Making Connections
Dear Friend,

Over the past 15 months, children and families have seen their daily routines and roles change dramatically, often multiple times. The lines between work, school, and home have blurred, creating confusion and stress for parents, guardians, and children. As we move from school year to summer, I want to highlight some of the many ways JF&CS supports families.

Family challenges vary dramatically over the life cycle, and so do JF&CS services.  In this issue, you’ll read about services to smooth the path to adoption, support kids with disabilities, develop a commitment to tzedakah (justice) in young children, and guide teens through the challenges of safe dating relationships. You’ll also hear how we ensure that families have the economic and logistical supports they need to thrive in a challenging world.  You might be surprised to know just how wide our network of support expands, and I encourage you to visit our website to learn more.

As things open up around us, it’s tempting to think that the challenges and stresses of COVID are safely in our past. But the ripple effect of the pandemic continues for so many families around us— I am proud of the vital work our team continues to do with and for those families, and grateful for the support of our JF&CS community.
Be well,

Gail Schulman
Chief Executive Officer
two boys making funny faces
JF&CS offers recreational programs for kids with autism, those with moderate to severe neurological disabilities, and siblings of those with special needs. These programs offer a very special social experience for the children, while also supporting quality of life and strengthening relationships for the entire family.
JF&CS offers fee-based advocacy and consulting so that families can start the next school year with confidence. We help navigate the special education system and ensure that each child receives the services and supports to which they are entitled.  We also help families through the transition to adult services at age 22, and at other critical life junctures. 
For more information on our resources for individuals with disabilities and mental illness, contact us at 781-693-5640 or
kid in swimming pool
This summer, it’s more important than ever that children have access to healthy, fun experiences. Our camp scholarship fund helps our current clients with economic challenges participate in a wide range of day and overnight camps that would otherwise not be accessible to them. Each summer, we support approximately 40 families, often in partnership with other organizations like Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, and JCC Greater Boston.
Government COVID supports are about to expire— and JF&CS is making emergency funds available to help members of the Jewish community facing economic and food insecurity. Contact us to learn more or 781-693-1388.
1 in 3 teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

73% of teens said they would turn to a friend first for help if they were in an abusive relationship.

Teen dating abuse is an issue that crosses all socioeconomic, cultural, and demographic lines. TeenSafe generates community-wide awareness to empower Jewish teens and the adults in their lives to prevent dating abuse and promote healthy and respectful behavior in dating relationships. Through leadership, skill-building, and education, this free program gives teens the language and tools they need to recognize abuse in a dating relationship and know how to respond if they see, hear about, or experience it. 

Mike Lee and Tom Acevedo were on the way to New York for the weekend… a perfect time to continue the conversation about adopting a child. “As Mike drove, I did research” explained Tom. The couple quickly realized, however, that this deeply personal process can often feel very cold and transactional. “It was adoption via 100 questions, with no human interaction,” said Mike. 

Then they found JF&CS Adoption Resources. “Their operating model felt 180 degrees different from any other agency we had researched. We were able to connect with an actual human from the very beginning…and many of the Adoption Resources staff have their own personal connections to adoption, which was quite helpful to us.” 

Helping out with food distribution for Family Table, making cards for Holocaust survivors, knitting for older adults—JF&CS offers many opportunities for families to engage in meaningful, age-appropriate volunteer work, and to develop a sense of social justice from an early age. As our world continues to open up over the next few months, our volunteer opportunities will shift as well. Keep an eye on our volunteer pages for current and upcoming opportunities to spend quality time with your family in the service of others.
Recognizing Extraordinary Volunteer Service
Current board member Penny Goodman received this year's Betsy Gross President's Award in recognition of her significant contributions to JF&CS. Penny has made her mark on the agency in so many ways—with her years of dedication to Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms®; her inspired leadership of the Women’s Breakfast; and her many achievements as Chair of the Development Committee of the Board. An incredible role model, she leads with grace, conviction, and care. Thanks to her passion and commitment, JF&CS is a better and stronger organization.
Marilyn Neault has been named the 2021 Simone Lottor Exceptional Service Award Winner for her amazing work in helping to strengthen the voices of people with Parkinson's disease. In the pandemic transition to zoom, when we faced so many lockdown losses, Marilyn saw possibilities. She seeks to inspire and lead by example, to demonstrate to others living with Parkinson’s that they, too, can make positive contributions to the community.

"I believe there is no reason why recipients of a service should not assist in supporting or improving that service. I humbly and gratefully accept this award as a representative of my fellow travelers with Parkinson’s disease who volunteer their hearts and experience to help one another. I will view the award as a continuing challenge for us. Just as each member of a family is responsible to provide a nurturing home environment for each other, we recognize the same responsibility within our Parkinson’s family." | 781-647-JFCS (5327)
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