Welcome to Humans of JF&CS! Periodically, we will be featuring two different staff members to highlight the amazing work they do.
Behind our 40+ programs are compassionate, committed, and dedicated staff who care deeply about our mission and our agency. With this broad range of programs comes a team of staff members with diverse interests, passions, and skills, who all share a deep commitment to improve people’s lives. We hope these staff spotlights give you a taste of the incredible individuals behind our services and a sense of the deep compassion and dedication they bring every day.
I’ve always loved working with older adults and I have a background in the creative arts. I’m an art school drop-out and I never thought I would be lucky enough to be able to bring that piece back into my work. But it’s very relevant, because the creative arts can enhance self-expression and communication for people who have lost some of their memory or other cognitive abilities, but who have a lot to share with the world. I feel that the prevalence of dementia is one of the things that makes people afraid of growing older. By helping to reduce stigma, and helping people who are living with dementia to express themselves and stay involved in their community, we help to decrease the fear of aging in general.
A new program I’m working on is called Dementia Friends Massachusetts. Dementia Friends is an international program that was developed by the Alzheimer’s society in the UK. This particular program is all about raising public awareness and reducing stigma, which is something sorely needed. It’s very exciting to be working with our many close partner organizations to think together on how to roll this out. I really love being able to take ideas from international sources and collaborate with many partners here across Massachusetts. So I feel very fortunate that here at JF&CS there is so much intellectual curiosity and willingness to look at ideas that come from abroad, but that we are also deeply rooted in our local communities so that we can figure out how to make things work here.
Beth Soltzberg is the Director of Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program.
I think the most meaningful part of my work comes from both the work with the staff, which is having the privilege to witness and be part of their growth, and likewise with our families, the ability to witness the brilliance of human resilience and the capacity to thrive, despite the multiple obstacles.
Recently we’ve contacted some of the alumni of our Infant-Parent Training Institute to invite them to adopt scholars to participate in our two year Infant Mental Health Training program. We’ve had several alumnae come forth and make scholarship donations for people of color, professionals of color to participate in the fellowship. We had more applications than we could accept and we are very excited about increasing the diversity of our students and the possibility of being able to bring training in infant mental health back to their communities.
What’s unique and special about JF&CS is the people who work here. And even though, like any other agency, there is turnover, we continue to attract an incredibly high quality of dedicated people. I continue to marvel at the personal touch of the staff here and the quality of the work with clients and families.
Peggy Kaufman is the Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support. She has been at JF&CS for 28 years.