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HOWARD SITRON President & CEO Jewish Child & Family Services One sure bet in life is that things will change, that our world will evolve in ways both positive and challenging. At Jewish Child & Family Services, we are committed to evolving as well, regularly evaluating our performance and striving for continuous quality improvement. Seeking and employing evidence-informed best practice, providing ongoing professional development and improving our facilities to ensure our service environment is conducive to enhancing well-being and maximizing the potential of those we exist to serve. At the same time, there are things we hope never change. Our bedrock commitment to striving for excellence in all we do. Ensuring that we can provide our services regardless of each individual’s ability to pay. Remaining responsive to the emerging needs in our community. Ironically, response to community need does drive positive change at JCFS. Two recent examples: the creation of Tikvah: The Jewish Chaplaincy Community Initiative and Community Connections, promoting socialization opportunities for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Connecting all of our work is our commitment to community strengthening through educational programming, engaging with our clients in trusting relationships to build skills, and advocating to ensure the community resources are available, responsive and accessible to those in need.

Howard Sitron Chief Executive Officer


3145 W Pratt Blvd. | Chicago, IL 60645


855.275.5237 |


Editorial: Change of Address:


 JCFS Chicago |  JCFSChicago  JCFS Chicago


Defining Moments print edition comes out once a year, but you can get monthly updates, news and events with Defining Moments enews. Sign up is easy! or Paul Karnatz | 773.467.3897 |

Jewish Child & Family Services is a partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community. We embrace diversity. Our commitment to inclusivity is woven throughout our services, programs and welcoming workplace. Licensed by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. Accredited by the Council on Accreditation.


Serious illness and loss often force us to confront big questions such as “Why did this illness happen to me?” or “Why did my loved one have to die so suddenly?” These questions can threaten our spiritual beliefs about ourselves and our world. The Jewish Healing Network and The Lauri S. Bauer Foundation For Sudden Loss’ annual Help, Healing and Hope Conference will feature Rabbi Anne Brener, LCSW, presenting “Navigating The Wilderness of Loss: Reframing The Spiritual Journey of Grief.” Using text, meditation and expressive healing techniques, Rabbi Brener will provide insights into those big questions. As a spiritual leader, psychotherapist and author, Rabbi Brener helps individuals facing serious illness and loss. In addition, she supports faith leaders in establishing healing communities across the world. The 25th anniversary edition of Rabbi Brener’s pivotal book “Mourning and Mitzvah: a Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner’s Path Through Grief to Healing,” crystalizes her thoughts on what brings comfort to those in spiritual pain: “I build upon the affirmation given to mourners on the Temple’s path, expressing hope that they will find Ha Makom Y’nechem, the place of comfort.” Using the Sukkah (a temporary dwelling place) as her framework, she offers five Mekamot (holy places) to stop along the way where mourners can pause in their journeys to come to terms with loss. “Mourners move from the chaos of the wilderness of grief to a literal ‘coming to terms’ with loss as mourners both find their voice and the language to describe their unique experiences of their mourning.”

Rabbi Anne Brener, LCSW

Join us on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 7pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Skokie as we traverse the landscape of loss to find hope and healing. This session is free and open to the community. Register at or by contacting Elizabeth Siegel Cohen, LCSW, FT, Manager of the Jewish Healing Network | 847.745.5404 |

Jewish Healing Network, a program of Jewish Child & Family Services, in collaboration with CJE SeniorLife and the Chicago Board of Rabbis, provides a wide array of programs and services that embrace the comfort of human connection and the spiritual support of Jewish tradition. The mission of the Lauri S. Bauer Foundation For Sudden Loss is to give HELP, HEALING and HOPE to families that have suffered a sudden loss or crisis.

Jewish Healing Network of Chicago

Supporting you in times of illness and loss


Join us at Ravinia for A Striking Event, our annual fundraiser. Janis Ian will be performing in the Martin Theatre at 7pm. Festivities will begin at 5pm in the Ravinia Tent with cocktails, a short program and a dinner buffet. After dinner you can sit back and enjoy the concert on the beautiful Ravinia lawn. Money raised will support the vital programs and services JCFS provides to over 30,000 individuals a year.

WIN FABULOUS PRIZES! Enter the raffle for a chance to win $5,000 Cash, the Ultimate Chicago Sports Package or the Best of Chicago’s Fine Arts Experiences. Event tickets are $150 each and $35 for children. Visit or email for more information.


418 Sheridan Rd, Highland Park, IL 60035



This year’s Irving B. Harris Leadership Award will be given to David Golder, honoring his leadership throughout the community. David, a dedicated philanthropist, advocates on behalf of the Jewish community, currently serving on the JUF/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago board and chairing the Government Affairs Committee for the Domestic Policy & Government Affairs Council of the Jewish Federations of North America. David is active in numerous other organizations including serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and as Past-President of Temple Jeremiah in Northfield.

Joni Crounse Director of the Virginia Frank Child Development Center

Ed Reed Director of Clinical Training



CELEBRATING THE RETIREMENTS OF ED REED AND JONI CROUNSE 70 YEARS OF COMBINED SERVICE! Ed Reed has been a dedicated and well-respected leader in the JCFS counseling program for 40 years. Joni Crounse has been the heart and soul of the Virgina Frank Child Development Center (VFCDC), and a pioneer in early childhood development over the last 30 years. Their deep passion and commitment to helping adults, children and their families reach their full potential has been rewarding and gratifying for them, and highly visible throughout the agency.


Ed: My career began in 1978 as a clinician working for both Response and Jewish Family and Community Service.

Joni: I started working at the Virginia Frank Child Development Center in 1986 as a graduate intern. My placement was in the therapeutic nursery. I loved it! I began working at Jewish Family and Community Service as an Educational Therapist in 1988.


based crisis teams were overwhelmed by the number of hurricanes that season, so asked for our assistance. Because of lack of housing we traveled four hours daily by car to get to and from our assigned sites. Over the course of eight days, we worked 12 hour shifts counseling individuals and families who had lost their housing, jobs and many personal possessions as result of the storms and massive flooding. After returning to Chicago I was struck by the sense of order and routine here that was undisturbed, in contrast to the chaos and destruction we witness in the path of the hurricanes. I came home deeply impacted. Joni: Writing “Connections: A Relationship-Based Phase Model” was particularly gratifying. This was a project that took several years to accomplish. It was a labor of love. Writing a book by committee is no small feat and yet we did it (5 of us) with relative ease. I have loved all of my roles at the agency. What I take with me are so many meaningful relationships with clients and colleagues. It is so hard to measure the worth of this to me in my professional life. I was also privileged to be involved with the Connections Training Institute.

Ed: For the first 20 years of my time with the agency, I worked as a clinician and supervisor, followed by Assistant Director of the Northwest Counseling Office and then Director WHAT WILL YOU MISS ABOUT JCFS? of the Northwest Counseling Office. For the next eight years Ed: I will miss the professionalism of the staff and all the I was the Director of Outpatient Regional Mental Health and the last 12 years with Jewish Child & Family Services as Co- good people who work for the agency. My favorite activities Director of the Community Counseling Program and currently at the agency were supervising clinical staff, training clinical staff and working with clients. I find contributing to peoples’ Director of Clinical Training. professional and personal growth to be very gratifying. Joni: I was an Educational Therapist for nine years, then Joni: My colleagues and our clients. I have loved my career supervisor, assistant director and currently Director of the at VFCDC. The work is inspiring and life changing for our Virginia Frank Child Development Center. I am also a mental clients and it has inspired and changed me. health consultant and have led seminars and socialization groups for the agency. Lots of titles, but always connected to the therapeutic nursery program. Where my heart lies! It was WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT RETIREMENT? such an honor to do that work and to work so intensely with Ed: Being the master of my own time, and expanding many groups of children and their parents. of my current interests, and reviving some other interests that have been dormant due to lack of time. PLEASE SHARE A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE


Ed: As a member of the JCERT crisis team, I was sent to Florida in 2004 to do crisis intervention in an area hit by two separate hurricanes in a three week time span. The Florida-

Joni: I will still be working part-time, but I am looking forward to seeing my grandchildren (and their parents!) in Israel.


In the aftermath of the recent deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, a friend, the mother of a daughter soon to go off to college, bemoaned the unfairness of young people having to take the lead in demanding change around gun violence and mental health. Yes, it is tragic and unacceptable that adults have created a world which is not safe for our children. It has only ever been the voice of youth that changes anything. During the Civil Rights movement, it was teenagers who were trained in and practiced non-violent resistance. It was college students sitting at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensborough, North Carolina in 1960, and it was on college campuses that the social revolution of the 1960s played out.

issues grounded in knowledge of what it’s like to be a teenager today. Our counselors’ role is to help the youth we serve to navigate their path in ways that are safe, healthy and productive, and develop coping strategies that will serve them lifelong. Many of our therapists describe upticks in clients talking about fears and anxieties following events such as the Florida shooting, but also as they witness daily gun violence in their own communities. Our highly-trained staff continues to utilize their skills to assess, support and provide techniques for managing such feelings. JCFS knows that prevention works. We are able to identify and anticipate social concerns, and develop interventions and responses to community needs as they arise.

Jewish Child & Family Services supports children, teens and families through all their challenges in whatever ways they need to become more resilient, stronger and better able to Jewish Child & Family Services lifts up, and celebrates support one another. The JCFS Response Center for Teens young people. As they always have, they will be our way has a unique understanding of adolescent developmental into the future. Content contributor: Sara L. Manewith, AM, Director of Response Center

SO MANY WAYS TO GIVE! | | 773.467.3896


Your personal North Shore Auxiliary Key Card entitles you to a 20% discount on all full-priced purchases at over 200 stores and restaurants throughout Chicagoland from August 11-18, 2018. Get your card with a $75 donation to the North Shore Auxiliary, which has supported JCFS programs since 1919.


Whether it’s a Happy Birthday, In Honor of, Sympathy or all-around Mazel Tov, JCFS has the right Tribute Card for you! Order online, 24 hours a day!


For many of the families served by Jewish Child & Family Services, tangible basic needs are out of financial reach. Through in-kind donations, JCFS fills otherwise unmet needs with NEW toys, clothing and household items. So, when you are off shopping for summer or back to school, pick up an extra backpack, books, supplies or more to give to a child or family in need.


Thinking about selling your car, boat, motorcycle, truck or other vehicle? Donate it to Jewish Child & Family Services instead! Our Vehicle Donation Program converts your car into funds to support our programs and services. Includes free pick-up! Call our dedicated toll-free number, 855.700.JCFS (855.700.5237).

APRIL IS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY MONTH! Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, and recover from injury to regain skills. A child’s primary “job” or “occupation” is to play. Through play, children develop motor coordination, social skills, emotional regulation, as well as learn how to process all of the sensory input in their environment. The Occupational Therapists at JCFS’ Integrated Pediatric Interventions and Therapeutic Day School make sure each child has fun at work! Our OTs evaluate children in four primary areas to determine a delay or difficulty in skills: cognitive or thinking processes (cause/effect, problemsolving, reasoning), sensory processing, behavioral development and motor skills. The role of an occupational therapist is to help children develop age-appropriate attention, coordination, feeding, fine motor, school and learning, self-care and sensory processing skills. And, to increase strength, endurance and motor planning skills to improve success with daily activities, such as tying shoes and handwriting. Occupational therapy services are tailored to each child and their family, and services alter and adapt as the family’s needs change. Occupational therapy can help boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence along the way. Developing and expanding a skill and using it correctly can encourage a child to try new activities, which is the foundation for continued learning and success.


• Drive to first client’s house and problemsolve adapting toys to facilitate fine motor grasps • Next, meet with an infant client working on reaching and grasping • Document client progress • At the JCFS clinic, help a child plan and execute a science experiment, and remember information for an obstacle course • Help school-age client with handwriting a story • More documentation! Schedule visits and assess each client’s care

Content contributors: Jennie Marble, MA, CCC-SLP, Assistant Director of IPI and Rachel Goode, MS, OTR/L


Of children and youth in JCFS Foster Care faces mental illness in their families

GROWING COMPASSION People who were touched by JCFS last year

WE HAVE THE ANSWER Number of calls to 855.ASK.JCFS last year


People participated in community services training and support in the first half of FY18 (By 12-31-17)

96% reported an increase in skills and 98% reported an increase in knowledge of subject matter

BY THE NUMBERS Our impact on the community

SPIRITUAL SUPPORT Number of Tikvah Chaplain visits to individuals and family members in the Chicago area over the last six months

SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES Adults with I/DD who attended bi-monthly social activities organized by JCFS’ new Community Connections since December 2017

The mission of Jewish Child & Family Services is to provide help, healing and caring services infused with Jewish values to strengthen lives in the community. Jewish Child & Family Services Esther Knapp Campus Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center 3145 W Pratt Blvd. Chicago, IL 60645

Profile for JCFS Chicago

Spring 2018 Defining Moments  

Spring 2018 Defining Moments