Personal Reflections from the President & CEO
President & CEO
February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM) and I encourage you to embrace its mission by concentrating on inclusion.
Inclusion means ensuring everyone can access Jewish institutions and activities, and understanding that each one of us has a role to play so that all people are welcome and can participate meaningfully. To accomplish this, we must do whatever we can to adapt our programming and institutions to ensure everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
I am proud of the additional resources that JFS has been able to allocate towards the Special Needs community over the past year. These added resources were made possible primarily by the Rales Foundation’s grant to JFS’ Center for Families & Children.
JFS has hired Tzippi Rosen, MSW, as a dedicated Community Outreach Coordinator to specifically work with special needs families in order to build awareness of the many services and resources that JFS offers, including parent, caregiver & sibling support groups, and through JFS’ Cooper Fund, financial assistance for therapy, adaptive equipment, shadows, camps, respite care and much more.
Tzippi will be conducting two Respite Care Training Programs for those who are would like to learn the skills and tools necessary to be an effective caregiver to individuals of all ages living with developmental and autism spectrum disorders. The trainings will take place at the Peter Blum Family YMCA of Boca Raton with the first being held March 20th followed by one in the fall, September 18th. These trainings are being held in partnership with the YMCA and FAU’s CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) program.
Additionally, this month we will host our 4th Annual Reflections of Hope Luncheon which takes place on February 25th. This year our keynote speaker will be Melissa Rivers. The response has been overwhelming, as we already have over 650 confirmed attendees. The Luncheon raises the much needed funds to support JFS’ Welcome Home Program and Mental Health Services. The Welcome Home Program, staffed by a licensed clinical social worker, is a free drop-in center for adults living with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. The Program features additional professionals who provide computer training, pet therapy, art therapy, financial literacy and job readiness. The goal of the program is to improve the life, social and employment skills of its participants.
It is through JFS’ clinical, social, recreational, educational and cultural activities that we assist participants in our programs to move forward on their journey of reintegration and inclusion into the community.