Decades before serving as the interim CEO of Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Carl Zack witnessed firsthand the transformative power of our programs when his wife became a JF&CS client. Below, you can read Carl’s remarks at the 2019 Women’s Breakfast, our annual fundraiser for the Center for Early Relationship Support®.

I am honored to be here celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Center for Early Relationship Support® [CERS], as well as CERS director Peggy H. Kaufman and her many accomplishments. It has not only been a privilege to work alongside Peggy at JF&CS, but my wife, Andrea, and I treasure the difference she made in our lives. Allow me to tell everyone about it.

Andrea and I were married for 18 months when her parents died within six months of each other. She was 33 years old and very close to her mother. She was sad and fearful. Andrea didn’t think she could live without her mother. That’s when JF&CS entered our lives.

Andrea was pregnant with our first daughter when she began attending a JF&CS grief support group. She was not a person who had babysat or dreamed about having a baby. She felt overwhelmed and scared that she wouldn’t know what to do. That is when the group’s facilitator recommended that she speak with Peggy and consider having a volunteer visit with her on a weekly basis.

Providing Support and Strength

After Andrea met Peggy for the first time, I asked her how it went. There was a smile when she reported that Peggy understood what she was going through. She recalled that “talking with Peggy reassured and comforted me. Just like my mother would have done for me, Peggy has given me the strength to believe that I can do this.”

Our daughter, Emma, was born on May 4, 1992. The volunteer who visited Andrea was a perfect match. Peggy intuitively knew who Andrea needed and made it happen, just as she has done for so many other parents over her distinguished career. The Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® program made a challenging time manageable. Getting Andrea and our daughter off to a great start was so important to us as a family.

(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

Four years later, Emma was joined by her little sister, Hannah. Because of Peggy and CERS, Andrea knew what to do when she came along.

Standing here today, I know my family is not unique. I know the tremendous impact of our work, and I am proud to share that under Peggy’s continued leadership, CERS will impact the trajectory of families for generations to come.

To learn more about all of our home and community-based services for parents and infants, visit our Center for Early Relationship Support® page.

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