Posted by Jon Federman

gratitudeImagine that you are a new immigrant, a recent arrival to this country, unfamiliar with its customs, ways, and language. You might feel unsure, overwhelmed, even vulnerable. Now imagine that you are also a new parent, maybe a first-time parent, struggling with a newborn in surroundings that are exceedingly unfamiliar to you.

Building on a 150-year-old history of helping new arrivals to this country, JF&CS offers new parents support groups conducted in both Spanish and Portuguese so that even more new moms can find the support they need. The groups provide a safe space in which they can express themselves, find their footing, share their experiences and challenges, and reflect on the obstacles they encounter as new moms.

On October 30, JF&CS partnered with Temple Beth Avodah in Newton to host a party for 26 of these new moms and their families, including children, spouses, siblings, parents, and even grandparents. With Temple Beth Avodah's Becky Oliver and Francie Weinberg serving as "point people" along with JF&CS New Moms Support Group facilitator Jacqueline Caceres, 20 high school students from the Midrasha program of Temple Beth Avodah came together to create a magical afternoon for the families, with music, dancing, snacks, face-painting, bowling, games, and coloring.

One new mom expressed her overwhelming gratitude:

"Thank you for making our little ones very happy with the events that you have organized for them. [The organizers] were so warm and close, playing and having fun with the kids. But especially, I want to thank Jacqueline for being a big support in our lives, always with love and dedication, making our group a great family. She has been a really important part of my life since I came here [to live] in Waltham. She's already a part of my family, we love her so much and all the moms of the group will be forever grateful to her for being an unconditional support for us."

Caceres was thrilled to receive such positive feedback. "I was glad to see so many of our mothers and children were having a great time and enjoying the party," she remarked. "I'm also very thankful for us at JF&CS to be able to have such an amazing impact on the lives of these women and children. [It] pleases me to see [that they] can find a program that allows them to express in their own native language and reflect."

Ava Harder, Manager of JF&CS Volunteer Services, observed first-hand the joy and happiness on the faces of all the moms and families at the event as well as the consideration Jaqueline showed each family. "Jacqueline even stood at the intersection of the driveway and the street waiting for one mom coming in from Boston who had gotten lost. She wanted to make sure she made it to the building. She knew her moms would be nervous and that they might not come in without a little encouragement," said Harder. "Her dedication was unmistakable."

Jon Federman Jon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.