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JFS Perspectives

News, stories, events, and ideas from Jewish Family Service of Colorado.

JFS Para-chaplain Program is Changing and Needs You!

Friday, February 27, 2015

“They may not remember what you said, they may not remember what you did, but they WILL remember how you made them feel.”



Many Jewish seniors in the Denver Metro area are living in non-Jewish assisted living facilities and seek connections to the Jewish community. Many of the residents are younger seniors who may want to participate in a discussion group facilitated by a para-chaplain, focusing on current events, Jewish holidays, or the situation in Israel. They may also want to share the Sabbath informally with a small group of other Jewish residents.

That’s where you come in! We need adults—of all ages—to join our para-chaplain training program. Because the senior population and types of residences are changing, we are reinvigorating this program to fully meet the community’s needs.



Following in the footsteps of our current para-chaplains, you will visit senior Jewish adults in non-Jewish facilities or in their own homes. You may have the opportunity to facilitate discussion groups, lead Shabbat and holiday services, or simply sit and visit with a Jewish resident who wants companionship. As a trained para-chaplain, you can participate in this meaningful volunteer opportunity by engaging Jewish residents in a spiritual way, as well as sharing stories, ideas, and bits of wisdom.

A trainer of para-chaplains once said, “They may not remember what you said, they may not remember what you did, but they WILL remember how you made them feel.” Our current para-chaplains have expressed similar sentiments. One dedicated volunteer says, “I am so blessed to be a part of these people’s lives. If you are looking for a great way to connect with people who really want you to be a part of their lives, then I encourage you to train for the para-chaplain program. It will truly change your life.”



And it’s not just about what you’re doing for others; you will get a lot out of this experience, too. A longtime para-chaplain relates, “I meet the most marvelous people. They share their lives with me, inform me about things I know little about, and give me a perspective on life that I haven’t come across before. What an honor to be a part of this!”

The next training will be held at JFS on April 29, May 6, and May 13 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. We encourage you to join us! To be a para-chaplain, you must be Jewish, but do not need an extensive Jewish education. Apply for the training by March 20. The application process includes an interview. If you have further questions, please contact Beth Lippa at 720.248.4599.

-Alaina Green, JFS Marketing Department

Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month Programs Throughout Denver in February

Friday, January 30, 2015

 

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month and organizations throughout the community have a full lineup of programming to celebrate! Jewish Disabilities Advocates, a program of Jewish Family Service formerly known as Jewish Disabilities Network, is supporting the following Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month activities:


Magical Mitzvah Tour
Sunday, February 1, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Congregation B'nai Havurah, 6445 E. Ohio Ave., Denver

FREE!
Here's your chance to make a difference in the lives of others by participating in projects that were created for people of all abilities. During the Magical Mitzvah Tour, Jewish Disabilities Advocates will be teaming up with the agency Toys for God’s Kids assembling wooden toy cars that will be distributed to children here and abroad.

Chesed Without Boundaries"Chesed Without Boundaries"—An Inclusive Kabbalat Shabbat Service
Friday, February 6, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
BMH-BJ-The Denver Synagogue, 560 S. Monaco Parkway, Denver

FREE!
The community is invited to come together to share a warm and meaningful musical Kabbalat Shabbat service that includes singing and spirit. Led by Cantor Joel Lichterman, we’ll begin before Shabbat comes in with musical instruments and songs. We will then greet the Shabbat bride with the L'cha Dodi prayer and officially welcome the Shabbat by lighting and blessing the Shabbat candles. After the service, we will all bless the wine (grape juice) and challah together. Our goal is to share this special service in different synagogues/temples throughout the year.

Tu B'Shvat Seder

Sunday, February 8, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Congregation Rodef Shalom, 450 S. Kearney Street, Denver

Cost: $8 at the door
Similar to Arbor Day, this holiday is an important part of our Jewish calendar that is celebrated on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Sh'vat. All are welcome to attend this special seder ceremony that has been created to enhance the celebration. It is a custom to plant parsley seeds that will grow and be part of the upcoming Passover table. Jewish Disabilities Advocates will facilitate the planting activity.

Rick RechtAn Evening with Rick Recht
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
Temple Micah, 5209 Montview Blvd., Denver

Tickets: $5 per person/$10 per family for Micah members; $10 per person/$15 per family for nonmembers. Available at www.micahdenver.org
Rick Recht is one of the most celebrated Jewish artists of our time playing family concerts throughout the United States and abroad. Recht is widely recognized as a pioneer of the Jewish rock music genre, elevating the medium of Jewish music as a powerful and effective tool for developing Jewish pride and identity. Rick has 10 top selling albums, including his latest hit album, Halleluyah, released in 2013.

Michael ApplebaumYachad Disability Sensitivity Training
Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

Sunday, February 22, 2015, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA), 3600 S. Ivanhoe Street, Denver

Facilitator: Michael Applebaum, Yachad
FREE!
Members of YACHAD (The National Jewish Council for Disabilities) will facilitate this workshop that sensitizes participants to the needs of peers with disabilities. This workshop is open to teachers, camp staff, parents, and high school students who are working with or hope to work in programs that include people with disabilities.

For more information about any of these events, please contact Lynn Rubenstein, 303.623.0251, ext. 204.

Handling Heartbreak

Friday, January 23, 2015
By Marcia Jo Vaziri, MA, LPC, Jewish Family Service Mental Health Specialists therapist



The ending of a love relationship can be devastating. You feel blindsided, rejected, and abandoned. “I’ve been dumped.” “How could they do this to me?” “I don't deserve this.” Your emotions are all over the place. You can’t drive without crying or having a panic attack. You fear you might be having a mental breakdown. How can this be so painful?

Heartbreak is universal. The response is visceral. We physically feel pain in our chest and our heart actually hurts. It can be hard to breathe or even remain standing. We can’t eat or sleep. Our body is going into a grief response.

As humans, we are meant to attach from the moment we are born. When we find someone to love, we attach to them. We connect with a strong bond. When someone breaks that bond, we’re lost. Our world is off its axis for a while. We’re not even sure what to do first. Some immediately begin to reach out to friends and family for support, as they have a sense that they can't go it alone. Others are embarrassed, ashamed, and don’t want to tell anyone what’s happened for fear they’ll be judged. These people sit alone with their pain and sadness, often leading to depression. Though not always, men often have a harder time seeking support during this time and they are more likely to experience depression.

Often you can only talk about this for so long to friends before they lose compassion and patience. They advise you to get over it and start saying things like “At least you weren’t married” or “You broke up, big deal. People break up. Get over it and move on.” “Lucky you found out now what kind of person he/she was.” Or “There’s plenty of fish in the sea.” You’re thinking, but I want that fish, my fish. You can’t let go.

How do you let go? Here are some things you can do:
  • Remember that you cannot control another person. Resist the urge to idealize and perseverate on the past.
  • Get those endorphins going; it’s the body’s natural painkiller. Exercise, volunteer, or find a passion.
  • Lean on your support system.
  • Examine your own part in the relationship and identify lessons learned. Write about the experience in a journal, poem, or book.
If you feel stuck and unable to move forward with your life, you may want to join a support group or begin individual therapy with a JFS therapist who can help you navigate those deep, resistant waters of letting go.

I work with many people who’ve experienced the loss of a love relationship, and I can say that there is hope. Your heart will indeed heal and ideally you will muster enough strength to take the risk of opening your heart again.

Marcia Jo VaziriMarcia Jo Vaziri, a licensed professional therapist with 30 years of psychological experience providing therapy to adults and couples, has worked with JFS since 1995. Her specialty areas include anxiety disorders and depression, trauma, grief counseling, marital therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Marcia also facilitates Strength Through Sharing, a support and educational group for those dealing with a mentally ill family member.

Nearly 500 People Receive Gifts Through Bright Holidays!

Friday, January 09, 2015
Last month, many generous individuals, organizations, and corporations collected holiday gifts for JFS clients. Through our Bright Holidays program, more than 300 individuals received hand-picked gifts such as clothing, toys, electronics, sports equipment, and other items on their wish lists. The SHALOM Denver TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program received toys for 32 children and an additional 145 children picked out toys when they visited the Weinberg Food Pantry. Altogether, nearly 500 people received Bright Holidays gifts!

The gifts came from numerous individuals and family groups plus businesses and organizations including:
  • Amstar
  • Holland & Hart Foundation
  • Lockheed Martin’s Operation Santa Claus
  • MassMutual Colorado
  • SolveIT
  • Temple Emanuel Sisterhood 
  • Walgreens
  • Westin Tabor Center

There are so many special stories that come out of the Bright Holidays program and we wish we could share them all! Below are a few highlights/people we want to be sure to thank this year:

Every year, Cedra Goldman pulls her community and friends together to adopt at least five families of all sizes. This year, her group adopted five families consisting of 22 individuals and she brought all the gifts to JFS herself. In addition, she always donates 10-25 turkeys every year for Thanksgiving, which is always needed and greatly appreciated.

Holland & Hart Bronx gift

The Holland & Hart Foundation has participated for many years and adopted 50 individuals this year. They always go above and beyond in providing very thoughtful and generous gifts. One example this year was an attorney who adopted a senior with Alzheimer's disease who is from the Bronx, NY. The client asked for something to help him remember his days in New York and rather than simply purchasing a poster or book, the attorney made a beautiful picture book and framed poster of pictures from the Bronx!

Through its Operation Santa Claus program, Lockheed Martin provided boxes of food and toys for 59 individuals.

Gifts collected at Temple Emanuel

Temple Emanuel Sisterhood
adopted 20 individuals. As part of its annual tradition, the congregation also collected toys from the religious school students. This year's toy drive resulted in at least three big bins of toys that went to clients in various JFS programs such as the Weinberg Food Pantry and SHALOM Denver.

Thank you to our partners at Walgreens for holding a toy drive at five stores in our community. The stores donated more than 10 boxes of toys, most of which were distributed in the food pantry.

A big thank you to Shelley Tait, Family Safety Net administrative assistant, for all her hard work and dedication organizing the collection and distribution of the gifts again this year. Rather than randomly pairing clients with donors, she takes great care to make the best matches possible to create a meaningful experience for all. Shelley reads all of the client information provided by our case managers and therapists. As she learns about the various situations of refugee families, seniors, and others whom we help, she is inevitably brought to tears. She says, "I really enjoy working with the donors. They are always so eager to help and I love hearing and seeing how much thought and consideration goes into the gifts. It's really amazing. It's also then wonderful hearing stories from the employees who deliver the gifts."

Andrea Stillman and Shelley Tait

Thank you to Andrea Stillman for volunteering for Bright Holidays the last four years! Shelley says, "Andrea is an awesome volunteer to have. Without her I would never be able to get the gifts delivered to the caseworkers in time. A lot of times donors want to adopt, but don't have time to shop, so Andrea will buy the gifts on their behalf. She usually ends up shopping for $1,000 to $2,000 worth of gifts."

Thank you to everyone who adopted a family and helped make their holidays brighter! Happy New Year from all of us at JFS.

-Alaina Green, JFS Marketing Department

2014 Year in Review

Friday, December 26, 2014
Happy New Year 2015

As we approach a new year, we would like to reflect on 2014. Enjoy this look back on some of our blog posts from the past year:

January: Make the Super Bowl a Super Mitzvah
When the Denver Broncos were in the Super Bowl, Rabbi Joe Black, senior rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Denver, and his colleague in Seattle, Rabbi Danny Weiner of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, each bet $100 that their team will win the Super Bowl on Sunday. They extended the challenge so that Broncos and Seahawks fans could help turn the Super Bowl into a Super Mitzvah. Whichever team won, that city's JFS would receive all the money raised. Unfortunately, Seattle won, but the community still helped raise money for a good cause and Seattle JFS made a donation to us!

February: Happy 35th Anniversary, Arnie Kover!
JFS Disability and Employment Services director Arnie Kover celebrated his 35th anniversary with the agency! Arnie is retiring December 31, 2014 - just shy of his 36th anniversary. Look for an upcoming blog post about his retirement. In his role, Arnie oversaw the operations of SHALOM Denver, the JFS Group Home, Jewish Disabilities Network, and other programs in the disability and employment services division.

March: Friendly Visitor Volunteers Gain Insight and Advice 
JFS hosted its third annual Lunch ‘n’ Learn program for about 20 Friendly Visitor volunteers and Senior Solutions Center care managers. While everyone enjoyed a catered lunch, Beth Lippa and Nancy Benyamin from the JFS volunteer department thanked the volunteers for their important work visiting isolated seniors in the community.

Easter/Passover Denver Community Food Drive
Jewish Family Service partnered with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on an Easter/Passover Denver Community Food Drive to benefit the JFS Weinberg Food Pantry. Many area churches, synagogues, and businesses collected food for this cause. We are planning another food drive this spring—stay tuned for details!

April: JFS Celebrates Volunteers in April—and Every Day
This post was the first of many by guest blogger Audrey Friedman Marcus who wrote about her own volunteer experiences, interviewed some of our other volunteers, and thanked the agency's 836 dedicated volunteers.

May: JFS Executive Luncheon Raises $422,000!
Legend in life Archie Manning entertained and inspired a sold-out crowd of 810 business and professional leaders attending Jewish Family Service’s 10th annual JFS Executive Luncheon held on April 30 at the Seawell Grand Ballroom. In total, the event raised more than $422,000 to support the programs of Jewish Family Service, which exceeded fundraising goals.

Lunchbox Express Feeds Colorado Children Throughout the Summer
Volunteers jumped in little yellow school buses to deliver free lunches to children at six locations in Aurora through Lunchbox Express, a newly incorporated program of the JFS Family Safety Net program. In our first four days, we served 766 meals! Allen and Hannah Levy started Lunchbox Express in 2011 as a community volunteer-driven organization dedicated to feeding hungry Colorado kids when school is out and children don’t have access to free or reduced-fee lunches in their schools. JFS acquired the program this spring.

June: Celebrate JFS Event Celebrates Another Successful Year!
More than 200 people gathered at Palazzo Verdi near Fiddler’s Green for Celebrate JFS, our annual meeting and celebration of volunteers, staff, board, and supporters. Guests sampled sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and cocktails catered by Mangia Bevi while mingling and enjoying the art in the adjacent Madden Museum before the program.

July: Bikur Cholim Para-Chaplains: Performing a Mitzvah Every Week
In another guest blog post by Audrey Friedman Marcus, she explains the Bikur Cholim Para-chaplain program to help us recruit new volunteers for the para-chaplain training in August. There are great examples of the important roles these volunteers play in the lives of isolated seniors in non-Jewish nursing homes, assisted living facilities, personal residences, hospitals, and prisons.

August: our blog took a summer vacation this month!

September: What Is a Crop Drop?
Alison Joucovsky, Colorado Senior Connections program coordinator wrote about the Colorado Senior Connections Wheat Ridge program's first ever Crop Drop event. Local gardeners were invited to “drop” their surplus of garden veggies and senior citizens were invited to pick up the gorgeous home-grown produce. Wheat Ridge residents taught classes during the event, including Seed Starting and a cooking class.

October: Former JFS Staff Member on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss!
While this post about our former payroll specialist, Jackie Rodriguez, participating in the ABC show Extreme Weight Loss has nothing to do with the work we do in the community, it got a lot of attention and shares on social media. We are all so excited for Jackie as she goes through this journey and can't wait to see her transformation when her episode airs in summer 2015!

Beyond the Lemonade Stand: Raising Charitable Kids
This was another popular post by Audrey Friedman Marcus that also appeared in our print newsletter and on several other blogs. The article outlines many ways parents can raise charitable children with tangible ideas for different ages. It inspired a lot of families—including my own—to do holiday mitzvah projects for JFS.

November: Families Geared Up for Winter at JFS Resource Fair
49 households came to Jewish Family Service (JFS) for our second annual “Gear up for Winter” resource fair on November 14. There were many expressions of thanks from people who were grateful to sign up for several programs at once! Some people came specifically for one service or another, but then accessed other resources as well. The entire Family Safety Net staff worked to help people navigate through all of the services and to keep things running smoothly.

December: Giving Thanks for You
Thanks to the generosity of many organizations and individual donors, 672 individuals from 294 households who otherwise would not have had a Thanksgiving meal, received a complete feast consisting of a turkey and all of the holiday fixings from the Jewish Family Service of Colorado Weinberg Food Pantry last week! We also received more than $10,000 to the Dorinda Levy Thanksgiving Fund which financed the fixings!

JFS Raised Record Amount at Real Hope 2014
More than 550 people hit the red carpet at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to pay tribute to Sheila Bugdanowitz and Sheryl Goodman at our fundraising event, Real Hope. The 19th annual gala was the highest-grossing Real Hope fundraiser in JFS history, raising a record $566,000!

Thank you for being part of another great year at JFS. We wish you a very healthy, happy New Year!

-Alaina Green, JFS Marketing Department

JFS Raised Record Amount at Real Hope 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014
Honorees Sheryl Goodman and Sheila Bugdanowitz

More than 550 people hit the red carpet at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to pay tribute to Sheila Bugdanowitz and Sheryl Goodman at Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Colorado's fundraising event, Real Hope. The 19th annual gala was the highest-grossing Real Hope fundraiser in JFS history, raising a record $566,000!

One of the Epicurean food stations

Everyone enjoyed the fabulous party, complete with cocktails, decadent food stations, and passed hors d’oeuvres catered by Epicurean. A surprise highlight during the cocktail reception by Frequent Flyer Productions included stilt walk dancers, silk rope aerialists, and an object manipulator.

Aerialist from Frequent Flyer Productions

The honorees, Sheila and Sheryl, shared their personal, heartfelt connections to JFS after receiving their awards. Both women received standing ovations from the packed room. JFS Senior Solutions client and Holocaust survivor Eddie Fiss told his touching story of how JFS helped him in the 1950s when he moved to this country and continues to help him today.

MIX a capella group performs

At the end of the evening, guests were treated to an amazing live performance by state champion a capella group MIX, from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Co-chairs Barry Curtiss-Lusher, Debra Herz, Irit Waldbaum, and Carol Sobel

Thanks to the hard work of our Real Hope co-chairs Barry Curtiss-Lusher, Debra Herz, Arlene Hirschfeld, Don Kortz, Dean Prina, M.D., Carol Sobel, and Irit Waldbaum, the Real Hope committee, and our honorees for helping us exceed our fundraising goals! Thank you to Elaine and Max Appel for providing the matching gift opportunity. A special thank-you to all the wonderful community-minded individuals, organizations, and corporations that supported the agency through this event. Check out the event sponsors!

View more photos...

Giving Thanks for You

Friday, December 05, 2014

Volunteer from Mile Chai Y at the HEA distributes turkeys

Thanks to the generosity of many organizations and individual donors, 672 individuals from 294 households who otherwise would not have had a Thanksgiving meal, received a complete feast consisting of a turkey and all of the holiday fixings from the Jewish Family Service of Colorado Weinberg Food Pantry last week! We also received more than $10,000 to the Dorinda Levy Thanksgiving Fund which financed the fixings!


Picking up a large donation from the Grand Hyatt Denver

Special thanks to The Denver Rescue Mission, Albertsons (Lowry and Smoky Hill), the Grand Hyatt, and Temple Sinai Preschool for providing large food donations.


Cari and Justin Levy

Thank you to dedicated volunteers who helped us pack boxes and distribute food: Justin and Cari Levy (who established the Dorinda Levy Thanksgiving Fund) and several of their friends and family members, Jill Miller (with her group), Rabbi Steven Kaye, Mindy Miller, and groups from Argosy University and Mile Chai Y from the Hebrew Educational Alliance (HEA).


Volunteers from Argosy University distributing Thanksgiving food

It is so wonderful that so many people think of others who need some extra help at this time of year—we are so thankful for you!

-Alaina Green, JFS Marketing Department

Mourning the Loss of Jill Friedman Fixler

Monday, December 01, 2014
Guest blog post by Nancy Benyamin, JFS director of volunteer services

Jill Friedman Fixler

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, volunteer professionals around the world lost a powerful voice and strong advocate. Jill Friedman Fixler, a Denver native, lost her battle with cancer surrounded by her loving family. Jill’s close family will undoubtedly mourn the profound loss that comes from losing a mother, a wife, and a daughter. In addition to her family, Jill’s loss will be mourned by literally tens of thousands of followers of her progressive thoughts and forward thinking in the volunteer engagement field.

While I had known Jill for years, I was fortunate to run into her not long after I began working at Jewish Family Service of Colorado as the volunteer coordinator in 2006. Jill would later tell me that she saw fear in my eyes as we began talking about my new role at the organization. Jill generously offered to take me under her wing and teach me the ins and outs of engaging volunteers within the non-profit context. It wasn’t as if Jill had lots of free time. She had started her own consulting firm, JFFixler Group to help nonprofits across the country engage volunteers to enhance the resources needed to “serve more clients, deliver more programs, strengthen its staff and spread its message more widely.” Jill kindly offered to meet with me on a monthly basis to help me navigate the sometimes choppy waters of working with staff and volunteers.

We met for the next three years, as student and teacher. I know as the student that I was like a sponge, trying to absorb all that I could from my willing teacher. She helped me gain the self-confidence necessary to lead more than 900 volunteers. She also taught me the skills needed to implement a volunteer engagement program that would help my coworkers recognize and embrace volunteers and realize that they are at the core of a healthy organization. Jill imparted to me that volunteers deserve a strong and reasoned voice to advocate on their behalf and it takes leadership to be that voice.

The lessons from this teacher changed my life, and also impacted the lives of many other volunteer professionals. As I come into contact with volunteer professionals across the country, they often look at me with admiration in their eyes when I tell them that I worked with Jill (or more accurately, Jill worked with me) during those three years. Jill’s efforts and dedication redefined the way we see the role of volunteers in organizations. Like ripples in a pond, the thoughts and ideas of Jill Friedman Fixler will continue to extend into our lives and will be felt for years to come.

Families Geared Up for Winter at JFS Resource Fair

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

 

49 households came to Jewish Family Service (JFS) for our second annual “Gear up for Winter” resource fair on November 14. There were many expressions of thanks from people who were grateful to sign up for several programs at once! Some people came specifically for one service or another, but then accessed other resources as well. The entire Family Safety Net staff worked to help people navigate through all of the services and to keep things running smoothly.



Below is a break-down of the services people received:
  • About 29 new households enrolled in the Weinberg Food Pantry.
  • 22 households saw Hunger Free Colorado and Denver Human Services to sign up for benefits.
  • About 10 households met with our employment services case managers.
  • 13 eligible households talked with representatives from Comcast about their discounted Internet services for school-aged children and 2 lucky households won laptops and a year's worth of free Internet!
  • 32 people got food for 60 pets from the Colorado Pet Pantry
  • Dozens of people watched a cooking demonstration and sampled pumpkin pancakes with cranberry syrup by Cooking Matters.
  • 36 people received vouchers for free flu shots from Walgreen’s.
Thank you to all of the participating partners for providing the services and making this a successful resource fair!

-Alaina Green, JFS Marketing Department

Relieving Hunger One Bag at a Time

Friday, November 14, 2014
Guest Blog Post by Audrey Friedman Marcus

In my November article, “Beyond the Lemonade Stand: Raising Charitable Children,” I briefly mentioned a project undertaken by the Resnik family of Denver—putting together meal bags with the ingredients for tuna casseroles for the Weinberg Food Pantry of Jewish Family Service. Ever since, I’ve thought a lot about the enthusiasm, pleasure, and sense of worth this family experienced as they worked together to help others.



In a recent follow-up conversation with Jamie Resnik, a freelance writer, I learned that these positive feelings still remain months after the completion of the family project in June. When asked about it, six-year-old Max Resnik, was quick to respond, “It made my heart happy to know that I am helping someone eat, because if you don’t eat, you can’t live.” And Julia Resnik, just four years old, still remembers the fun she had putting the bags of food together.

Jamie and her husband, Andrew, model Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) in other ways as well. They make an effort to have dinner together most nights, and the conversation often revolves around the importance of doing nice things for others. Max and Julia are aware of and appreciate Jamie’s volunteer work at their school where she’s currently co-chairing the biggest fundraiser of the year. She also carries high protein meals in her car to hand out to homeless people in need. Just as important as the act, she and Andrew believe, is the discussion that takes place afterward. Max and Julia always ask a lot of good questions: Where do people go at night? Where do they get a meal? Why are they not working?

These two youngsters have learned firsthand how blessed their family is, and the value of helping others who are not as fortunate. Other big “takeaways” from the tuna casserole project, says Jamie, include quality family time and the gratification that comes from helping others.

Based on her belief in the importance of consistency, the Resniks plan to do another family project for the Weinberg Food Pantry before the end of the year. During the upcoming holidays. Jewish Family Service offers many opportunities for families, including their program called Bright Holidays, through which parents and children can “adopt” a family at holiday time, providing meals and gifts. For information on all the ways you can join the Resniks in helping JFS help others, go to www.jewishfamilyservice.org/volunteer.

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