day in March, we want to make it easy by signing you up for a daily email reminder (you do need a Facebook account to vote). Just click here to visit the voting page. Here's the link to the voting page. Thanks for your help and stay tuned for more details as the competition continues.
Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto will hold the 7th Annual High Conflict Forum, Emotional Harm of Children in Separation and Divorce: The Clinical and Legal Conundrum on Thursday, April 19th in conjunction with High Conflict Forum.

Emotional harm to children chronically exposed to conflict has emerged as an important concern in separating and divorcing families. In high conflict custody cases the complexities of emotional harm are not well understood by child welfare professionals, clinicians, lawyers and judges. The absence of a common understanding within and between the clinical and legal communities has often left professionals at odds when working with these families. As a result, these cases are extraordinarily challenging to professionals involved with children, their parents and the family justice system.

Conference Objectives:
  • To summarize leading research on emotional harm and its impact on children
  • To provide professionals with a common framework for understanding the concept of emotional harm from both a clinical and legal perspective
  • To enhance clinical skills in assessing emotional harm in children
  • To provide a framework to develop recommendations and assist in clinical and legal decision-making in cases involving emotional harm to children
To read more about the conference and speakers, please download the brochure.
New York City Schools will be honoring Respect for All Week from February 13-17, 2012. This initiative was started three years ago. Its focus is to combat bullying and harassment based on ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and other characteristics.  

The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services wrote in their January e-newsletter, "Why limit such an initiative to schools? What can we do as an agency to help promote these necessary values?" The New York City Council offers ideas on how to promote Respect for All in your neighborhood.
Nearly 400 of Westchester's top movers and shakers turned out for "A Tree Grows in Pleasantville," a cocktail party for Jewish Child Care Association's The Cottage Schools  on Saturday, January 7th. This year marked the 100th birthday of JCCA's Pleasantville Campus, where "cottage style" residential living was pioneered in this country. The event kicked off "Paving the Way: The Cottage Schools Brick Campaign."

This year's event raised more than $353,000. Over the last seven years, the benefit has raised more than $1.8 million. "All funds go directly to providing core essentials to the vulnerable youth of The Cottage Schools," said Richard Altman, JCCA CEO.

For more information about "Paving The Way: The Cottage Schools Brick Campaign," please email jcca@jccany.org. .
 
The Journal News did an in-depth feature, on the front page of the January 10th, 2012 issue, on the 100th birthday of the Campus. To read the article online, click here.
The Adoption Connection at Jewish Family Services of Greenwich in conjunction with the NJ Y Camps has opened registration for the fourth annual Forever Families Weekend, a family weekend experience for Jewish families touched by adoption. The program will run from June 8-10, 2012.

Families will have the opportunity to think consciously about their roles in both the Jewish community and the adoption community while enjoying a weekend at one of the largest Jewish summer camps in North America. njy camps

Parents will have the option to participate in workshops such as: Children's Books and Stories of Adoption, Identity Issues for Adoptees Approaching Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Acceptance of Transracial Families in the Jewish Community, and Jewish, LGBT, and Parenting by Adoption while their children participate in age-appropriate activities such as a teen-adoptee spoken word workshop or skill-building workshops aimed at teaching children them how to respond to comments and questions about adoption.

For more information about this program, or to receive Forever Families literature, please contact Debbie Schwartz at 203-622-1881. A downloadable flyer describing the program is available.
Jewish Family Service of San Diego welcomed new CEO, Michael Hopkins on January 24th. Michael replaces Jill Borg Spitzer who is retiring after 26 years of leadership at Jewish Family Service of San Diego. Jill will be the lone honoree at JFS Heart & Soul Gala on March 3rd and is staying on with JFS as a consultant. jfs san diego

Hopkins has devoted more than 30 years to building and strengthening the Jewish community, with a majority of his professional career directing and growing Jewish Community Centers across the country. Prior tojoining Jewish Family Service San Diego, Hopkins served as Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBT organization. Prior to that, he was CEO of Jewish Community Center (JCC) Metrowest, one of the largest JCC's in the country. During his tenure with JCC Metrowest, Hopkins led a $23 million expansion and renovation and launched the nation's first Jewish Health and Healing Center at a JCC.
Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit has been selected as a January Finalist for The Home Depot Foundation's Aprons in Action Program. Throughout January, the public can vote for JFS' Project Build!, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homedepotfoundation, to win $25,000 in Home Depot gift cards for future projects. Each person may vote one time per 24 hour period.
 
In March 2012 one of the 11 monthly winners will be awarded the $250,000 grand prize. The organization that receives the second and third most votes will receive $150,000 and $100,000 from The Home Depot, respectively.
 
Project Build! is a JFS program that began in 2010 in partnership with the Building Industry Association of Southeastern Michigan (BIA), which helps older adults, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals and families to live in safe, functional and barrier-free homes.  To learn more about Project Build! click here.  
On January 11th Jewish Family & Children's Services of San Francisco hosted Californians Against Sexual Exploitation, a group  of concerned individuals and organizations working on a statewide initiative to heighten penalties against human trafficking and to strengthen Megan's Law against online predators. At the event, United States Representative Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo and San Francisco) recognized JF&CS for their efforts to curb human trafficking. JF&CS, along with other Bay Area institutions, was instrumental in forming the Jewish Coalition to End Human Trafficking, a group in which JF&CS of San Francisco Board President, Nancy Goldberg, has played a significant role.
Jewish Child & Family Services of Chicago announced the launch of the Access Team and 855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237), a one-stop, toll-free number to access all of the many programs and services offered by JCFS across all locations.

The Access Team provides comprehensive access to services offered within JC&FS, as well as linkage and referral to other resources in the community. Any questions? Just ask JC&FS, by calling 1-855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237, or email ask@jcfs.org). Whether a new client needs to schedule an appointment, is looking to find upcoming community programs, or wants to find out which services will match their needs, or more, there's now just one easy number to call.

The Access Team is available from 9:00am - 5:00pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 9:00am - 7:30pm on Tuesday, and from 9:00am - 4:00pm on Friday. 

Learn more at www.jcfs.org.
On January 1, 2012, Hirsch Serman became the new Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Memphis. Serman comes to Jewish Family Service with a wide array of expertise. Most recently, he has been the Executive Director of the Margolin Hebrew Academy. Prior to coming to Memphis in 2008, Serman spent over 7 years at SIRVA Relocation in Cleveland, Ohio, where he held the position of Senior Vice President/General Manager as well as working at Ernst and Young. He is also President and Founder of Insightful Strategies, a consulting firm. Serman shares over 23 years of business training, management and consulting experience.

Serman is very excited and honored to be the new Executive Director of JFS. He foresees JFS growing and moving forward by building partnerships and relationships with other agencies and together enhancing and providing new services to the Memphis Jewish community.
Jewish Family & Children's Service of Minneapolis is recognizing February as Jewish Disability Awareness Month (JDAM) and is pleased to provide you with the discussion guide for the inaugural JDAM Reads! selection, The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon.

Click to download your free copy of the JDAM Reads! discussion guide. Developed specifically to encourage readers to explore the presence of Jewish values and concepts in Simon's novel, the discussion guide will enhance the conversations that we hope will take place in your organization, with your family, and in your book club.

JDAM challenges us to think about why it is so important to understand that all people have something to contribute to their communities. The act of reading allows adults and children to think critically, to develop attitudes of awareness and empathy, and to embrace Jewish values.

Join the discussion on the JDAM Reads! Facebook page.
Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties is holding their 4th Annual Special Needs Educational Conference  for parents, caregivers and professionals. This year's conference will focus on "The Student Solution:  Answers and Solutions When Students Struggle with ADHD and Asperger's." Presenters include: Pam Milazo, JD, (BS in Education, ACG Founder, SAIL Institute, Educator, Lawyer, Academic and Executive Coach, National Speaker). Registration is $10 per person and scholarships are available upon request. Checks, made payable to JFS should be sent to 150-A West High Street, Somerville, NJ 08876.

4th Annual Special Needs Educational Conference
"The Student Solution:  Answers and Solutions When Students Struggle with ADHA and Asperger's"
Sunday, January 29th, 10:00am-12:00pm
Shimon & Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center (775 Talamini Road, Bridgewater)
 
To register or for more information contact JFS 908-725-7799 or Admin@JewishFamilySvc.Org.
Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersery is featured in a story on international media outlet, Voice of America in a piece entitled "US Faith-Based Organizations Increasingly Care for Poor, Elderly." Read the article and see the video to learn more about the difference Samost JFCS is making for people in their community.
Jewish Family Services of Collier County in Naples, FL is currently offering a free continuing education credits program and networking reception entitled, "Jewish Customs and Culture: Understanding and Addressing Cultural Barriers to Care."

Meeting the physical, social, mental and spiritual needs of members of the Jewish senior community requires an understanding of practices, observances and traditions that relate to their life at home. This presentation will explain Jewish customs, observances and rituals as they pertain to Jewish holidays, the Sabbath and life cycle events. This course will provide professionals with an understanding of how to integrate nutritional guidelines and religious dietary customs, information about traditions surrounding major holidays and an introduction to spiritual traditions surrounding death and mourning.
Jewish Family & Career Services of Louisville, KY will present the first ever Canorah on Sunday, December 18th. The menorah made of canned goods was built in the JFCS lobby.

Everyone is invited to come finish the Canorah and see it lit on Wednesday, December 28th. All canned goods will be donated to the JFCS Food Pantry.
Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota-Manatee, Inc. was recently awarded a multi-year $100,000 grant from the national membership organization the Alliance for Children and Families to implement a pilot project meant to explore, test, and gain understanding of the elevation of strategy within nonprofit human service agencies.

JFCS will institute its own Strategy Counts at JFCS! Program which is a transformational project which will build stronger teams and transform the current culture into a culture of shared ownership and responsibility. This team approach will build an understanding and strengthen the commitment of ownership of mission and strategy by mid-level and direct service staff. This will allow the agency to elevate its strategy at a time it is experiencing unprecedented growth.
Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland offers CEUs in salon domestic violence training. Lavish Color Salon in Warrensville Heights is the latest salon to take part in JFSA's Family Violence Services "Cut It Out" domestic violence training. JFSA staff Ginny Galili and Jen Roth will address different types of abuse, what a stylist should do if he or she suspects abuse in a client and how to talk with a client, at the training session on January 9th. Lavish Color Salon stylists will be the first to receive continuing education credits.
  
If you would like to bring this program to a salon near you, contact Ginny, 216-378-3420.
NORCS are the latest in keeping seniors safe and healthy. Spending time at the St. Sophia's senior center is routine. They're part of a growing, graying community in Albany's Whitehall neighborhood. It's called a NORC. Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York manages the Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.

"It's a naturally occurring retirement community" says Michael Burgess with the Statewide senior action council. "It wasn't planned, but it became one."

In this NORC there is senior housing, senior centers, hospitals and shops. Albany's NORC, along Whitehall road, encompasses about a 3.5 mile area. And it's more than structures, it's services from social to medical to even home maintenance.   

Read more about the great work JFS NENY is doing for the community in the WNYT-TV 13 segment that aired on Wednesday, December 14th
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Jewish Family Service Agency of Las Vegas is excited to announce the installation of their Light of Life Menorah in Opportunity Village's Magical Forest. 

The Light of Life Menorah stands alongside the Magical Forest's decorated holiday trees and installations making Hanukkah and Jewish tradition an integral part of the enormously successful community holiday event that attracts over 150,000 people annually. 
 
The Light of Life Menorah will share the culture and values of Jewish life with children and families of all faiths and also enlighten people about the mission and work of JFSA. The placement of meaningful Jewish iconography in the Magical Forest is intended to promote recognition and greater participation in Jewish community causes while engendering greater tolerance for diversity and respect for all faiths.

Hanukkah means "dedication" and the Light of Life Menorah will project the splendor of Jewish traditions and remind everyone of the dedication it takes to sustain the everyday miracles that occur at JFSA.
Jewish Family Services of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties has received a grant in the amount of $15,000 from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. This grant will fund JFS to provide screenings and treatment for depression for older adults in Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties.

"This grant from the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey will enable us to continue our work with older adults to help improve their overall quality of life, improve medication adherence, encourage and educate seniors and their caregivers  on their care needs to remain independent  in the community," said Ruth Edelman, JFS Coordinator for Community Based Support Services.
About five years ago, Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern New Jersey started getting calls from adult children with parents living in the Vineland area seeking services for their aging parents. Services in Cumberland County were quite limited as there isn't a Jewish Family Service in the area. Samost JFCS began to work collaboratively with the Jewish Federation of Cumberland County to determine the extent of what was needed. They soon discovered that Vineland has one of the most significant populations of Holocaust survivors in the state. In fact, according to the records kept by the Jewish Federation of Cumberland County, in the years immediately following World War II, Cumberland County (Vineland, specifically) had the third highest population of Holocaust survivors in the world.
 
When arriving in the Vineland area from Europe after World War II, many of these survivors became farmers and thrived. As their children grew and began to start families of their own, many left the area to find employment. As a result, these seniors are largely without hands-on family support and are in great need of the services JFCS provides.
 
Read more about the great work Samost JFCS is doing with Holocaust survivors here.
Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, MA is holding a free workshop exploring interfaith family holiday traditions. Chanukah and Christmas evoke vivid memories and family associations. Chanukah and Christmas: Creating Meaningful Family Traditions is a chance for families to share and explore ways to create new family traditions while respecting and honoring each other's values and memories in the process. The workshop is geared toward couples and parents in interfaith families. For more information, please contact metrowest@jccgb.org, or call 508-879-3300.
Jewish Family Service of San Diego announced that Michael Hopkins will serve as agency CEO effective in late January. Michael was selected after an exhaustive and thorough search process. He will suceed Jill Borg Spitzer, who devoted 26 years of amazing leadership to JFS San Diego.

Michael Hopkins has devoted over 30 years to building and strengthening the Jewish community. He earned his MSW from the Yeshiva University Wurzweiler School of Social Work, and spent the majority of his professional career directing and growing Jewish Community Centers across the country. Most recently, he was Executive Director of Nehirim, a national Jewish LGBT organization. Prior, he was the CEO of JCC Metrowest, one of the largest JCCs in the country with an $18 million budget and over 200 staff. During his tenure, Michael led a $23 million expansion and renovation and launched the first Jewish Health and Healing Center located in a JCC. Michael was also the Executive Director of the JCC of Richmond, VA and has worked at JCCs in Tucson, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. Michael brings to his leadership of JFS both this extensive background in helping Jewish nonprofits reach their full potential and compassionately serving the needs of a diverse, inclusive community.
November is National Hospice Awareness Month. Jewish Social Service Agency, located in Rockville, MD, is one of the few Jewish organizations that manage their own hospice. For nearly 30 years, JSSA's hospice has offered a wide range of quality medical and support services, from symptom and pain management to emotional and spiritual guidance for patients and their families. JSSA's Hospice is where the community turns for exceptional end-of-life care that supports dignity and comfort for individuals and provides peace of mind to families and honoJSSA logors cultural traditions and customs.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington featured JSSA's Hospice in their November 4th newsletter, which included this excerpt from a letter sent to JSSA from a patient's loved one. "I am writing to thank you for the superb care and support that you and the entire JSSA team provided to [my loved one], the family and me throughout the hospice experience. Your responsiveness, resourcefulness and attention to detail were remarkable.  Most important, however, was your focus on [the patient] as a whole person and the depth of authentic caring you gave to us all. I know it made a tremendous difference to [our loved one] on the final leg of the journey in life. I truly cannot thank you enough."
Charting a Course for Our Future:  AJFCS Hosts Board Retreat, November 16, 2011, AJFCS Communications Department, By Margie Yansura

At the recent retreat of the Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service Board of Directors, leaders from some of the most successful Jewish Family & Children's Service agencies in the nation lent their experience and expertise as the local AJFCS Board, located in Palm Beach County, FL, charts the course of the agency for the next three to five years.

Meeting moderator David Saltman, retired CEO of Jewish Community Services of South Florida and professor at FIU, encouraged the assemblage of 75 board members and senior staff to "listen today for what you need to know so that you can go forward to determine how you will make necessary course changes."

The expert panel included Jewish Family Service of Seattle Chief Executive Officer Ken Weinberg, Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta Chief Executive Officer Gary Miller, Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit's recently-retired CEO Norman Keane, and Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis CEO Judy Halper.

Saltman explained that, "the challenges faced by our agencies are all different and complex, but we do have shared experience in providing the people we serve with the quality of life they deserve." 

Read more about AJFCA's member agencies sharing valuable information with their colleagues at AJFCS's Board Retreat here
The Grandparents Circle is . . .    
  • A FREE five-session program for Jewish grandparents whose children are intermarried that offers participants skills and techniques to share their Jewish heritages and nurture their interfaith grandchildren's Jewish identities.
  • An Online Community that allows grandparents to share their experiences with others. Sign up for the Grandparents Circle Online Community by emailing Marley Weiner at MWeiner@JOI.org.
  • Family Fun events surrounding the holidays that grandparents can invite their grandchildren to attend.
To learn more, contact Michele Leve, CSW at 461-2000, ext. 232, or Kimberly Kalish, PhD at 461-0110, ext. 115.
Jewish Family & Community Services of Jacksonville announced Colleen Rodriguez, LCSW as agency Executive Director. Colleen has been with the agency for fourteen years, most recently as the Interim Executive Director. She begins her leadership role effective immediately.
 
Colleen has a Masters in Social Work from Florida State University, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a proud wife and mother of two. She looks forward to, "carrying on the Jewish traditions and values that are the foundation of JFCS and our six core programs that serve the most vulnerable population in our community." Read more about Colleen's promotion here.
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles was awarded one of three prestigious Agency of the Year awards presented by the national membership association, the Alliance for Children and Families on October 18th at the Alliance and UNCA 2011 National Conference in Washington, D.C.
 
According to the Alliance, JFS was chosen to receive the award due to its demonstrated excellence in board participation and support; impact through advocacy efforts on local and state issues; and innovative programming. JFS Board President David O. Levine and JFS Chief Executive Officer Paul S. Castro accepted the award.
Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York named Deborah Sturm Rausch as Executive Director effective November 1, 2011. She will succeed Miriam R. Adler, L.C.S.W., who is retiring after more than 25 years with the organization. Ms. Rausch has significant experience and is widely recognized for her leadership and expertise in both the public and private sectors.  She was first appointed to public service under then Governor Mario M. Cuomo after achieving recognition in the nonprofit community for her achievements. To read the entire press release, click here.
November is Long Term Care Awareness Month. To mark this occasion, Samost Jewish Family & Children's Service is holding a community symposium entitled, "What You Should Know About Long Term Care Insurance: A Multi-Dimensional Symposium Led by a Panel of Local Experts," on November 3rd.
 
Did you know?
  • Individuals have a 70% chance of needing long term care in their lifetime
  • 40% of those currently receiving long term care are adults ages 18 - 64  
  • What your options are when it comes to long term care insurance?
  • What the personal and economic impact that having or not having long term care insurance can have on your family?
  • How much is enough and can you afford it?
Learn how to empower yourself, preserve your dignity, and protect your legacy. For more information regarding AJFCA's Long Term Care Education Initiative please visit the AJFCA website. AJFCA would be pleased to help your agency launch a Long Term Care Education Initiative. 
The Alliance for Children and Families New Age of Aging initiative has selected two AJFCA agencies: Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service in West Palm Beach, FL and Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota-Manatee in Sarasota, FL as recipients of the Power of Mentoring Showcase Awards. These awards recognize standout agencies who served as mentors and mentees in the New Age of Aging's mentoring grant program.
 
The winners were chosen based on the degree to which they executed the program's chief objectives: to develop a culture of mentoring within the Alliance membership and to promote leadership and guidance in the field of aging.
 
Each winner received a $5,000 cash award, plaque, complimentary registration for the Alliance and UNCA 2011 National Conference in Washington, D.C., October 17th-19th.
Alpert Jewish Family & Children's Service of Palm Beach County, Florida announced an exciting new offering that will pave the way for several new business owners and skilled practitioners in the local marketplace.
 
Based on a successful operation model spanning 40 years, The Entrepreneurship Institute (EI) is designed to take full advantage of the talent pool of business executives and professionals in Palm Beach County to provide enrolled participants with an unparalleled workshop experience. EI is part of a nationally-accredited organization, winning numerous annual awards for its work in providing groundbreaking programming to residents of Palm Beach County.
 
This 16 week workshop is for entrepreneurs who are interested in opening a small business or for business owners who would like to expand their existing business. How to Build a Growing, Profitable Business is conducted in sixteen, three hour sessions taking place once weekly in the evenings. 
Jewish Family & Children's Service of Sarasota-Manatee, Inc. was recently awarded a $516,670 Supportive Services for Veteran Families grant from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, enabling JFCS to expand its targeted Operation Military Assistance Program (O-MAP) to veterans and military families in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto Counties.
 
The O-MAP services will focus on case management, securing affordable permanent housing, supportive services and emergency financial assistance. The goal is to prevent homelessness or re-house recently homeless Veterans and their families of low-income veterans and their families and provide access to community resources including coordination of VA and public benefits in order to improve their independent living skills.
Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis' Nurturing Our Retired Citizens Program (NORC) is currently the featured community on Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities' website. The mission of the project is to help older adults remain in their own homes for as long as possible with the resources they need to be safe, healthy engaged citizens. The vision is to inspire residents of all ages to work toward this goal. In developing the program, JFCS learned that the community was rich in resources but was challenged by impediments to services access. People did not know what resources existed, how to access the resources, or who qualified for the resources. In response, the NORC program was designed to educate the community about aging issues, help people learn about resources, and help the community create programs that strengthen the safety net for seniors. 
 
Through this initiative, JFCS created community wide resource directories, both hard and electronic forms. Read more about NORC here.
Jewish Family Services of Delaware released REEL Talk, a short film about a day in the life of Delaware Governor Jack Markereel on September 14th at the World Café Live at the Queens Theatre in downtown Wilmington. The film was directed by Brahmin Jackson, a JFS Delaware employee and former JFS client. Students participating in the JFS Media Matters program produced the film. The event received rave reviews and was written up in The News Journal. AP picked the story up as well, publishing it in the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio newspapers.
Jewish Family Services of Columbia has appointed Laney Cohen as Director. Cohen replaces Elysa Sexton. AJFCA congratulates Laney on her new position and welcomes her to the AJFCA community.
The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services announces Stories and the Bikur Cholim Experience. The 24th Annual Bikur Cholim Conference will take place on Saturday, November 13th at UJA Federation of New York. Enjoy a full day conference filled with inspirational keynote presentations and workshops that will offer insight and practical skills.
The Minnesota Girls Academy (MGA) is a Kosher, therapeutic, residential high school for teenage girls ages 13 to 17 who may be struggling academically, behaviorally and/or emotionally.  MGA is a warm and inviting program where girls are made to feel welcome, included, and appreciated. MGA is licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human services and offers a comprehensive Minnesota Department of Education approved high school educational program. Through its therapeutic orientation, MGA provides a skills building curriculum and individual, group, and family therapy, all within an open-minded, nonjudgmental, atmosphere while respecting Jewish values and beliefs. 

Families, schools and mental health professionals are encouraged to visit
the Minnesota Girls Academy website for further information.
Jewish Family & Children's Service of Philadelphia announced that effective September 1, 2011, Paula Goldstein will be the Agency's next President and Chief Executive Officer.
 
Please join AJFCA in congratulating Paula!
Talia Smolkin replaced Paula Clancy as the new Director of Jewish Family Services of Central Kentucky on Tuesday, August 23rd. AJFCA wishes her a smooth transition and welcomes her to the AJFCA network.

JFS of Central Kentucky's Federation has changed their name to Jewish Federation of the Bluegrass.
Senior Bullying is starting to gain national attention, thanks in part to Marsha Frankel, LICSW, Clinical Director of Senior Services at Jewish Family & Children's Service. In her recent blog posts, Mean Old Ladies? and Social Bullying , Marsha reports that bullying is a major problem, resulting in unnecessary suffering for older adults already facing the demands of aging.
 
Ten to twenty percent of elders living in senior housing may experience some type of bullying from fellow residents. Bullying usually takes the form of shunning or excluding someone, sarcasm or pointed comments, and spreading gossip and rumors.
Jewish Family Service Association's YouthAbility helps youth, ages 16 to 24, with disabilities or who are at-risk, to develop job skills through community volunteer assignments, group projects and small business enterprises. Currently, over 300 individuals each year participate in the program. Because of its unique nature, public funding has been very difficult to obtain.
 
JFSA recently received a one million dollar endowment commitment to support JFSA's YouthAbility Program. Although the gift will secure the program's fixed operating costs, there is still a need to fund the program's diverse activities.
Collat Jewish Family Services is proud to launch its new and improved website. Accompanying its fresh new look, you'll find:
  • Information about its services
  • Program videos
  • "Our Stories", perspectives from the CJFS community
  • A User-Friendly "Donate NOW!" Button
JSSA has appointed Lori Schor Ulanow as Chief Development Officer. Schor Ulanow will join JSSA's senior management team on September 7th.

Schor Ulanow will oversee a staff engaged in a wide range of development activities: annual giving, planned giving, special appeals, special events, cultivation of new and potential donors, stewardship of existing donors, grants and government contracts.
Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services will highlight its first-ever FACES Project — featuring stories and vignettes of clients indicative of the agency’s scope.
 
The FACES Project includes a photography exhibit and a commemorative book featuring over 60 photos and vignettes of the clients served statewide, regardless of religion, race or background, by the 32-year-old social service agency.
 
Barbara Sterensis, GCJFS Board Chair, created the FACES project because “the way to tell the story of our agency is to see the faces of the people we serve.”
 
After several years of planning and pitching the idea, Sterensis and long-time agency supporter and amateur photographer Sonia Raymund traveled to over 15 communities around Florida meeting the clients and taking over 2,000 photographs from March to July of this year.
 
In the foreword of the FACES book, Raymund says “… am glad I took on the challenge since I had a chance to see for myself how JFS makes a difference in so many lives. I was also surprised by the great number of clients who benefit from this organization that are not Jewish. Many people are under the false impression that only Jews can get help from JFS; hopefully, FACES will make it clear that the only requirement to ask for help is need. …”
 
The clients featured in the FACES book come from all of the program “buckets” in the agency; Children and Family, Elderly and Disabled, Employment, Jewish Community, Mental Health and Refugee Services.
 
The book includes over 60 photographs selected from those taken by Raymund. Accompanying the photographs are 20 feature stories about the subjects, all of whom are served by one of the more than 50 GCJFS programs currently offered in Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough Counties and 28 other counties around Florida. Among those are some Jewish Pinellas and Pasco clients served through the agency’s Jewish Family Services “bucket” — a beneficiary of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties.
 
The vignettes about the clients capture the challenges and triumphs they have faced and how GCJFS gave each one a brighter future. The Zachary Earl Johnson, a Florida State University junior majoring in Writing and Publishing who was interning at GCJFS, composed the stories.
 

Untitled from Megan Myers on Vimeo.

AJFCA is pleased to introduce Eric Geboff, the new Executive Director of Jewish Family Services of Orlando, FL, effective August 1st.

 

We are sad to see Barry Kudlowitz retire after 18 years of service, however we wish him all the best in starting a new chapter in his life. AJFCA and the Board and Staff of Jewish Family Services thanks Barry for his commitment and dedication to the Agency and wishes him much happiness in his retirement.

Through a recently-awarded grant from the FISA Foundation, JF&CS will be able to further the efforts of their Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence Project.

 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Pittsburgh's Legal Services for Immigrants & Internationals (LSII), Immigrant Victims of Domestic Violence Project provides legal services to immigrant women, including referrals for other services that help them to escape their abusive situations; and outreach and cultural competency training to community leaders and medical professionals who come into contact with immigrant women.

 

Embracing Choices - Creating Opportunities, (ECCO), is a unique, therapeutic program of

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Southern Arizona that encourages young people 13 to 18 to overcome their substance abuse issues, which include alcohol and other drugs.

 

What makes the program unique is its focus on the family. When it comes to substance abuse, few programs in Pima County address the needs of the entire family. It has been shown that when parents and other family members participate in their family member's therapy, the chances for recovery are increased.

Jewish Child Care Association is participating in the 2011 Bronx Half Marathon. Every dollar raised will provide help and hope to the 16,000 children and families who depend on JCCA for emotional and practical assistance each year. Click here for more information. 
With the population of Holocaust Survivors aging in Northeast Ohio and around the world, homecare  continues to be the focus of negotiations with the German government for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany . Claims Conference Executive Vice-President Greg Schneider made the announcement during a visit to Cleveland last month in a special public forum that Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland attended. Of significant note  is that the Claims Conference has expanded the eligibility for individual support by raising the individual asset limit to $500,000. With this change, many more Survivors can access services they need. 

Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix provides support, education, skill building and safe environments for families referred by the State of Arizona's Child Protective Services (CPS). Programs include family preservation, family reunification and parent aide. JF&CS of Phoenix created a fantastic video entitled, "Foster Care Youth in Transition ," to share one of their many foster care transition success stories.

Women of Vision, the Jewish Women's Foundation of Greater Philadelphia announced grants in support of programs that have a positive impact on Jewish women and girls. The organization awarded its first multiyear grant in the Philadelphia region to Jewish Family & Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia. Read the entire article to learn more about "Rumors, Secrets and Cyberspace," JF&CS's innovative new program.

Jewish Community Services of Baltimore won the Darrell D. Friedman Institute's “Challenge of Innovation” Award with their ifIknew.org website. The website ifIknew.org was designed by and for teens and is a multi-media prevention education project of Jewish Community Services of Baltimore, dedicated to raising awareness about the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and other risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.  This is a space to engage the community in activities and conversations that increase knowledge about risky behaviors and their consequences, and that help youth make healthy life decisions.

ifIknew.org will be distributed to Jewish communal professionals on JPRO Day August 11th. The website will also be posted on the DFI website, within the week. JCS of Baltimore will have the opportunity to present a brief video and an oral presentation on JPRO day. Additionally, ifIknew.org will be promoted in the Jewish Times, Baltimore Jewish Life, and on Facebook, as well as the Associated’s PR specifically to families, young adults and teens.

Empower A Teen-Fill A Backpack! Every year in August, right before school begins again, Jewish Family & Children's Service of Phoenix hosts the Foster Care Youth Convention with their partner, Child Protective Services (CPS). Nearly 100 JF&CS teen participants soon to "age-out" of the state foster system will attend this overnight 'lock-in' convention. A whole night of fun and educational activities are planned for the teens in hopes to better equip them for their transition to adulthood!

A generous grant from Wells Fargo will help Jewish Family Service of New Mexico provide seniors with over 100 rides to doctor appointments, social engagements, and other destinations regardless of their ability to pay, through the Senior Transportation Project. The grant will provide transportation for clients in need, and help them stay independent in their own homes while staying engaged with the community! Wells Fargo funded over $1,131,000 in grants to 220 nonprofit agencies in their 2010 grant year. This represents a 17% increase over the prior year.

The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services announces Stories and the Bikur Cholim Experience. The 24th Annual Bikur Cholim Conference will take place on Sunday, November 13th at UJA Federation of New York. Enjoy a full day conference filled with inspirational keynote presentations and workshops that will offer insight and practical skills.
Jewish Family & Children's Services of East Bay used an innovative format for their 2009-2010 Annual Report. JF&CS of East Bay's story is best told by those who are served, so rather than distributing a lengthy printed report; JF&CS produced a video featuring a small sampling of their diverse clients. The video is accompanied by a downloadable booklet with information about their leaders, finances, and generous supporters.
JSSA (Jewish Social Service Agency) has promoted Lise Bram to Chief Marketing Officer and has named Mark Strassman the agency’s new Senior Director of Operations, Employment and Career Services (ECS). Both appointments became effective July 1.
 
Bram will become part of JSSA’s senior management team with responsibility for developing and implementing a strategic marketing and communications plan. Strassman will focus principally on growing programs by developing new business relationships, job development, supported employment, career coaching, and related services.
 
Bram, a Silver Spring, Md., resident, will mark her 10-year anniversary with JSSA this year. She has served as Director of Marketing and Communications during a period of growth in her department. Bram has worked closely with JSSA’s senior management and board of directors on marketing and outreach strategy; has introduced the agency-wide "Think JSSA" brand, has led JSSA’s website redesigns, and has overseen an increase in JSSA's local and national visibility.  
 
Ken Kozloff, JSSA’s CEO, said, “Throughout her tenure, Lise has proven to be a phenomenal asset to our organization, promoting JSSA’s diverse services, while also actively networking with many local agencies in cross-promotion, partnership-building and program development.”
 
In ECS, Strassman, a Potomac, Md., resident, brings to JSSA over 20 years of experience as a business leader and executive recruiter. Strassman also has an extensive background in the development and execution of business and marketing plans as well as in developing and implementing strategic plans for staff development, hiring and mentoring.
 
 “We have confidence that Mark’s business background and leadership will help JSSA’s services achieve even more for those seeking work in the current competitive job market,” Kozloff said.  
Jewish Community Services of Baltimore's Prevention Education ifIknew.org website is being considered for the Darrell D. Friedman Institute's Challenge of Innovation Award. ifIknew.org is a multi-media project dedicated to raising awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives. Their innovative website uses videos and blogs to engage youth, increase knowledge and help them to make healthy life decisions.Your help is needed to decide on the most ground-breaking initiatives - the one that reaches key segments of the population and shows the power of advanced thinking in the community. Please take a moment to click on the survey link and show your support of the www.ifIknew.org submission. 

When Jewish Family Service of Omaha Director Karen Gustafson spied a waiter in a Denver restaurant wearing a lapel pin shaped like a jig-saw puzzle piece, she almost tackled him to the ground. "I'd wanted to get my hands on pins like that for a long time, but hadn't been able to locate the manufacturer. The startled waiter gave me the name of a source, and my quest was finally over." Why did Gustafson want those pins? "My goal was to show each JFS staff member that he or she is a necessary piece that fits together to complete the agency," she explained, as JFS of Omaha celebrated their 100th Anniversary.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability services (DADS) will recognize Jewish Children's Regional Services on July 20, 2011 at its annual Volunteer Recognition Program in Austin. Specifically, JCRS is being singled out for its program of shipping Hanukkah gift sets each year to long term residents of state schools/hospitals during the last 10 years. JCRS ships Hanukkah gift sets to 20-25 Texas institutional residents at 6-8 different locations. Accepting the recognition for JCRS will be Birmingham native Leslie Wearb Hirsh, a JCRS success story whose young family is now residing in Austin.

Our friends at JFS Detroit won a Toyota through Toyota's 100 Cars for Good Competition. JFS Escorted Transportation Department provides affordable arm-in-arm and door-through-door transportation services to Metropolitan Detroit individuals. A new car from Toyota will provide up to 2,600 additional rides each year to individuals who could not otherwise find reliable, affordable transportation to critical healthcare appointments. As the older adult population grows, this need is ever increasing. An additional vehicle will be a tremendous benefit to the community and will allow homebound area seniors to age with dignity and respect in their own homes and communities.

Linda Burger, CEO of JFS Houston participated in a program sponsored by AJFCA that enabled executive staff to serve as mentors to newer executives. Through this program, Linda formed a relationship with JFS Las Vegas. After further connecting at an AJFCA Conference, Linda was invited to visit JFS Las Vegas and to work with their board and staff. Linda also spoke at a Tzedakah Brunch hosted by JFS Las Vegas.  Read her moving speech below. 
___________________________________________________________________________________
Today you will meet some everyday heroes.

These are men and women who deserve to be singled out for their commitment and actions. I know that you, like me, will walk away from this lunch full of admiration and inspiration from their examples.

I would like you to walk away with something else as well. And that is the sense of satisfaction that each one of you, in your own way, is an everyday hero.

The definition of hero is a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities. So, you may be thinking, how is it that each person here is a hero?

If we put on a pair of glasses that allows us to see the world from a Jewish perspective, we know that courage really means speaking up for those who have no voice, that ability means using the gifts that we have been given to help others achieve their potential, that brave deeds reflect our willingness to participate in community endeavors that better our society and that noble qualities are the characteristics like chesed, or loving-kindness that we nurture in ourselves and our children.

Across the United States, in every major metropolitan area, there is a Jewish Family Service through which Jewish communities take care of their seniors, families and children, those who suffer from mental illness or those with disabilities. They feed, clothe and uplift those who have ongoing problems or emergencies.

Because of this, an adult son living in Los Angeles whose aging mother lives in Las Vegas can call your Jewish Family Service Agency with his concerns. I know that because of Jewish Family Service in Chicago, a person there with chronic mental illness will be less likely to be institutionalized. I know that because of Jewish Family Service in Philadelphia, a family there will not be hungry today.

And, I know that because of Jewish Family Service in Houston, a friend of mine will not become homeless.

Let me tell you her story:

The reality that our clients are often just like us really hit me one day in the lobby of our building. A woman called out my name. I didn’t recognize her until I was standing directly in front of her and I was shaking her hand. She was wrapped in a coat – it was a cold day and she was wearing a cap. To tell you the truth, until I saw her face and heard her voice, I thought that she was a homeless person in our lobby. She shook my hand and she said, “Linda, JFS is helping me.” At that moment I recognized her or I recognized the broken fragments that were once her. Let me call her Susan. Susan has three children, she had a professional career, and she was an equal breadwinner in her family. Her world had fallen apart and she could only manage a few thoughts at a time. Susan would see her therapist at JFS every morning, leave with a list of one or two tasks to accomplish and then return in the afternoon to report back. JFS helped her rearrange her life, move to a smaller apartment, structure her visits with her children and especially grieve for a life that had dramatically changed due to onset of mental illness. Susan could be me, she could be you. In its wisdom so long ago, our community built an agency, JFS to be there when Susan needs us. And there isn’t a family I know that doesn’t have someone who needs help, whether it is like Susan or the others whose names we don’t already know.

Let me tell you what that encounter made me feel like after I got over the great sadness and sorrow….it gave me an enormous sense of satisfaction and gratitude that I get to lead every day heroes. They are my staff members. I would tell them so every day but they would say they are just doing their jobs. But you and I know it is more than just a job. . . My staff in Houston, just like your staff in Las Vegas, invests their hearts and souls into the care of individuals and families in our communities.

I want to share a little secret with you. Just six years ago, our Houston JFS would not have helped Susan in the same way. We were more than ninety years old then and operated under an outdated social service model. It took intensive strategic planning and visionary leadership both lay and professional and important community partnerships like those with the Jewish Federation and our local rabbis to change the face of JFS. Most importantly it took donors who invested in the necessary agency growth so that JFS would be positioned to meet the needs of today’s clients.

I see Las Vegas entering into the same transformational process that we experienced in Houston.

And I see great things coming your way.

We need new, young leadership in the Jewish communal field, so it is important to recognize, encourage and support dynamic professionals like Christina Primack in their determined efforts as they take on the enormous responsibilities of leadership.
 
The truth of the matter is we would all run to help Susan or buy groceries to fill the pantry for a neighbor who had no food---but in our society and with our lives, and with the scope of the community’s challenges, we just can’t do it on our own. That is why we entrust the work to Jewish Family Service Agency. We need an organized effort, on behalf of our community, to do the work.

You, each one of you here, is an everyday hero, because you have stepped forward to give the support and the tools necessary for your Jewish Family Service Agency to take care of those who need our help. Most of the people they help you will never know, but many are your friends, neighbors – the people you see in the grocery store or at synagogue. And, in the economic times we now face, I dare suspect that some who have been helped are even among those present today.

Thank goodness that all of you are here today to help your Jewish Family Service Agency do the work. The noble and courageous ---indeed, I would even say sacred work.

In closing, let Susan’s words represent everyone you have helped:

“This seems like a good time to say how much JFS has meant to me. It made the difference between a decent life and being homeless and without food. No one really knows when illness will strike, one is just thankful for a safety net. I could not have survived on the streets – you truly saved a life.”
Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Boston premiered a short film which profiles the journey of three families who came to JFCS of Boston when they experienced a critical time in their lives. Thanks to donor generosity, JFCS was able to meet the needs of these three families, and the more than 30,000 other individuals who come walk through their doors each year when they are in crisis or dealing with an important life challenge.

Jewish Family and Children's Service of Pittsburgh featured a video about their SOS Pittsburgh critical needs and emergency assistance program at their annual meeting. SOS Pittsburgh, which was established in 2005, provides a safety net of last resort for individuals and families who are struggling and have nowhere else to turn.

With roots going back to 1861, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest is today a comprehensive social service agency providing counseling and support services, on a non-discriminatory basis, to help strengthen and restore the family. JFS annually touches over 4,000 families. Traditionally, half of our services help older adults and their families cope with the changes of aging through extensive in-home services including subsidized home care, case management services, counseling, caregiver educations, volunteer friendly visitors and specialized programs for Holocaust survivors. For children and families, JFS provides individual, couple, child and family counseling, family play therapy, support groups, adoption services, school and synagogue based social work services, debt counseling, domestic violence services, family life education and other assistance needed to maintain healthy families.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, Jewish Family Service Calgary(JFSC) is hosting the 39th annual conference of the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies. JFSC was founded in 1961 under the leadership of notable community activist Dr. Martha Cohen. JFSC offers a wide range of services to the Calgary community. Through the hard work and dedication of its staff and many volunteers, JFSC assists clients with basic needs, including financial assistance, housing support and food supplements. JFSC provides counseling, including resettlement support to Calgary's newcomers. JFSC serves its senior population, helping to prevent isolation, manage crises, support independence and healthy aging. And for those in the Calgary community that are searching for employment, JFSC provides vocational support to help along the way. In so many ways, JFSC supports the Calgary community, fulfilling its mission to strengthen the community by helping people in the spirit of Jewish tradition and values.