Posted by Jamie Grossman

Shoulder to ShoulderI grew up outside of Philadelphia in a typical suburban neighborhood, connected to the kids in my town and my Temple community. My mother was a longtime volunteer with Jewish Family Service of Philadelphia. I learned early about the value of reaching into the community to offer support to individuals and families in need of financial, spiritual, or emotional guidance. Fourteen years ago, when I was asked to join the Board of Directors at JF&CS of Greater Boston, I jumped at the chance. I worked on committees, helped fundraise, and became a lifetime supporter of the invaluable work being done every day at JF&CS. What I did not know was that there was an incredible community of military families who JF&CS had yet to reach out to.

I have been living in Boston for more than 30 years now and until I met my partner, Bob, almost four years ago, I had never spent any time with or known anyone in the military. As we got to know one another, I began to learn about life as a military family and the toll it can take on relationships with spouses and children. With Bob I became involved with military support programs in the area. The more exposure I had to the military community, the more I thought about JF&CS and the services we provide. I decided to bridge the gap between JF&CS and the military community by creating JF&CS Shoulder to Shoulder.

The Shoulder to Shoulder program is a network of military and military-connected volunteers who understand the emotional struggles that accompany deployment and reintegration by our troops. With the absence of a large military base in Greater Boston, we want our military families to know that we are here for them and that we care. Trained and supervised volunteers will visit the homes of military families weekly and provide them with new skills and resources to strengthen the family. Our volunteers bring their unique perspective as members of the military community who understand the pressures of life as a military family. Our goal is to provide non-judgmental, empathetic support to these families, letting them know that they are not alone and that we understand the particular challenges that face our incredibly strong military families.

Jamie GrossmanJamie Grossman is the proud mother of three beautiful daughters. A board member for 14 years, she is Clerk of the JF&CS Board, served on the Executive Committee, chaired the Hunger and Nutrition Committee, the Annual Campaign, and the Benefit. She is now serving as Special Advisor to the newly created JF&CS program Shoulder to Shoulder and was the recipient of the JF&CS Family Tzedakah Award. Currently Jamie is an overseer at the Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, a member of the Red, White & Blue Alliance of the Home Base Program, member of the executive committee of Silent Springs, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Beyond Boston Women's Executive Council. She is also working with PowerHouse Assets as a Community Advocate. This year marked her fourth year riding in the Pan Mass Challenge.