Posted by John Levy

On a miserable, cold, rainy day in November, over 100 people gathered at JF&CS for the inaugural meeting of the JF&CS Board of Advocates. Once we entered the building, the outside weather was replaced with a sunny warmth as past and present leaders of the agency, academic and policy experts, and people new to JF&CS mingled and shared ideas throughout the day. As co-chair of this new group, I was thrilled to be part of this inaugural event.

During my opening remarks I mentioned that even after more than a decade and a half of intensive involvement, JF&CS still continues to capture both my head and my heart.

JF&CS is seductive – in the nicest sense of the word. I contribute my time and effort because I see the kind of work that JF&CS does with its clients as the core of what it means to be a caring person - to help the poor, the old, the disabled, the mentally ill, the bereaved, victims of abuse, children, new parents, and families.

The meeting provided opportunities for participants to learn more about the work of JF&CS, to hear directly from a client, and to talk with those on the front line - our staff. There were also opportunities to learn more about a range of issues effecting human service organizations from outside experts, program staff, and participants. Breakout groups were led by Tiziana Dearing, CEO of Boston Rising, Mike Troiano, president of Holland-Mark Digital, and Brian Rosman, director of research at Health Care for All. Everyone I spoke with reported that he or she had become totally engaged in the presentations and enlightening discussions.

The day closed with an inspiring talk by Bruce Feiler, NY Times best selling author of Council of Dads and Walking the Bible. Even more importantly he is the proud father of young twin girls, and survivor of bone cancer. Bruce gave us much to think about as he shared his story and some of his philosophy of life - everyone dies, but not everyone lives; be a traveler, not a tourist in life; approach life with the wonder and excitement of a young child facing a mud puddle. Many of us went home with his words echoing in our minds and a new perspective on life's challenges.

As I headed home to Florida, I was once again filled with pride that we all are associated with JF&CS, an organization that makes a significant difference in our community.

John Levy is co-chair of the Board of Advocates, a member of the JF&CS Board of Directors, and past president. He serves on the Finance Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. He follows his grandmother, mother, and aunt, who all had significant involvement with JF&CS.