As Jewish Family & Children’s Service confronts the public health crisis, our staff continues to adapt, lead and share their expertise both locally and nationally. Congratulations to the staff recognized below, and thank you to all of our staff for their tireless efforts to make an impact in our community and beyond.
JF&CS Receives Pillars of Excellence Award for Advocacy
The Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA) recognized JF&CS with its Pillars of Excellence Award for Advocacy at its virtual conference in May. Lindsey Daley, the senior benefits advocate at JF&CS, accepted the award on behalf of the agency. “Advocating to improve the lives of vulnerable people and those without power is central to our work,” said Lindsey. “We believe it is crucial to be actively involved in taking a stand on policies and laws that impact the lives of our clients.” In June, as a follow-up to this award, Lindsey co-led a national webinar for NJHSA member organizations on how to better engage in advocacy efforts to expand the impact of their work.
Karen Wasserman Gives Expert Elder Care Advice on WBUR and JewishBoston.com
Karen Wasserman, director of Your Elder Experts at JF&CS, recently took to the airwaves, sharing resources and advice on caring for older adults during the pandemic. For many, managing the care of an older adult is presenting increased challenges. You can listen to Karen’s interviews on Radio Boston and The Vibe of the Tribe. “Everyone’s anxiety is heightened now, and oftentimes the decisions around elder care are done in a crisis,” said Karen. “People need us now more than ever.”
Tiffany Clark and Lucy Fisher to Present at Infant Mental Health Conference in Australia
Tiffany Clark and Lucy Fisher, clinicians in our Project NESST® program for substance-exposed newborns and their families, were accepted as presenters at the 17th annual conference of the World Association for Infant Mental Health in Brisbane, Australia. Originally slated for this summer, the conference has been postponed to June 2021. Tiffany and Lucy will deliver a presentation about the challenges of working with vulnerable families impacted by trauma and substance use disorder. “We are looking forward to attending and presenting our work with ongoing support and advocacy from our colleagues in Project NESST® and the Center for Early Relationship Support®,” said Lucy.
Beth Soltzberg Helps Memory Cafés Around the World Go Virtual
Beth Soltzberg, director of the Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program at JF&CS, has played a pivotal role in guiding memory cafés as they transition to virtual programming. Beth is the founder and director of the JF&CS Percolator Memory Café Network, which fosters the spread of these social and creative engagement programs for people living with dementia, along with their family members, friends and care providers. Since the pandemic began, the Percolator has held several online meetings attended by hundreds of café providers and teaching artists around the U.S. and internationally to share encouragement, practical tips and best practices. “The main goal of memory cafés is to reduce the social isolation that often comes with dementia,” said Beth. “In this time of physical distancing, this need has become acute. Cafés are capable of evolving to meet it—as long as we work together and share what we are learning.”
Mary Curlew Leads Workshop for Elder Mental Health Coalition
Mary Curlew, the community education and training specialist at JF&CS, was recently invited to lead a workshop hosted by the Elder Mental Health Coalition, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health and the Department of Mental Health. Mary’s expertise in responding to and recovering from trauma was the focus of this workshop. “We’re helping direct service providers respond to the needs in our community, as well as helping them deal with their own grief and loss due to COVID-19,” shared Mary. “People are experiencing so much distress in housing and older adult communities. It made sense for us to equip direct service providers with the tools they need to respond both to the mental health needs of older adults as well as their own self-care.” Throughout the public health crisis, Mary has been leading online trainings on social isolation, coping with loss and social aggression for a variety of local organizations, including MassHousing and the National Association of Social Workers MA.
Laura Beals Wins Heller Award for Teaching
Laura Beals, director of the Department of Evaluation and Learning at JF&CS, was recently honored by The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where she teaches a course entitled “Evaluation for Managers.” Laura, who received the annual Heller Award for Teaching, was the first adjunct faculty member to win this honor. Nominators called her “an exceptionally engaging lecturer and creative leader in the classroom” who “regularly drew on her own experience in the field, drawing a vivid picture for students about what it is like to be an M&E [monitoring and evaluation] professional.” She challenges and inspires students to always do their best work.
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