Posted by Rimma Zelfand
Recently, 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 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.