As an attorney and guardian ad litem specializing in public sector child custody and Department of Children & Families (DCF), formerly DSS, cases, Judy Rosenberg’s passion for child advocacy and care is unmistakable. Already a member of the JF&CS Central MA Advisory Committee, she attended the JF&CS Annual Benefit in 2014. “It was so incredibly inspiring and moving to hear about what the agency does and how many programs JF&CS has and how they help so many people in need,” she shared enthusiastically.
Just a couple of months later, Judy attended the JF&CS Women’s Breakfast. There, she learned more about Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms®. “I was blown away by what a great program it is. It really spoke to me. Despite my background and education in child development and developmental psychology, I truly would have benefited from this program myself had I known about it. When I became a mother, I didn’t have any family in the area,” Judy explains.
“Then I said to myself, why can’t we have this [program] in Central MA? It is run by volunteers and it doesn’t have that much overhead,” she adds. The next day, Judy contacted Deb Shrier, Director of Community & Program Development, Central MA, telling her that she wanted to bring the Visiting Moms program to Central MA. As the idea began to percolate, Judy and her husband, Ken, made a sizable gift to fund the program and also held a fundraiser for the program in her home. “It was an informational evening about the Visiting Moms program. Its purpose was to explain the program and excite the community about this wonderful service. We were looking for various ways to get others involved – as volunteers, referrals sources, and donors to help raise enough money to launch this program,” explains Judy.
When JF&CS CEO Rimma Zelfand saw just how well attended the event had been and how much excitement there was about the program, she gave the go-ahead. “Although we didn’t have more than a handful of donors, Rimma had such faith that she allowed us to move forward. It was an unbelievable act of leadership and faith and inclusion for Central MA,” says Judy.
“Working with Judy on a project is amazing – she puts her heart into what she does and is able to gather people who can help to get things started,” says Deb. “From her own experience as a mother as well as her legal work with at-risk families, Judy understands the importance of healthy parenting and the need for early support.”
With a recent $20,000 gift from an anonymous donor, Visiting Moms in Central MA is off to a great start. Under the guidance of Visiting Moms Director Debbie Whitehill, a program coordinator has been hired and several volunteers have been recruited and trained. The focus is now on building awareness of the program throughout Central MA and connecting with possible sources of referral, such as doctors and social workers.
“JF&CS is a wonderful agency and it serves an unbelievable array of people in need,” adds Judy. “We look forward in Central MA to being a true satellite of – and a representative of – what the agency has to offer.”
Originally published on the JF&CS blog.
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