Posted by Rimma Zelfand

When people ask me what JF&CS is all about, it's tempting to talk about the many ways we're there for people in times of need. But a mere inventory of our services will never capture what we're ultimately aiming to achieve. Although our programs are designed to help people solve the immediate problems that bring them to our door, we set our sights much higher than that. Our aim, in all that we do, is to help people build a strong foundation that supports resilience and well-being across the lifespan.

Constructing a foundation for resilience and wellbeing means more than responding to a crisis. It also means connecting people with a caring community, helping them access essential resources, building life skills, and addressing the needs of the whole person.

By fostering resilience and well-being, JF&CS creates lasting change and, whenever possible, improves the trajectory of participants' lives. For Sarah* and her family, the JF&CS approach is making all the difference.

Sarah – one of our Project NESST® moms in recovery from substance use – was connected to JF&CS when her three children were removed from her home. Understanding the difficulty of balancing the challenges of parenting and of recovery from a substance use disorder, Project NESST stepped in to make sure Sarah received the support she needed.

Once connected with Project NESST, Sarah was never really alone. Supporting her through recovery and to prepare for life after recovery, Project NESST helped her set goals and develop skills so that she was able to reunite with her children. Although she was overjoyed at the prospect, she was distressed that she couldn't afford beds for them. Thanks to our partnership with the Boston Bullpen Project and the financial assistance they provided, Sarah was able to purchase the beds, and her children are now experiencing the security of sleeping at home. The combination of material help from the Boston Bullpen Project and therapeutic support from Project NESST are helping this family mend after suffering the trauma of separation.

Here at JF&CS, our volunteers, donors, and community partners come together every day to create a world where we can all experience increased resilience and well-being. I am profoundly grateful to our remarkable staff, our board members, and our funders who walk through our doors daily with a passion to improve people's lives.
Rimma Zelfand is the CEO of Jewish Family & Children's Service. Her first involvementwith 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.

*Name changed to protect privacy.