More than 200 friends of JF&CS Services for People with Disabilities and Mental Illness joined together at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston last night for the 2013 CHAI Celebration. We were thrilled to honor Jackie Weinstein with the CHAI Community Leadership Award for her passionate and unparalleled dedication to JF&CS and its programs for people with disabilities and mental illness. We are also extremely grateful to event co-chairs Nancy & Mark Belsky and Ruth & Bill Weinstein for their tireless devotion and leadership to JF&CS. The event raised $295,000 for our programs.
Among the many highlights of the evening were the wonderful speeches by two CHAI residents – Marie Strazzulla and Robbie Smith. Marie and Robbie came to live at the JF&CS Yellow House in Norwood on the same day in 2010. Almost immediately, they became best friends and grew to love each other. Despite their disabilities, both Marie and Robbie are now thriving - working and living independently - with help and support from JF&CS and the CHAI program. The theme of this year's CHAI Celebration was supporting people with disabilities and mental illness through the seasons of life. CHAI programs help children with daily living skills in their own homes. They help young adults like Marie and Robbie live independently in group settings. They help mature adults as their medical and other needs increase with age – in fact, more than one third of CHAI residents are over 50. The CHAI program allows residents to transition through many levels of support throughout the seasons of their lives, from very independent assistance to 24-hour care. CHAI clinicians also partner with numerous other JF&CS programs to provide comprehensive care for the whole person, addressing physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Nancy Belsky once again led a compelling, one-woman fundraising appeal during the event. Guests made pledges to help us purchase a new wheelchair van and to support Jewish life activities such as Shabbat dinners.
While this event happens only once every two years, there are always opportunities to get involved with JF&CS Services for People with Disabilities and Mental Illness. For more information, please contact Susie Allen, Development Specialist.