Making Connections
Your Monthly Update on Our Work and Impact
From Gail's Desk
July 25, 2022
Greetings!

For many of us, summer is all about family. For me, it feels like a gift to spend time with my husband and kids without the distraction of school and homework.

At JF&CS, summer is about family, too. That’s because supporting families is core to our mission. We provide a huge range of supports for family members at all stages of life. Many of the stories we share below are about families with children. But we also provide support for adult children of aging parents, partners of people with neurological diseases, and parents of adult children with disabilities – the list goes on.

When one person in a family is struggling, the whole family feels it. I’m thankful to all of you and your families for enabling JF&CS to support families in their times of need. I wish you all a joyful rest of your summer.
Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. We’re hiring! Make a real impact in the community by working at JF&CS. Learn more about our openings at jfcsboston.org/careers
New Parents Support Groups build community and foster parenting success
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Click to watch!
“This group saved my life when my oldest was born. So happy to hear they’re able to return to in person. Such an important resource.”

“I loved the JF&CS groups with my babies, who are now almost 6 and 8. We went to the one in Arlington and it is one of my fondest memories.”

“JF&CS parents of multiples group saved me. It was like free group therapy sessions.”

These are just a few of the dozens of comments in recent weeks from participants in the JF&CS New Parents Support Groups on Facebook and other sites as we’ve ramped up outreach for this work. After more than two years of offering virtual support, we’re offering a range of in-person groups this fall. Our free groups provide safe and nurturing spaces for parents with their babies (birth to one year) and toddlers (one to three years) to give and receive support, ask questions, and begin building a parent community. Each group sees parents developing deep connections and friendships to last a lifetime. Learn more, spread the word and sign up at bit.ly/jfcsnewparents.
Advocating for families with a child with disabilities as they grapple with COVID challenges
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“I can't even begin to say how thankful I am to have my family advocate by my side. She has been at my boys’ school for meetings, and at medical appointments to decipher testing. She has made this experience more manageable for me under difficult circumstances. She truly is a gift.”

When a child has disabilities, it impacts the whole family – and even more so during the instability of school during COVID. JF&CS offers Family Advocates who work directly with family members to provide hands-on assistance and advocacy throughout their loved one’s life. For school age kids, advocates help families navigate the special education system, including creation of individualized education plans (IEPs) as well as finding out-of-district placements when appropriate. This is especially critical during COVID for kids catching up from time lost in school. For teenagers and beyond, we also help families plan for a smooth transition out of the school system into adulthood. This planning can involve exploring employment, day programs, supported housing and other options to ensure long-term support for adult children as they age.
Families make an impact together at Family Table
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The JF&CS Family Table food pantry and delivery service provides meaningful opportunities for families to volunteer together – and for parents to instill values of community and responsibility in their children. Families work together to pack up groceries and deliver them to clients, creating caring connections between our clients and our volunteers.

“After packing up individualized grocery bags for each assigned client, I would drive our car to the client’s address and my children would jump out and deliver the grocery bags to the door. The experience helped shape them into compassionate and giving people. To this day, when my children are back home from college or work, we participate together, as a family, in JF&CS Family Table.”
- Karen Rosenberg, Family Table North Shore volunteer
Peace of mind for children of aging parents
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When it becomes time for adult children to help care for an aging parent, it can be difficult to know where to turn for answers and support. Your Elder Experts, the JF&CS aging life care management service, works directly with family members to create individualized care plans for older adults, providing peace of mind and comfort to their loved ones. Here’s one story of our impact:

“My 88-year-old mother, a dynamo in her youth and still a force of nature, had a major stroke. My brother and I were devastated, frightened, and unsure of what to do to take the best possible care of her. We found that eastern Massachusetts had a huge range of services and advisers - a maze of them, in fact - but of all the individuals and agencies we consulted, Your Elder Experts proved the most helpful, compassionate, and knowledgeable support and were really THERE throughout the process. I have rarely felt so well taken care of.”
- Carole Friedman
Swampscott, MA
Ride or WALK for Food and support Family Table
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Family Table’s largest fundraiser of the year is coming up! On October 2nd, Family Table will participate once again in the Ride for Food, an annual cycling event that raises critical dollars for hunger relief. Not a cyclist? You can Walk for Food too! Fundraisers have the option to walk a scenic 5K course on October 2nd on the Noble and Greenough School's Cross-Country trail, guided by volunteers.

Inflation has only worsened food insecurity in our community. Nutritious, affordable food is becoming harder to secure for families and individuals alike. Last year our team raised $68,000 and our goal is to raise even more this year—all to provide healthy food for those in need. Every $1,250 raised will help Family Table provide groceries to one family for a year. We are grateful for your support as we work to fight food insecurity. Please join our team or donate today!
Brett Skloff wins the 2022 Simone Lottor Exceptional Service Award
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Congratulations to Brett Skloff, the winner of the 2022 Simone Lottor Award, given to a JF&CS volunteer who made an impact through exceptional service! Brett volunteers every week running an engaging math class for participants in our CHAI Works day program for people with disabilities. Brett shared a story about the impact of his work: “One particular student every week would say, ‘Brett, I just want to let you know that I have Down Syndrome and math is hard for people with Down Syndrome.’” But after six months of working through math together, one day that student stopped saying it. Thank you to Brett for the impact you’re making each week on the lives of our community members.
A family's legacy of giving:
Jamie Adess Grossman
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Jamie Adess Grossman, former JF&CS Board President and current board member, spoke with JF&CS last year about the impact of her personal legacy supporting the agency well into the future. Jamie shared her thoughts on the power of giving back:
 
When I was younger…my mom went out 2 nights a week to tutor girls in a residential home, and sometimes she’d bring them home for Shabbat dinner. Seeing my mom in that role was my original exposure to volunteerism and the impact we could have on each other's lives. Once I had my own daughters, our family volunteered with JF&CS as much as we could…distributing food at Family Table, helping with Shabbat dinners for adults with disabilities, and more.”
 
Read more of the interview with Jamie here.
Create your JF&CS Legacy today.
Help us care for those in need tomorrow.
jfcsboston.org | 781-647-JFCS (5327)
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