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 came to JF&CS through a not very traditional route. I was in the financial industry for almost 25 years, but increasingly became interested in doing non-profit work. I was working as a board member for my temple and the work on the board really inspired me to do Jewish community work professionally.
What’s exciting is thinking everyday about how we can do better, how we can be better at reaching people who really need us, and reach them in a way that has the greatest impact on them. Not just how many people can we reach, but how can we continue to improve the nutritional value, how can we give them more food, more access. Those challenges are always exciting.
What’s meaningful is working in a place where there are so many good hearted people. Being surrounded by people who really want to help other people is incredibly meaningful to me. My job is really a blessing for me.
Bernice Behar is the Director of Family Table.
I’ve been at JF&CS for a little over eleven years and the Day and Employment Programs for people with disabilities are really my children. I take a special pride in where they are now and where they started. The past summer we had our bi-annual licensing and certification through DDS, the department of developmental services, our state funder. There were a whole bunch of new regulations and standards, but both Day Programs and Residential services got 100%. DDS said that they don’t think they’ve given that out yet since they implemented the new regulations. It’s really exciting to have other people take a look at your work and see it from an outside perspective. Our participants are out in the community leading integrated and meaningful lives. They are out and about doing things that are important to them and not just doing what we think they should be doing, but doing what is important to them. And we live that on a daily basis. To have somebody come in and comment on the fact that the agency does a really good job is great. It’s really exciting to see.
I’ve always enjoyed working with people with disabilities and helping people to really live their lives in whatever way they want to. When I came to Massachusetts, I wanted to find a place that already had the same ideals and values that I hold and the same values for what I wanted to be doing. Here at JF&CS, being able to start from scratch, as opposed to starting from something that wasn’t working, was really exciting. It’s been great to build these programs from the ground up and see the change in the participants, how much pride they have in the things they are doing and the confidence they gain by being part of the program.
Sue Stellick is the Associate Division Director for Day and Employment Services for People with Disabilities.