Shared by Deb Shrier

How many years have you been with JF&CS? How did you first get involved?
My first introduction to JF&CS was in 2008 when I was working at Wide Horizons for Children (an adoption agency in Waltham) and collaborated with Carol Sheingold of JF&CS on educational workshops for adoptive parents. I later met Betsy Hochberg, Adoption Resources Director, at a RESOLVE conference when we both had tables displaying our respective agency materials. We had very similar professional interests and began discussing the increasing educational needs for adoptive families after the placement of their child(ren). I joined the staff in 2009 in Mental Health and to assist in Adoption Resources' post adoption efforts.

What is one of your favorite JF&CS memories?
There are so many, really! The most fun would be participating in the Purim Shpiel, the annual JF&CS staff celebration. Not only was it fun, but I really loved getting to know a variety of colleagues throughout the agency. The most memorable is the day I saw "The Ben Schulman Center" on the front door of this building (since my dad's name was also Ben Schulman). The most meaningful is my work on post adoption search and reunion cases.

I've got one day in Central MA. Where should I eat? What should I visit? Anything that should not be missed?
Start your day early with brunch at BirchTree Breads on Green Street. In an old renovated mill, this busy spot is a fabulous stop to enjoy delicious homemade breads, baked goods, salads/soups/sandwiches. They also offer live music on the weekends. Next door is Crompton Collective, a funky retail shop that boasts all sorts of vintage and handmade items. They have a small farmer's market all year long on Saturdays with great local vendors.

If the weather is nice, take a drive to Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in West Boylston where you will find beautiful walking trails with a wide variety of flowers and trees. It's a great place if you are a gardener or enjoy taking photos. In the winter, Winter Re-imagined is Tower Hill's beautiful light display for the holidays. If you'd rather spend time indoors, be sure to check out the Worcester Art Museum or the Worcester Center for Crafts.

My all-time favorite spot in Worcester for dinner is Bocado Tapas & Wine Bar on Winter Street. It is best to go with several friends so you can sample a variety of Spanish dishes. If you enjoy theatre, be sure to check out what might be headlining at the beautiful Hanover Theatre. There really isn't a bad seat in the house!

Tell us about a book you recently enjoyed.
I relish listening to audiobooks during my commute and have recently discovered the work of author Thrity Umrigar. The Story Hour is an incredible narrative that centers on a relationship between two characters, Lakshmi, an immigrant Indian woman and Maggie, her African American therapist. The story involves critical exploration around relationships, connections/loss, race and culture – topics that I find quite interesting.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?
"Great people are measured by the lack of distance between themselves and others." Eli Segal, CEO of American Publishing, a small company in Watertown. When I was 24 years old, he offered me a job at APC which took me out of NY and brought me to MA – a move that would change my life forever.