JF&CS News Summer 2017
Posted by Rimma Zelfnad

Rimma ZelfandEarlier this spring, JF&CS celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson's Family Support program. At our event, Celebrating the Art of Resilience, more than 50 of our Parkinson's Dance and Tremble Clefs group participants gave a moving and brilliant performance of songs and routines they have been practicing over the past year. These groups of people affected by Parkinson's disease have truly become a community. I am always struck by the joy in their faces when they are dancing or singing and I am completely in awe of their commitment to this program.

Our Parkinson's Dance class meets on Wednesday mornings. One Wednesday this past winter as I drove to work in the afterglow of a snow storm, I imagined that the class would be cancelled. To my surprise, the parking lot was packed. When I entered the building, one of our participants had just arrived. I remarked to her that I was surprised to see her. She said, "JF&CS is my lifeline – I look forward to this all week." Those words, "JF&CS is my lifeline," have stayed with me. I remember going into the elevator with chills, realizing the impact that our programs have.

JF&CS is a lifeline to a family with a child on the autism spectrum. When they receive in-home support from Children's Behavioral Health Services, our clinicians strengthen the entire family by helping a child learn how to communicate effectively, solve problems, self-regulate, and manage emotions.

JF&CS is a lifeline to a family of a premature baby. Skilled clinicians from the Center for Early Relationship Support® help new parents as they make the scary transition from NICU to home by providing direct support services, educational materials, and connections to community resources and to other preemie parents.

JF&CS is a lifeline to a family facing financial stress. Just one call to the Center for Basic Needs Assistance can help a family with emergency fuel assistance and heat in the winter, put food on their table, keep a roof over their heads, and provide access to additional benefits, giving them the tools they need to make changes, become self-sufficient, and meet their basic needs independently.

JF&CS is a lifeline to an adult with disabilities seeking to live a meaningful and independent life. Through the CHAI Works program, we provide training to help adults with disabilities lead productive and integrated lives in the community by providing employment and volunteer opportunities, recreational activities, and social enrichment events.

We cannot do this work without our loyal volunteers and supporters. Your selfless generosity of time and money creates these lifelines.

I hope that you will enjoy the articles in this summer's e-newsletter and be inspired by them. Our more than 40 programs are here for you, your friends, and neighbors. In times of crisis or need, please remember to make JF&CS your first phone call. We are the lifeline for our community.

View all articles from the JF&CS News Summer 2017 edition.