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September 5, 2014

How’d you get involved with JF&CS Family Table?
Deb LauferI grew up in the Boston area, so I started volunteering as a young child through my synagogue collecting cereal and peanut butter. Now, as an adult, I've reconnected with Family Table and found it immensely rewarding. It helps that my office is less than a mile away from JF&CS Headquarters.

Why did you decide to ride in the Ride for Food?
By participating in the Ride for Food, I get to help promote the work that JF&CS Family Table does within my community. I'm not sure how many people understand the breadth and scope of what Family Table offers their clients. With innovation and compassion, JF&CS Family Table accomplishes so much and I am excited to share the work they do with my friends and family as I ask for donations. Also, I love to ride my bike, so this felt like a perfect fit!

What’s your strongest JF&CS Family Table memory?
I love volunteering at Marketplace, I usually stand by the produce section and get to exchange cooking techniques with clients and chat about which local farms donated produce that month. I learned a fantastic recipe for Russian stuffed peppers that reminds me of something my grandmother used to make.

Tell us about some of the other agencies you volunteer or work with.
I am very passionate about outdoor education and volunteer with Girl Scouts and the Student Conservation Association when I get the chance.

What’s your favorite food?
That is a tough one, but lately it has been all of the fresh peaches this summer.

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September 3, 2014

Posted by Lauren Schleicher

Olivia in the PoolI remember the hill. To me, it seemed like a mountain that my friends and I raced down to see who could roll or run down it the fastest. I remember how cold and wet the ground felt on my feet as I walked to the snack stand to get a frozen Charleston Chew and how my mother would warn me to let it soften so it wouldn’t break my teeth. I remember the disappointment I would feel when the lifeguard blew the whistle and yelled “adult swim!” and we would have to get out of the pool and sit on the edge while the adults swam their laps. While we swam, our parents would stand in the shallow end, talking to each other. The JCC pool was a staple as a kid growing up in Marblehead. Before I went to overnight camp, I swam there every day. The people I met became my family, and I will never forget those summers.

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our two-year-old daughter to the same pool. It was then that all of the memories of those summers came back to me. The hill was still there but no longer looked like a mountain to me. The ground was still cold and wet and, surprisingly enough, they still sold frozen Charleston Chews! I smiled as I watched my daughter and her friend race up and down the hill. As I was looking around, I spotted one of the people I used to play with at the pool as a kid. As we stood together, in the shallow end of the pool while our kids swam around us, I kept saying to her, “This is so surreal.” The roles had reversed. I probably should have felt old but I didn’t. I felt like I was giving my daughter the exact gift my parents gave me; a sense of community, a summer of fun, and lifelong memories.

I am lucky to have grown up in a wonderful Jewish community with amazing teachers: not just the excellent teachers I had at Cohen Hillel Academy or Marblehead High School, but the “teachers” at the pool who taught me the importance and meaning of community. Those teachers were the people I saw volunteering at Super Sunday, leading a committee, planning events, making donations, and attending meetings to ensure our community was thriving and vibrant. The North Shore community instilled in me a strong Jewish identity and a desire to work for Jewish organizations like JF&CS. I am lucky to work with these amazing people through JF&CS committees to raise awareness about JF&CS programs on the North Shore with them.

Standing in that pool reminded me that our community always needs new teachers.  It is now our responsibility to make sure that our children thrive in the type of exciting Jewish community we did, so that when they are at the JCC with their children one day, they will be thanking us for the memories as well.  

Lauren SchleicherLauren Schleicher is the Special Events Associate at JF&CS. She grew up in Marblehead, MA where she currently resides with her husband, Jeff, and 2-year-old daughter, Olivia.

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August 28, 2014

Posted by Elizabeth Schön Vainer

TeenSafe 2014I cannot wrap my head around the fact that we are in the last weeks of glorious summer days. Knowing that we are entering the Jewish period of reflection before the High Holidays ultimately leading to a new year with new opportunities, I am energized as we prepare for the beginning of another exciting TeenSafe year.

Planning is in full swing, applications are coming in, and we are delighted with a recent front-page article in the Jewish Journal about TeenSafe. Please take a minute and read about our highly successful program that combines teen leadership development with domestic abuse prevention. TeenSafe empowers young people to learn, lead, and laugh together and then encourages these young people to inspire others to do the same.

Each year our pride grows as we watch these young leaders, who are committed to preventing dating abuse among their peers, expand their knowledge and bring their passion formally and informally into the Jewish community.

The program begins in mid-October. Please share TeenSafe information with girls entering 10th or 11th grade who might be interested in participating. Contact Sara Berkowitz at for more information.

Elizabeth Schon VainerElizabeth Schön Vainer has been the program director of Journey to Safety, the domestic abuse program of JF&CS, since March 2010. Elizabeth is passionate about Journey to Safety’s commitment to prevent domestic abuse. She believes that we must work at the individual, community, and legislative levels to shift our societal view that allows abusive behavior to remain so prevalent and damaging. When we focus on speaking up, listening to, and collaborating with others we can have a real impact. Prior to working at JF&CS, Elizabeth worked for 25 years in victim services at both the Middlesex and Suffolk County District Attorney’s offices. Elizabeth holds a BSW from the University of Tel Aviv and a MS in organization and management from Antioch University.

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August 26, 2014

Posted by Jon Federman

In Part I of this story, we learned about Jacob and Lina Hecht and how Lina leveraged her social prominence to establish educational, health, and job-training programs for needy Jews in late 19th-century Boston. In Part II, we learn how Lina improved those lives even further through more charitable programs that taught self-sufficiency and served as a model for the work performed by JF&CS today.

Lina HechtMrs. Lina Hecht worked with her husband throughout the 1870’s and 1880’s to professionalize the United Hebrew Benevolent Association (UHBA) to ensure uniform and evenly distributed services to the Jewish poor of Boston. In 1895, the UHBA merged with Mrs. Hecht’s Hebrew Ladies Sewing Circle, as well as the Free Employment Bureau, the Charitable Burial Association, and the Leopold Morse Home for the Aged and Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage, to form the Federation of Jewish Charities of Boston.1 Mrs. Hecht organized the fundraisers that made the merger financially possible and was one of only three women appointed to its founding board.2 Thirteen years later, in 1908, Mrs. Hecht became the first woman vice president of the Federated Jewish Charities.3 She was also the only female mentioned in Israelites in Boston, a publication of short biographies by Rabbi Solomon Schindler, published in 1889.4

By 1889, Mrs. Hecht had started a Jewish Sunday School for immigrant children, hoping to teach them both the basics of Judaism and the American way of life.5 Mrs. Hecht believed that the progress of the world “rests upon the breath of the school-children and that they in turn influence the parents.”6 Along with pioneering social activist Golde Bamber, she expanded the school in 1890 to become the Hebrew Industrial School for Girls (HIS), located in Boston’s North End.7 The school’s primary purpose was to educate young female immigrants in a trade (particularly sewing, tailoring, millinery, and cooking) so that they could provide for themselves in their new country.8 Mrs. Hecht even went as far as presenting the plan for her school to the Baronesses Rothschild and de Hirsch in Paris and successfully obtained their generous contributions to fund the school.9

Under Mrs. Hecht’s guidance, a partner school for boys was opened in 1892 in Boston’s West End. For four decades, the schools taught good citizenship, Jewish history and culture, and economic self-sufficiency to immigrant children and their families. In just the first five years, 1,200 children were taught to be self-respecting wage earners.10 Following her death in 1921, the schools merged into a new headquarters in the West End and were renamed the “Hecht Neighborhood House.”11 The name followed the relocation of the school and community center to Dorchester in 1936.12

Lina Hecht focused on issues that are still relevant to JF&CS today. She shifted the focus of charity from the simple distribution of money to the needy to a comprehensive, social work model. Realizing that immigrants, children, families, and the aged needed more than just a handout, Mrs. Hecht hoped to improve lives by making people self-sufficient – teaching women to sew and make clothing so that they could find jobs, pay rent, and have food on their tables. The motto for the school she founded was, “a good Israelite will make a better citizen.”


Lina Hecht was concerned about the individual and the family within the greater fabric of society. As described in Representative Women of New England, “she spreadeth out wide her open palm to the poor… strength and dignity are her clothing.”


Jon FedermanJon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.



1. Susan Ebert, “Community and Philanthropy,” in The Jews of Boston, ed. Jonathan Sarna and Ellen Smith (Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, 1995), , 218-19.

2. Ellen Smith, “Lina Frank Hecht,” in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia (Jewish Women’s Archive, 1 March 2009).

3. Id.

4. Id.

5. Id.

6. Julia Ward Howe and Mary Hannah Groves, Ed’s., Representative Women of New England (Boston: New England Historical Publishing co., 1904), 334.

7.  Id.

8. YMHA-Hecht House Guide; Ebert, 215.

9. Howe and Groves, 334.

10. Ebert, 215.

11. Smith.

12. Id.

13. Ebert, 217.

14. Ward and Groves, 334.

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August 21, 2014

Posted by Holly McCarthy

Path in the WoodsIn November 2012, JF&CS launched In-Home Behavioral Services, a program for children and youth on the autism spectrum. The goal of this program is to improve children’s behavior at home and in the community by enhancing communication skills and teachings strategies for self-regulation. Services are adjusted to meet the needs of each child and his/her family.

We love hearing from our families about how In-Home Behavioral Services have changed their lives. We recently received this from a mother in our program:

I am the mother of a five-year-old boy with autism. Justin was diagnosed at three and it has been quite the learning curve for me and everyone in my family. We desperately needed assistance in developing the necessary skills to handle certain behaviors. There were many ups and downs, but there came a time when it seemed like things were making a downhill turn. Every time he didn't get his way, Justin started displaying aggressive and self-injurious behaviors. This had proven to have a significant emotional impact on us. There were times I felt completely overwhelmed and helpless as a parent.

After a few phone calls, desperately searching for help, I received a call back from JF&CS. Our in-home sessions were scheduled quickly and Jennifer was sent to us. She worked so hard with Justin and my family. It felt like she was always thinking of us even when she wasn't around. Jennifer kept in constant communication with me, coming up with ideas on how to handle situations, how to use reinforcers, and how to get Justin to display appropriate behaviors. Within a few weeks, things turned around. Justin was able to appropriately verbalize his needs, and there was a significant decrease in the number of tantrums. This has been a very rewarding experience. Jennifer has assisted me in recognizing my own strength and coping skills, as well as Justin's. We are grateful to Jennifer and her continuous support. Thank you for bringing my son back.

Holly McCarthyHolly McCarthy joined the CHAI Works team at JF&CS in 2011 as the program’s Communication Specialist. Now the program manager of the JF&CS Children’s Behavioral Health Services, she her masters degree in severe/profound disabilities from Rhode Island College. Holly enjoys playing softball, traveling, and is a Boston sports super fan.

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August 19, 2014

Posted by Jon Federman

"We give people the tools they need to become self-sufficient and meet their basic needs independently."
                 -- Jewish Family & Children's Service (JF&CS) Website, 2014

"The society aims to make its beneficiaries as not to be a burden of the Commonwealth but a part of it."
                 -- Representative Women of New England, on the charities started by Lina Frank Hecht, 19041

Lina HectOne of the major tenets of modern day social service agencies is the concept of self-sufficiency. At present-day JF&CS, we deal with people's immediate needs but also address how they can become more independent in the future. It is hard to believe that this concept was also at the heart of JF&CS predecessor agencies more than 100 years ago.

In the 1880's, pogroms, anti-Jewish laws, and heightened anti-Semitism in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in Russia and Eastern Europe caused a substantial increase in Jewish immigration to the United States. With one of the largest Jewish populations in the US, nearly 100,000 Jews listed Boston as their final destination when they arrived on American shores.

Some 20 years prior to the massive wave of immigration, Boston area Jews provided charity for their needy through a handful of synagogues. But as immigration increased, and by extension, the numbers of people and families in need, the resources of the synagogues were strained. A group of "26 responsible men," members of Congregations Adath Israel and Ohabei Shalom, came together to form the United Hebrew Benevolent Association (UHBA) on January 10, 1864. Led by Nathan Strauss, the group modeled itself after secular benevolent societies, which appealed to the community for support and was the predecessor organization to today’s JF&CS.2

Featuring prominently in the UHBA was a wealthy couple who had moved to Boston from Baltimore, Jacob and Lina Hecht. Although the couple quickly became leading members of the German-Jewish philanthropic community, Mrs. Hecht established a unique and independent identity as a female philanthropist and social reformer.3

Together, the Hechts enjoyed the arts and frequently hosted musicians and literary celebrities in their Commonwealth Avenue home. Their names could also be found on the membership rolls of almost every charitable institution in Boston.4 In 1904, a profile on Lina Hecht was included in a book about important women of New England.5 The article described her as

of a profoundly religious nature and religious training, the holy language that makes ‘charity’ synonymous with ‘justice’ readily finds expression in Mrs. Hecht’s life. While very faithful to the claims of blood, here benevolence knows no limit of race, creed, or color. Her days are given up literally to the noble privilege of ministering to the needs of others.6

In the 1870’s, Mrs. Hecht started her trajectory by funding small educational and health programs for newly arriving immigrants in Boston. By 1878, she had revived the Hebrew Ladies Sewing Society, which had been founded in 1869. As the group’s president, Mrs. Hecht oversaw the program in which cloth was purchased to be sewn by immigrant women into blankets, clothing, and undergarments. The resulting items were then distributed free to needy Jewish immigrants. She also initiated fundraising “Calico Balls” to support the group’s Chanukkah parties for the poor.7 With more than 500 members, the society aimed to make its beneficiaries self-supporting and offered food, clothing, medicine, medical attendance, and weeks in the country. The society also advanced capital to establish families in starting businesses.8

Learn more about Lina Hecht and the work she did to help transform the poor in Boston’s Jewish community into empowered, self-sufficient Jewish American citizens in Part II of this story next week.

Jon FedermanJon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.


1 Julia Ward Howe and Mary Hannah Groves, Ed’s., Representative Women of New England (Boston: New England Historical Publishing co., 1904), 334.

2 Susan Ebert, “Community and Philanthropy,” in The Jews of Boston, ed. Jonathan Sarna and Ellen Smith (Boston: Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, 1995), 222.

3 Ellen Smith, “Lina Frank Hecht,” in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia (Jewish Women’s Archive, 1 March 2009).

4 Howe and Groves, 334.

5 Id.

6 Id.

7 Smith.

8 Howe and Groves, 334.




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August 14, 2014

Posted by Jon Federman

OmbudsmanYou’re in a nursing home. Your roommate has family members visiting at all hours of the day, laughing, shouting, and watching the television at a deafening volume. What do you do?

Your wristwatch has gone missing, possibly stolen, and you can’t see the clock in your room. What can you do?

If only you had someone on your side to listen to your concerns, protect your rights, and advocate for you to solve your problems within the nursing home. The JF&CS Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is that resource.

Ombudsman is a Swedish word from medieval times meaning “a representative of the people.” Today’s long-term care ombudsman visits nursing home residents on a weekly basis and works to resolve their problems. JF&CS, under contract with Springwell, the west suburban Aging Service Access Point, has administered the Ombudsman program since 1983 as part of a network of federally mandated and funded ombudsman programs. A corps of 22 trained JF&CS volunteers visits residents in 30 nursing homes weekly. The service is entirely free for the residents and some of the volunteers have been with the program for more than 20 years. Federal law guarantees the right of access for each local ombudsman to visit consenting residents in every facility, every day of the year.

Marian Comenetz has been a volunteer ombudsman for about three and a half years. “The problems are as broad and as deep as human problems can be, from the mundane to the quite serious,” she says. A former high school language teacher, she was looking for a volunteer opportunity after she retired from teaching. Her own experience with an elderly mother who was in the dementia unit of a nursing home gave her quite a bit of familiarity with the workings of nursing homes prior to volunteering.

“We deal with everything – from allegations of missing medications to room temperature issues; from aides treating residents rudely to food problems. We get repairs done, replace missing TV remotes, fix wheelchairs, help with religious needs, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and podiatry,” explains Marian. “It might be something as basic as getting a resident’s fingernails trimmed to something major like getting medications to a resident in a timely manner.”

One resident complained to Marian that there was a woman down the hall whose screaming kept her awake all night. The night nurse, who was responsible for 40 residents on that floor, spent so much time with the screaming woman that she had no time left for the other residents. Marian voiced the concern to administrators, who explained that there was an on-site night supervisor for residents to contact, and advised that the nursing director could be called at any hour. When Marian returned to let the woman know about the protocol, she was extremely grateful. “It meant a lot to her that someone listened and then came back to explain it all. It was very gratifying to hear this,” Marian added.

“We try to be the eyes and ears of the nursing home. We watch out for those who cannot express themselves. We report on and try to solve anything that affects the well-being of the residents,” explains Marian. “I give credit to those who make things happen and I am amazed at how the administrators respond to me and their willingness to stop and listen,” she adds. “It is our goal to minimize problems before they escalate.”

Jon FedermanJon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.

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August 12, 2014

Shared by Bernice Behar

Bernice Ride for FoodTell us about the Ride for Food.
The Ride for Food is a grassroots biking fundraiser to support local food pantries like Family Table. On September 21, members of the JF&CS Family Table riding team will join with 11 other food pantry teams on a scenic bike ride to raise funds to fight hunger in our communities. Riders can choose routes of 12, 25, or 50 miles and all the money the Family Table riders raise will support Family Table. If our team raises at least $10,000 we will even earn “bonus money,” (from the money raised by the organizers of the Ride). It’s going to be a very fun event, with lots of food, raffle prizes, and good spirit—all for a great cause!

Why are you participating?
We are excited to be participating this year because it is a fantastic new way for us to engage more people who are passionate about the work of Family Table. We expect to have a team of around 20 riders, all of whom are enthusiastic about biking and committed to helping those in need. Each of them, in turn, is reaching out to their personal networks and educating them about Family Table. Even those who choose not to donate will have learned more about Family Table, so it’s a win no matter what. The Ride for Food is also a great way for Family Table to interact more with other food pantries in the area. Ultimately, the better we know each other, the better we can support each other in the fight against hunger.

What is one of your favorite memories working with JF&CS Family Table?
I’m not sure if “memory” is the right word, but my most rewarding moments are the ones when I know I’ve made some connection with a client, even a small one. I remember every delivery I’ve ever made, not because the recipients have necessarily expressed gratitude (though many do) but because I know how much it means to someone who can’t readily access a grocery store to have food brought to their door. I love talking to the children who come to Family Table Marketplace with their parents, giving them some crayons so they can draw a picture while their parents pack their bags and hanging their pictures up for them to see. I enjoy the surprise and amusement on the faces of the elderly Russian clients when I speak my two or three words of Russian. I also really enjoy listening as our awesome staff and volunteers talk with the clients at Marketplace about the produce we’re offering, trading recipe ideas, and encouraging people to try items that they may not be familiar with.

What is your favorite food?
Blueberries! I will take fresh blueberries over chocolate, believe it or not.

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August 7, 2014
Posted by Rimma Zelfand

Rimma speakingRecently, I was asked to speak at a conference called, "Management in the Age of Innovation" held at Simmons College. In front of 150 people, I discussed the future of management. After my presentation, people came up to me to talk and ask questions. What are the odds that three people told me how the Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® program changed their lives as well of the lives of their loved ones?

The first person to introduce himself to me was the husband of a woman who had premature twins five years ago. When the couple finally brought the twins home from the hospital, there was a lot of confusion and the mother was under an extreme amount of stress. Luckily, the couple contacted JF&CS and soon they became involved with the Oliver, Ian, and Serenity Wolk Fragile Beginnings program as well as one of our support groups in Newton for the families of multiples. Our Visiting Moms program also came to the rescue, sending a compassionate volunteer to the home for empathetic support, guidance, and companionship. The husband credited those three services for saving his marriage.

The next person who came up to say hello was the daughter of a Visiting Moms volunteer. She told me that since her mom became a Visiting Mom, her mom's life had noticeably changed for the better. She described her mother's passion for the Visiting Moms program, and how much fulfillment, meaning, and pleasure she got from it. She had never seen her mother get such deep, intrinsic satisfaction from anything else in her life, other than from her own children. She said that as much as her mother loves to babysit for her grandchildren, she will not even contemplate babysitting if it will interfere with her Visiting Moms supervision group.

The last person was my co-presenter, the director of an organization that funds one of our CERS programs. She spoke about Peggy Kaufman and referred to her as a "thought leader in the industry." She described our work as "outstanding" and was proud to be connected to us on both a professional level and on a personal one. When a family member needed help a couple of years ago, she told me that Peggy was her first and only call in order to help fix the problem.

These three completely different people had been touched by JF&CS enough to tell me that their lives had been changed for the better – and it made me feel so proud of our organization and what we do. We say that “we improve people’s lives,” but that applies to more than just our clients. We also create meaningful and motivational opportunities for our many compassionate volunteers – improving their lives, as well. We address situations in their entirety, so that not only does the client’s life improve, but also the lives of his or her family members. In addressing the whole situation, we remember that each and every one of us has a purpose, from the client to the volunteer to the client’s family members. Our mission has stayed the same for 150 years: we help vulnerable populations. But from what I hear, we really help so much more.

Rimma ZelfandRimma Zelfand is the CEO of Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Her first involvement with JF&CS began with her joining the JF&CS Board of Directors and the Strategic Planning Committee in 2003. In 2004 Rimma joined JF&CS as Director of Senior Services. She came to her role with 15 years of a very successful track record in leading and managing home care, home health, disease management, and elder care programs. Under Rimma’s leadership Senior Services grew and gained recognition. Her accomplishments included: launching the first NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) project in Massachusetts, creating the Parkinson’s Family Support Program, and establishing the Geriatric Institute. From 2008 – 2011, Rimma served as the Senior Vice President for Programs.

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August 5, 2014

Posted by Melissa Demir

path in the woodsAt the AAIDD (American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) annual conference in Orlando, Florida this past June, I met a pastor who began his career in an institution, was part of the de-institutionalization movement, and now provides religious services in inclusive community settings. I listened to a woman with Down syndrome share her story of self-advocacy to achieve a legal status of supported decision making rather than as a ward with a guardian. Social workers from across the country gathered to discuss the importance of using an ‘ecological’ approach, which involves considering social and environmental factors that impact a person, to empower individuals with disabilities to set and achieve meaningful goals.

Speaking with colleagues and attending presentations about mental health services for people with I/DD (Intellectual and Development Disabilities) was very informative. I was struck by the continuing distinction and ‘siloing’ of disability services and mental health treatment. Emerging research demonstrates the importance of weaving these services together, and I have observed in my clinical work at JF&CS the positive outcomes that can occur when services are provided in an integrated model. Ultimately, societal attitudes, policy, and resources are what impact the delivery of these services. It is my hope that as a community, we can continue to advocate in our day-to-day conversations for the integration of these services. People with disabilities and mental health concerns, loved ones of people with disabilities, and practitioners will all play a role in transforming the industry on a larger scale.I am grateful for the stories that my clients, friends, colleagues, and others have shared with me about what it means to actually feel included. A sense of belonging and contribution is something we all seek and have a right to be able to experience in meaningful ways.

Melissa DemirMelissa Demir is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker providing counseling to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) at the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Mental Health Clinic. Melissa also serves as the Interventionist for Project TEAM, a NIDRR-funded study run by Dr. Kramer at Boston University. In this role, she co-leads a self-advocacy group for teens and young adults with disabilities in accordance with research protocol. In 2013, Melissa completed a one-year LEND (Leadership and Education in Neuro-Developmental Disabilities) fellowship with Boston Children’s Hospital. Melissa also has former direct care and managerial experience supporting individuals who have I/DD.

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