IN THE NEWS: Rales Family Donates $2.4 million to JFS

Randall Lieberman

Jewish Journal (subscription required)

Sep 28, 2015

The late Norman and Ruth Rales were both great Jewish philanthropists in South Palm Beach County. The Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation recently gave a second $2.4 million gift to fund the JFS Center for Families & Children.

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 (JFS) — 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.

"When established in 2014, the center created four new programs — Career and Employment Services, Domestic Abuse Education and Action, Community Outreach, and, for the first time in our community's history, financial assistance for summer camp, tutoring children in grades K-12, and college test prep."

Joshua Rales, president of the Norman & Ruth Rales Foundation, commented: "Speaking on behalf of my family, we are very impressed with the accomplishments JFS has made with the Center for Families & Children in such a short period of time. We also are proud of the impact the programs and services have made on the lives of families and children within the South Palm Beach County community.

"We are confident that with these added funds we will be providing continuity for several growing programs that are addressing significant needs in the community, while also extending the reach of the center to serve special-needs children. This gift reaffirms my parents' desire to help those facing challenging circumstances to achieve their potential."

While there are more families that need the help of JFS, the center's programs have already made a quantifiable impact on the families and children in the South Palm Beach community.

Career & Employment Services (CES) is assisting many long-term unemployed candidates who are in need of support above and beyond just finding gainful employment in order to lead more productive lives. By focusing on clients' individual strengths and goals, CES career strategists create customized Career Action Plans (CAP) for each client.

These individual CAPs developed and utilized by CES are so successful because they are specifically tailored to the needs of the "long-term" unemployed (more than seven months) in order to assist them with achieving gainful employment.

Since July of 2014, 481 individuals have inquired about the program — with 230 enrolling in the program, and CES placing 126 candidates in jobs.

The Domestic Abuse Education & Action Program has provided 155 victims of domestic abuse with $107,820 in financial assistance. This financial assistance is in addition to individual and group counseling, educational workshops, and referrals to services — with a particular sensitivity to the special needs of Jewish victims. In the fall of 2015, JFS will begin a program targeting teen relationship abuse.

The Community Outreach Program has expanded the reach of JFS by servicing the community on-site at 19 local institutions, including a range of synagogues and public and private schools. Through relationships with these institutions, more than 2,000 participants of all ages have been impacted through referrals, assessments and individual and group counseling.

The Financial Assistance Program for Children & Families addresses the increasing demand for day camp and Jewish overnight camp scholarships, as well as SAT/ACT test preparation, tutoring and after-school childcare. Since the program began, the Center for Families & Children has awarded $161,750 in summer camp scholarships to enable 140 families to send 274 children to camp.

There is great excitement surrounding the establishment of the Children with Special Needs Program. To date, JFS has partnered with the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center to conduct weekly support groups for parents and grandparents and therapy groups for siblings of children with special needs.

In addition, JFS has worked with other community partners such as Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (JAFCO), the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton.

The renewed funds from the Rales Foundation have enabled JFS to grow this area by hiring a part-time special needs outreach coordinator.

For more information about the Center for Families & Children, visit www.ralesjfs.org, or contact JFS at info@ralesjfs.org or 561-852-3333.

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