2021 Annual Report
Message From The Board Chair and The President & CEO
Dear Board Members, Supporters, Volunteers, and Friends,
We are pleased to present you with the 2020-2021 Annual Report on the activities of Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services (JFS). Our fiscal year runs from September 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021.
This year we continued to focus on helping those still struggling due to the pandemic as well as implementing the goals identified in our strategic plan which was approved by the board in January 2020.
For our seniors, we brought programming in virtually so members from our Weisman Center and other seniors could stay connected using a technology out of Israel called “Uniper” as part of a grant from NJHSA. We invested in upgrading our technology to stream programming and position us to continue providing virtual and in-person services. These enhancements will enable us to continue to bring services to seniors from the comfort of their home, thus reducing isolation and creating a new access point that is not reliant on transportation, which can be a challenge. Throughout this time, we maintained our human connection with both staff and volunteers, making phone calls, checking in via zoom, or meeting outside apartments, in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
We expanded our volunteer programs adding services such as “Shop and Share,” which matches homebound seniors with volunteer shoppers who bring groceries to the home. We started a “Technology SOS” program so that those seniors who struggle with technology could be matched with a volunteer who comes to their home and teaches them to use their computers, phones, and other technology.
We started a “Chore Corps” so that seniors who needed help around the home with simple chores could have a volunteer come assist. Other volunteer programs, serving the Adele Loeb and Les Nackman Meals on Wheels Program and the Jacobson Family Food Pantry, continued throughout the pandemic, keeping these programs going without any delays.
We revamped our volunteer services to better identify the programs appropriate for different groups, indicating which programs could be done on evenings and weekends, and which could be done by families or groups, including families raising children with disabilities. We implemented volunteer software to communicate better with our volunteers, broadening our reach and improving the volunteer experience. We created an “Ambassador” program to train and teach volunteers about our services to help others in the community get the help they needed.
For our families, we focused on providing virtual workshops and programming on a variety of topics to support them throughout the pandemic. Our counseling and other mental health services such as psychiatry, in partnerships with Florida Atlantic University and Johns Hopkins University, were lifelines to many who accessed services via telehealth. We continue to see an increase in requests for mental health supports, especially among young children and teens.
We spent time focusing on data, implementing a software program for accurate reporting across multiple systems. Working with our IT team, senior management and each department, we diligently identified what platforms and data were needed for accurate reporting. This will be invaluable for grant reporting, benchmarking and accounting for all clients serviced by the agency each year.
None of this can be accomplished without the support of you, our most treasured supporters. Thank you for your partnership in ensuring those in need receive assistance.