Accelerating Social, Academic and Health Equity
Monthly Report to the Community
March 2022
Dear JFS Friends, Supporters, and Collaborative Partners,

In the Jewish tradition, Purim is a festive and joyous celebration that recounts the story of a tyrant attempting to destroy a people and how they were ultimately saved. Observed this month with the sharing of sweet hamantaschen and children/adults donning costumes, the holiday painted a stark contrast to the world news and parallel destruction that is currently happening in Ukraine.

The story of Purim gives the promise of hope - renewing our faith that better days are possible and igniting our courage to take action. As we watch the devastation unfold in Ukraine – the catastrophic suffering, so many homes and lives lost – we are also inspired by the courage and strength of those who fight, the men and women who have picked up arms to repel the tyrant and battle against the violence that threatens to overwhelm them. Their desperate fight for survival compels us to take action - to condemn the injustice and stand with them in their struggle for safety and security. So what are we doing? 

Earlier this month, JFS and other Jewish agencies via the JFNA (Jewish Federation of North America) urged President Biden to allow Ukrainian war refugees with current visa/refugee in process and have US family ties to be allowed entrance to the U.S. ASAP - Click here to read the letter (

Since then, President Biden has announced that the United States will accept 100,000 Ukrainian war refugees to the United States. At JFS, we are preparing to resettle individuals and families in the Metrowest Greater Boston area. To support these efforts, please click here and make a donation now. If you have given in the past, I urge you to give again so that JFS has the resources it will need to provide necessary and urgent assistance as these innocent victims seek safety and shelter in our welcoming community.

Also, in anticipation of this work, we are looking to hire a case manager with Ukrainian language skills. Click here for the job description. Please help us spread the word!

Much is being done, and I invite you to attend a briefing on Wednesday March 30th at 7:30pm to get current updates and learn how you can support the humanitarian effort. Joining me will be Debbie Kardon, Executive Director of the Action for Post-Soviet Jewry, Center Makor President and CEO Vladimir Foygelman, and Shapiro Foundation Director Larry Tobin, who just returned from the Moldova with Ed Shapiro. He will share their experience on the ground helping war refugees. Click here to learn more and register to attend.

While this crisis is top of mind for all of us, other work at JFS continues:

~ Afghan Evacuee Project: As these evacuee families (37 individuals) settle into their new lives - building English language skills, restoring their health after going too long without adequate medical care, adjusting to American systems, securing employment, making new friends in school – their daily successes remind us of what can be accomplished when the right supports are in place. Scroll down and check out the update below. I’m very proud of all our Temples/Churches involved and especially our staff that have worked long hours to quickly resettle the families that arrived in short order.

~ Our work to support older adults in the community is increasing and we are in the process of expanding our team to better meet their needs:

> Jewish Family Assistance (Jewish Anti-Poverty): In addition to the work our case managers are doing to address the day to day needs of our Jewish clients living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet, our case managers are also ensuring that these clients have access to holiday assistance so they have what they need to observe the traditions of Purim and Passover. The program will be welcoming a new full-time social worker at the end of March. Watch our blog and social media for updates. 

> Also, to better support clients who are isolated and lonely, the Virtual Visitors program is recruiting volunteers to make weekly check in calls to monitor their wellbeing and reassure them that they are not alone. I am pleased to announce that long-time staff member Abrielle Salloway (profiled below) has assumed the role of Manager of Jewish Family Assistance and Healthy Aging and will be involved in overseeing volunteers in these programs.

> Allies in Aging JFS Elder Care Solutions: As calls come in every day from folks concerned about their aging loved ones, the need for geriatric care management is increasing. To meet the demand, team member Laila Vehvilainen has assumed the role of GCM Associate to provide both administrative support as well as direct client service so the program may grow and serve more older adults and families in need.

> Homecare: Our Homecare direct service providers ensure that medically compromised older adults may live in their homes independently, safe and with dignity. We are recruiting both homemakers (no experience necessary) as well as Personal Care Homemakers. There are hundreds of older adults waiting to receive services and we need caring, reliable team members – check out the job description and share or apply today! Also, team member Mayra Tardiff has assumed the role of Homecare Operations Manager, and we are once again looking to hire a Homecare Coordinator with Spanish language skills. Click here for the job description – the need is now; please help us spread the word!

~ JFS is enhancing our existing collaborative partnerships with the Framingham Public Schools (FPS) and the Foundation for Metrowest and we are especially excited for our new partnership with Literations ( and grateful to MathWorks for funding this initiative. In this new pilot program, retiree volunteers will be paired with students in need of literacy support to improve reading and comprehension skills. This work builds on JFS’ involvement with the FPS (that currently includes the JFS Clothing Closet housed in the Resource Room as well as other basic needs and case management assistance provided to families) and enhances the goals of JFS’ Innovation Center- finding new creative ways to help our community accelerate social, academic and health equity. Click here to learn more.

~ Over the last several months, JFS has engaged in a campaign to share information about the COVID-19 vaccination in multiple languages across the Metrowest community. These efforts have included the sharing of clinic information and updates over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, translation of a children’s book into Spanish and Portuguese along with corresponding videos to help youngsters understand herd immunity, the distribution of informational posters and materials to local business and organizations to increase awareness, and a series of short videos from JFS staff in multiple languages. This was a tremendous body of work coordinated by staff member Zach Blankstein and student intern Mary Laprade. Among the many ways this information was shared, we learned that the Portuguese-language video of the children’s book went viral on a popular community YouTube! As the infection rates drop and our efforts in this area wind down, we are thankful to Zach, Mary, and all who participated in this project and contributed to its success - involving the community works!!!

As demonstrated by updates above, and by the stories highlighted below, much of our work is only possible through the Power of Community – Together We are Stronger, Together We Change Lives. This is our mission, and this reason JFS is able to impact the lives of over 7,500 people each year. The weeks are counting down to our annual Seize the Dream gala which will take place on Thursday May 5th and I invite you to join us as we celebrate both the tremendous work of the agency as well as our extraordinary honorees – individuals who embody the JFS mission every day, setting a positive example for others to follow and working to have meaningful impact in the lives of those who need help the most. Click here to buy tickets to the event – space is limited so buy your tickets today!

In closing, I would like to acknowledge all of our social workers - caring individuals who come to work every day and dedicate their professional lives to the betterment of others. In recognition of National Social Work Month, thank you for your energy, your compassion and caring and your courage.

And thank you to all who have the courage to act and partner with JFS to make a difference in our community. It is only through your involvement, commitment and generosity that our collective impact is possible.

Lino Covarrubias, CEO
Chase Carpenter 
Place of Employment/Career Affiliation: Chief Digital Officer at CommCreative 

Education: AB in Comparative Literature from Harvard College 
“The work of the board and of JFS is so important because we continuously make an impact that matters and we help our Framingham, Metrowest, Greater Boston, and global community thrive.

The JFS Board is critical for decision-making, vision, and community engagement at JFS, and the board helps the agency continue to serve as a critical resource for individuals, families, and communities needing assistance.

It is a privilege to serve on the board and continue to help our community, and I commend my fellow board members, the Executive Committee, agency leadership, staff and volunteers for going above and beyond always for those in need.” 
Dena Zigun Kowaloff 

Place of Employment/Career Affiliation: SharkNinja Operating LLC 

Education: Harvard Business School, MBA; Cornell University, Bachelor of Science 
“Like so many of us, I was raised with a priority on tikkun olam, and that giving starts at home - in my local community. I'm so grateful for all the high-impact work JFS does in Metro West, through smart partnerships, with low overhead, so both my dollars and my time go a long way.

As a marketing professional, I delight in telling good stories - so volunteering on the Marketing Communications Committee is especially delightful as the work that JFS professionals and volunteers do in the community provides so many heartwarming stories to share.” 
Thank you to these officers for the energy, passion, and commitment they bring to the JFS Board––Learn more about the JFS Board of Directors!
Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis

In these early days of the conflict, we are actively monitoring the situation and evaluating ways we may provide assistance in the coming weeks and months to civilians seeking safe haven. The link below will be updated frequently as opportunities to assist in these efforts become available.

Thank you for your caring, compassion and offers of support. Hope and prayers for the safety of all Ukrainians and peace soon.

Afghan Evacuee Resettlement Project

Since October, JFS has welcomed 10 Afghan evacuee families (37 individuals) to the Greater Boston Metrowest Area. Our partners at area faith organizations have been essential in supporting these families as they build a new life in the United States. We are especially thankful for the teams of volunteer coordinators at each faith organization who have recruited, onboarded, and supervised large teams of volunteers.  
Resettlement Volunteer Coordinator Spotlight: Ann Budner
Temple Affiliation: Congregation Beth Elohim (Acton)

Ann owns her own nonprofit consulting firm and performs in a company of "seasoned" dancers who danced through COVID in driveways, backyards, and parks.  
"When I heard that synagogues were organizing to support the Afghan families, I knew we had to help. Since it is a core Jewish value to help the stranger, one of the main activities of CBE's social justice committee is to support immigrants and refugees.

I was pretty confident we could recruit the volunteers and raise the funds with our partner, (United Church of Christ, Boxborough), but I knew our team needed guidance and support. We chose to work with JFS, because we knew we could trust them. In fact, JFS has been incredible. Working together, we have been able to help our family of 6 become healthier, more confident, and more independent. The family has been through so much and they are unbelievably brave and resilient. It feels wonderful to be able to welcome them to this country in such a meaningful way. I wish every immigrant to the US had the benefit of JFS' care and attention." 
Click the video above to watch our COVID-19 Vaccine PSA. We are proud to present our multilingual staff, who work tirelessly to accelerate social, academic, and health equity in our community!
Last year, JFS staff helped translate a children’s book on vaccines to make COVID-19 safety information accessible to Metrowest children and parents. Recently, the Portuguese translation was shared on Flavia Calina‘s YouTube channel, which has amassed over 3 BILLION VIEWS. Congratulations to author and JFS volunteer Emma Rashes on this incredible feature! Watch the video read-aloud above!
Jane Joiner

Jane retired as a primary care physician in 2016. She likes to spend her time canoeing, swimming, walking on woods trails, tending her pets (dogs and cats), camping with her trailer, and entertaining her 7 grandchildren that live in Dedham. 
Jane started volunteering at JFS as a Patient Navigator in November, 2016. In this role, she helps older adults prepare for upcoming medical appointments, serves as a companion at the appointment, facilitates communication between doctor and patient, and takes notes during the visit. Since joining the amazing group of Patient Navigators, Jane has accompanied older adults to 219 appointments and by the beginning of March, she had already signed up for 7 more!

Throughout the peaks and valleys of the pandemic, through the Delta and Omicron variants, Jane has continued to repeatedly sign up for appointments providing needed support and transportation to so many. Jane’s healthcare background is a definite plus in helping to “translate” information given to clients and she often shares relevant resource information helpful to her fellow Navigators. 
We appreciate not only the exceptionally high number of appointments that Jane handles but also her willingness to go above and beyond in those appointments. Recently, a client tripped and fell on her way into an ophthalmologist appointment, suffering sprains to both knees and facial abrasions. The client was able to complete her evaluation at the ophthalmology office and then Jane took her for an urgent evaluation by her PCP, and then to a pharmacy for a topical pain remedy and a cane. She then reached out to the caseworker at JFS about follow up needs. She spent a total of 5 hours helping this client through this crisis and making sure that her needs were addressed. This was truly above and beyond her role, all in the service of the client! 
In addition to her role as a Patient Navigator, Jane has been a Warm Connector, helped out at the Framingham Public School Resource Room, and served in many other volunteer roles throughout JFS. We’re grateful for Jane’s commitment to help those in need. Thank you, Jane! 
“I have volunteered mostly as a “friendly visitor” to isolated seniors and as a driver for the navigator program. With my medical background, I have found I can make a good contribution to improve the success of clients’ visits to their providers.” 
Active bystanders learn how to recognize, safely deescalate, and intervene in potentially dangerous or problematic situations. Join JFS in fighting hate by attending a training to become an Active Bystander, and thank you to all who bravely stand against injustices of all kinds in our community.
To learn about upcoming news and events as they occur, like/follow the JFS Committee on Anti-Racism and Fighting Antisemitism social media channels, and CLICK HERE for a list of resources specific to this work.

Abrielle Salloway, LCSW
Manager, JFAN and Healthy Aging Initiative
With JFS since June 2011, born in the U.S., speaks English
Education: BA, Brandeis University; MSW, Boston University School of Social Work

Abrielle started her career as a social worker working for McLean Hospital and Franciscan Hospital For Children. She has now been at JFS for 10.5 years and has a large portfolio of work that she has done here. Abrielle also currently works per diem for MetroWest Medical Center as a social worker in case management.

During her free time, Abrielle enjoys taking walks and spending time with her husband and two daughters. She is also studying each week for her adult Bat Mitzvah, which will take place the beginning of June.

"Working as a FAN social worker throughout the pandemic has been both rewarding and overwhelming. Over the last two years, I have worked with many of my clients who were having a difficult time managing their mental health as well as their finances. I worked very closely with each of these clients to ensure stability.

There have been times where a client will call multiple times in one day because they needed to talk with someone who would listen. I feel that I have and continue to fulfill the JFS mission to provide vital social, health, and community services to alleviate suffering, enhance lives, and support people in need."
The McCarthy and Stapleton elementary schools have begun a new pilot program with Literations to connects older adult tutors with children who need help with reading. If a student mentions a problem they’re experiencing at home during a tutoring session, the volunteer can turn to the JFS staff member who will assess and assist as needed.

JFS is very excited about its new collaborative partnership with Literations and continued work with Framingham Public Schools, and we are grateful to Mathworks and the Foundation for Metrowest for caring for our most vulnerable students and families. This work is part of JFS’ Innovation Center- finding new creative ways to help our community accelerate social, academic, and health equity.
Our very own Board Member Dean Kowaloff Co-Chaired the Jewish Community Relations Council‘s Legislative Reception, featuring JFS CEO Lino Covarrubias as special guest. The event honored outstanding public officials who have demonstrated their commitment to our community’s priorities. Watch the full reception below!
March is National Social Work Month. This year's theme is "The Time is Right for Social Work." Thank you to all of the social workers at JFS, who work to meet the needs of our clients and support our community!
Across the country AmeriCorps engages 270,000 Americans each year in sustained, results-driven service through AmeriCorps service programs! This year we are celebrating our current AmeriCorps service member, Evan Driscoll!

Evan serves in The New American Integration Program (NAIP). NAIP is an AmeriCorps program based in Massachusetts that assists refugee and immigrant communities in obtaining essential services and educational opportunities that enable them to improve their quality of life. 

Thank you, Evan, for your commitment to JFS and for your
service in AmeriCorps! 
Tickets and Special Friend Sponsorships are now available for the 2022 Seize the Dream Gala! Click here to learn more.
Seize the Dream Auction will open April 28th – Register Now!

JFS is honored to receive generous donations from the community to bring you this year's Seize the Dream auction. Items include getaways in Nantucket and Vermont, trips to Napa Valley, Monterey, and Puerto Vallarta, luxury dining experiences, and activities for families with children, including rock climbing, Duck Boat tours, escape rooms, and loads of Boston sports tickets!

To donate an item to the auction, please contact
Join JFS of Metrowest and other Metrowest community partners on March 30th, 7:30pm to get the latest updates on the current situation in Ukraine and how community members can help.

Learn about TPS (Temporary Protective Status), care for orphan children, status of war refugee program, and more.

Speakers include JFS CEO Lino Covarrubias, Executive Director of the Action for Post-Soviet Jewry Debbie Kardon, and Center Makor President and CEO Vladimir Foygelman, and Shapiro Foundation Director Larry Tobin. Tobin and Trustee Ed Shapiro just returned from Moldova and will be speaking about the experience helping Ukrainian war refugees.

Registration is required.
Become a Patient Navigator!
Join our Patient Navigator team and accompany older adults to medical appointments, easing the stress of the appointment for both the patient and their families.

You’ll help older adults prepare for upcoming medical appointments, serve as a companion at the appointment, facilitate communication between doctor and patient, and take notes during the visit.

Patient Navigator is a flexible volunteer opportunity that can work with your schedule! We ask you to commit to a minimum of 4 appointments per year. All appointments are during daytime hours.

Interested In Volunteering?

Please complete this short form and a JFS staff member will get back to you,
or email Gail (Manager of Volunteer Services & Community Engagement) at

JFS responds to the ever-changing needs in our community and we are continually adding new volunteer opportunities. Watch the recording of 2021's Seize the Dream, and hear directly from our volunteers about the impact they are making in the community every day!

If you’d like to support this impactful work, please donate!

With the help of JFS Board Member and 2022 Seize the Dream honoree Allan Chasen, the JFS Children’s Clothing Closet has found a new home at the Resource Room of the Framingham Public Schools. Allan’s expert assistance with the design and donation of materials has optimized the space so that it is functional and organized.

All the wall shelving and free-standing units in the new space were donated by TJX. This move represents an aligning of mutual goals and deepening of the collaborative partnership between the Framingham Public School system and JFS, and enables staff to easily and efficiently provide assistance to families and students as needs arise.

Supported by CJP, the JFS Family Assistance Network provides confidential and respectful assistance to individuals and families in Metrowest to help them meet the short-term challenges resulting from financial difficulties
Our goal is to help households remain independent and financially self-sufficient through a comprehensive array of coordinated services including case management, financial assistance and others. Learn more.
JFS Supports Our Veterans
JFS has a commitment with our partner agencies to ensure
no veteran is left behind.

Are you a veteran looking for a home? Check out these resources:

Need help with an aging loved one? JFS Geriatric Care Managers can help.

When you need expert guidance navigating the challenges that come with aging, the elder experts of JFS Allies in Aging can help.

With Lifeline from JFS of Metrowest, help is just the press of a button away.

We are pleased to provide members of Massachusetts’ older adult community with America’s most trusted medical alert service. For more than 40 years, Lifeline has enabled millions of people to live with greater independence, peace of mind and dignity in the place they feel most comfortable – their own homes.

Because the Lifeline service also helps family caregivers to balance the needs of their loved ones with the demands of their own busy lives, Lifeline is of immense benefit to them as well.

As a subscriber through JFS of Metrowest, you will be eligible to receive the latest promotions and incentives.

Questions? Call today (866) 674-9900 x4380
and mention Program Code MA670
Need to retire that old junker? Donate your car to JFS through CARS (, and skip the costs and hassles of selling a car, like paying for advertising, insurance, and repairs. Vehicle donations are tax-deductible, and you could reduce your taxable income when taxes are itemized. There is no cost to the donor. All expenses are deducted from the gross sales price.
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support JFS of Metrowest every time you shop, at no cost to you! 

When you link your regular Amazon account to AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same prices, selection, and shopping experience that you’re used to, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to JFS!
Give today and partner with JFS to improve the lives of
over 7,500 people in our community each year.
Spread the Word!
Discussing the intricacies of the pandemic with children can be hard. We at JFS of Metrowest are trying to change that. JFS has made the Lily the Llama, a children’s book on vaccines, accessible in English, Spanish, and Portuguese with hard copies and video read-alouds, thanks to translations by our CEO, Lino Covarrubius, and Immigrant Services team! We need your help getting the word out!

Flyer display or distribution:

Website/social media feature:
  • The purpose of this project is to spread information, and where better to do that than online? Don’t worry -- we’ve done all of the writing for you! Click this link, and copy and paste the text, attach this image, and post to your social media or website! 

Hard-copy book:
  • You can purchase and distribute hard-copies of Lily the Llama Helps Her Herd by clicking here!

For more information, please contact
Thank you to Abrielle, Ann, Chase, Dena, Evan, and Jane, and all who are partnering with JFS to Accelerate Social, Academic and Health Equity in our community.

Your help is needed - get involved today!
JFS of Metrowest | 508-875-3100 | |