Meet the JFS Family Assistance & Healthy Aging team!

Case managers in the JFS Family Assistance Network (a partner program of CJP’s Anti-Poverty Initiative) provide case management, emergency financial assistance, information and referral and employment support through the Ready for Success partnership with Jewish Vocational Service to address the immediate needs of families in crisis, then continue the work to move them to stability and self-sufficiency.

JFS Healthy Aging provides social, educational and supportive programs to older adults in the community so they can maximize their independence and quality of life as they age in place. Programs include: Lunch and Learns, Healthy Partners, Patient Navigator, LGBT+ Ally Navigator Initiative, Warm Connectors, Memory Cafés and English as a Second Language (ESL).


thumbnail_IMG_3528-248×300Maryann Cardani, LICSW

Manager, Family Assistance Network and Healthy Aging

With JFS since September 1998

“My work in the Family Assistance Network program feels intimately tied to my values as a social worker and the mission of JFS—helping vulnerable populations to experience real, tangible support and compassion as we promote social, financial and health equity. We are privileged to be able to make a real difference on a daily basis for clients with a huge range of needs. Never has this work felt more necessary, or more important than it does in the current time period we are living in.”

Merrill-290×300Merrill Adler, LICSW

With JFS since November 2014

“The Patient Navigator program is an important JFS program in that it provides seniors in the Metrowest with not only transportation to their doctors’ appointments but a trained Patient Navigator who serves as an extra set of “eyes and ears” by being with them during the appointment, taking notes, making sure their questions are answered and then writing a summary of the visit for the client to refer to and share with family. The program provides support for clients to continue to live independently, and our clients are tremendously appreciative of the program, with many telling us they don’t know how they would manage without the Patient Navigator program.”

thumbnail_Leslie-Head-Shot-233×300Leslie Bazer

With JFS since September 2020

“What’s most important to me about the work we do in the Family Assistance Network is our commitment to empowering our clients. We recognize how hard it is to ask for help and we work together to identify goals and action steps to move individuals and families away from places of vulnerability or instability. The warm, supportive and respectful partnerships we create with our clients enable them to become increasingly more self-confident and self-sustaining. It is such a privilege for me to be part of the FAN team and I am profoundly grateful to our partners and donors for making this sacred work possible.”

thumbnail_IMG_5864-233×300Karen Block

With JFS since October 2013

“Living longer should be a blessing. We should be able to enjoy life as best as possible. Often, however, this means relying on outside help to provide social activity, access to health care and proper nutrition. Working with the amazing professionals and volunteers at JFSMW, I’m privileged to assist in providing those services. We know we are successful by the appreciation expressed by our elder community.”

Nermin-300×200Nermin Helaly

With JFS since September 2016

“JFS understands the community needs and looks for the best ways to meet them. JFS plays a vital role in building a healthy community, providing critical services and relief for people when it’s hard to find elsewhere. JFS provides support during the most difficult times and cares about everyone, teaching us the value and reward of teamwork. JFS is the voice of the people we serve.”

Carol-225×300Wen-Ying (Carol) Ju 朱紋瑩

With JFS since October 2013

Asian Outreach Coordinator, Framingham Housing Authority

“The Patient Navigator Program is extremely important for the Chinese community at both Framingham Housing Authority and Shillman House. The personal service toward seniors has tailored their needs greatly. The Chinese community has benefitted from the program by having a Chinese-speaking Patient Navigator drive them to doctors’ appointments, take them to the right place, help fill out forms from the doctor’s office, interpret what the doctor said and drive them home. They do not have to worry about the late/missed/no-show ride from the insurance company to the facility and back home, nor getting lost in the facility, using poor English to ask directions and communicate with receptionists and doctors. The Chinese Patient Navigator does it all. Therefore, Chinese clients are very appreciative of the program.”

Lesley-183×300Lesley Orlinsky

With JFS since January 2007

“For the past eight years I have been involved in the creation and development of the Patient Navigator program, an enhanced medical visit escort service. By providing vital health support to older adults in our community, the Patient Navigator program aligns with the JFS mission. My favorite part about the Patient Navigator program is how it is received by all involved. Clients and their relatives and caregivers are deeply grateful, my volunteers find the work incredibly fulfilling and the medical profession has been very receptive and appreciative of our presence.”

Abrielle-176×300-1Abrielle Salloway, LCSW

With JFS since June 2011

“The most rewarding experience of being part of the FAN team is watching a client come into JFS in crisis and helping them navigate through this crisis using the tools we provide in order to become stable again.”


Sean-300×225Sean Woo

With JFS since February 2018

“I have been working as a Patient Navigator for over two years. I have experienced a lot of appreciation and pleasure from the clients that inspired me to do more jobs for them. I do also appreciate the great philanthropists who have contributed to the program to keep it running, which has touched everybody. I have been taking many Chinese elder people for their appointments from several communities where there are over a hundred of them who especially have been feeling even more deeply grateful. Because all those Chinese seniors do not speak English and they wouldn’t attend any of the appointments due to the language barrier. Many of them ask me to pass their deep thanks to the program. It makes me feel more meaningful for the job. I am proud of the greatest job I have done.”


DivyaDivya Das

Career Navigator, JVS
With JFS since November 2019

“I am a career coach at JVS-Boston and provide career coaching services to JFS FAN Clients. Prior to this role, I worked in university career services, and prior to this, I was an engineer and project manager. What I enjoy most about this role is the collaboration with JFS case managers in order to work with clients in a comprehensive and holistic manner. Employment is impacted by so many factors, including VIPS (values, interests, skills, personality), health, caregiving responsibilities, housing, etc. The FAN team works collaboratively to understand each client and their unique situation, and works toward empowering the client to work toward achieving their goals.”


thumbnail_Maverick-Keene-236×300Maverick Keene

Second-year MSW student at Bridgewater State University, interning with JFS Family Assistance & Healthy Aging

“After spending most of my life wanting to be a cop so I could be on TV, I decided that there were better ways to create positive change in the world. As a social worker, I believe that empowerment and community, or any combination of the two, are the way toward a better world.”

thumbnail_Photo-on-10-9-20-at-11.25-AM-300×200Insun Choe

Second-year MSW student at Regis College, interning with JFS Family Assistance & Healthy Aging

“Feeling always grateful for all the help I have received since birth through people and social systems, I am studying social work because I want to give back support to others effectively and systematically. Since I know JFSMW is doing that, I wanted to join the organization to learn more about the service for older people and the people who need financial support. And now I am starting to learn and practice it with the help of JFSMW members.”

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