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We are excited to update you on the growth and success of our Associates Board, a dedicated and enthusiastic group of young professionals that are passionate about strengthening the Chicagoland community. Directed and organized by Marisa Smith, Senior Development Officer at JCFS Chicago, the Associates Board promotes the work of JCFS, while striving to help redefine what’s possible in service of the social and emotional well-being of children, teens, adults, and families. We are proud of the Board and their accomplishments, and look forward to highlighting their development. Over the past year, the Associates Board defined their priorities and made a commitment to volunteer their time and resources to benefit the welfare of the community. Through advocacy, leadership development, fundraising, volunteerism, and service projects, the Board hopes to act as ambassadors, encouraging younger generations to become more involved with JCFS. “We believe in the importance of social service and giving back to the community. We are proud to become ambassadors for the next generation of JCFS leaders and are excited to share everything we have in store,” says co-chair Karly Worth. In November, after learning about the foster care and family support services at JCFS, the Associates Board planned a fundraising event which raised over $5,000. To engage in meaningful volunteer opportunities, the Associates Board started working with Joshua Rosen, Development Associate, Volunteers and InKind Giving at JCFS. Their first opportunity involves volunteering twice a month for Shabbat dinners at

Heichal, part of our Residential Supports program, and home to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hosted by the residents, the first dinner was held at the beginning of March. Two Associates Board members, Rebecca Friedman and Adam Ketai, led Kiddush, while the residents prepared and cooked dinner. The night was filled with socializing, Jewish enrichment, and all-around fun. More dinners are planned, and both the Associates Board and the Heichal residents are excited about continuing to come together as a community. In their upcoming meeting, the Board will learn more about Response for Teens, which provides support, counseling, education, and many resources to teens and their families. Moving forward, the Board will continue to support JCFS and develop as community influencers. JCFS Associates Board members at their inaugural fundraising event. Pictured top left to right: Mari Weiss, Caroline Schwartz, Adam Ketai, Sarah Dorfman, Becca Friedman, Karly Worth Bottom left to right: Sammie Klein, Casey Richter, Stephanie Keeshin, Morgan Bartelstein

“We’re proud to work with JCFS, which does so much to keep our community active and strong. We’re excited to engage our generation and give back to the community we grew up in.” -Rebecca Friedman, Associates Board Co-Chair



Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center Esther Knapp Campus 3145 W Pratt Blvd Chicago, IL 60645


855.275.5237 | JCFS.org CONTACT Marketing@JCFS.org

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Defining Moments print edition comes out once a year, but you can get updates, news and events information in our monthly email version. To subscribe, send your name and email address to Communications@JCFS.org or visit JCFS.org! JCFS Chicago 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.

We Are JCFS Chicago! For 160 years JCFS has served as a crucial resource for the Chicago Jewish community and beyond. Through those years, we have grown from a soup kitchen on South Wacker to the comprehensive social services organization you know and appreciate today. From our inception as United Hebrew Relief to Chicago Jewish Orphans Home to today, we have had many names. Some might remember Marks Nathan Hall or the Jewish Home Finding Society. And then we went to the Jewish Children’s Bureau and JFCS on to Jewish Child & Family Services. As if those were not enough, we are also recognized by many other names, such as: Virginia Frank Child Development Center, Integrated Pediatric Therapies, Jewish Healing Network, Response Center for Teens, Project Esther, HIAS Chicago, Therapeutic Day School and Yeshiva or Jewish Center for Addiction. With an updated look and articulate message we can clearly define the depth and breadth of our services under one name—JCFS Chicago. We are a family of services in which each of our individual programs and activities are supported by the whole. The synergy created by this collaborative family of services results in a powerful system of inclusive, progressive supports for our community. I am incredibly proud of the work we do, with all of our energy and efforts focused on enhancing social and emotional wellbeing for children, teens, adults and families. Driven by Jewish values, we are committed to responsive, caring and expert services focused on achieving the goals of each person coming to us. JCFS holds sacred its obligation to strengthen our society using the amazing tools created through the partnership and generosity of this community. Today JCFS Chicago is proud to carry forward and contribute further to the legacy of service and care built by so many over these many years. We are deeply appreciative of your partnership in empowering people to improve their lives in so many ways.

Howard Sitron President & Chief Executive Officer



418 Sheridan Road Highland Park, IL 60035

Event Chairperson Susan Schulman


JCFS Board Chairman Neil Posner

President and CEO Howard Sitron

Sponsorship opportunities available. For more information about this event or our Very Important Partner (VIP) Reception on April 16, 2019 contact Kathy Barcanic | 773.467.3896 | KathyBarcanic@JCFS.org | JCFS.org VIP Reception is generously sponsored by


Emily came to JVS Career and Employment looking for a part-time job that was flexible with her school schedule and located in her neighborhood. Her previous work experiences in an office and food service required support from a job coach. Job coaches can serve as advocates for people with disabilities and provide supports necessary to make the jobs manageable for the individual. Through our customized youth employment program, we were able identify prospective employers and design an individualized position that would allow for independence and success without needing a job coach. After a tour of the neighborhood with one of our professionals, they focused on the local Walgreens, which also happens to be Emily’s favorite store.

The manager agreed to meet Emily for an informal interview and was so impressed that she was offered a position on the spot. Emily has been working for almost three months and the store manager is very pleased, plus she is happy to be learning the ins and outs of her favorite store!

OUR FAMILY OF SERVICES Spring/Summer Programs

Sunday Respite We use a supportive, nurturing and “Here I Am” After-Camp therapeutic approach for children If you’re planning ahead for summer with intellectual and developmental 2019, consider an “After-Camp” disabilities (I/DD), combined Therapy Group designed for with fun, social and recreational children who would benefit from activities, giving parents time for therapeutic support during the a break. Sessions are offered 1-2 summer months with a focus Sunday afternoons per month. on emotional needs, struggles in social settings, and difficulty Lev Chicago Respite navigating relationships. An after-school respite program for Jewish children with I/DD that Glick Family Camp Get ready for campfires, canoeing, provides a nurturing, therapeutic, social/recreational and religious crafts, and more at Glick Family observant environment for Camp, May 17-19! Children with children, and a break for parents. developmental disabilities and their families will spend the weekend relaxing, meeting other families, and enjoying 181 acres of beautiful Illinois countryside. Camp staff will lead children in a variety of creative, stimulating, and interactive activities.

The Get Together The Get Together is a weekly socialization group for parents, grandparents, caregivers and children, newborn through 5 years old. Meet new people, share experiences, ideas, and developmental concerns as children play. This group is led by JCFS family and child development therapists. Sibshops Sibshops offer brothers and sisters of children with a variety of special needs a place to meet other siblings in a relaxed, supportive and recreational setting. For kids ages 6-12 years old. Teens are also welcome.

Training Institute Connections Early Childhood Training Institute is a sixweek summer program for early childhood teachers and professionals, offered by the JCFS Chicago Virginia Frank Child Development Center. It emphasizes the importance of building strong teacher and caregiver relationships with young children to promote a secure, healthy and productive learning environment. Camp Firefly While offering the best of summer fun, Camp Firefly is designed to support children, teens and young adults who oftentimes have difficulty connecting with peers and navigating social situations. Campers come away with meaningful life lessons and friendships that continue long after the summer ends.

Healing Hearts: Grief Support Group for Spouse/Partner Loss For older adults who have experienced the death of a spouse or partner over the last two years. Meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.

Therapeutic Groups for Children

Toddler Play Group (2-3 years old) Encourages early interactions and focuses on participating in circle time and engaging in play activities. Play Group (3-5 years old) Focuses on the development of language and social skills, along with building play and friendship. Handwriting Group (various ages) Fun, engaging activities are used to target each child’s fine motor, bilateral coordination, visual-motor and handwriting skills.

Friends Club/Peer Group (5-7 years old) Does your child have difficulty finding their footing with peers? Consider enrolling your child in this group that uses hands-on learning and play activities based on Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking approach.

Need help? Have questions? We can guide you. 855.275.5237 | ask@JCFS.org | JCFS.org

Students in Ms. Larissa's Elementary Classroom during a Second Step Lesson, with a special visit from Sparky and Sue


Second-Step, a curriculum designed to promote social and emotional learning for children is being piloted in some of the Therapeutic Day School (TDS) elementary classrooms. While academic instruction is a key component of our program, fostering emotional growth is also crucial to learning. For many students at TDS, development in emotional growth is part of longterm school success. Studies show students who can regulate their emotions, display empathy, and problem solve through peer conflicts experience higher rates of success. Julie Noparstak, TDS Clinician, leads a weekly social work group. “I really enjoy using this curriculum because it offers our students the vital tools they need to be successful.” Julie shared that the curriculum offers common vocabulary, body language signals, visual cues, learning posters, puppets, music, and

reinforces group activities. Students know what to expect with a consistent and structured lesson plan, “I think students have become more motivated to participate in group and will work through topics that were previously difficult to grasp. I’ve seen students much more connected to one another with an increase in respect and listening to one another.” In a recent group meeting, students were introduced to the concept of compassion and took turns going around the room to determine what each one was feeling based on their face. A song about feelings and an interactive puppet show demonstrated the concept even more. At the end of the lesson, students talked about real-life scenarios by sharing how they would feel in the same situation. We are very proud of our student’s persistence in learning new concepts and skills.


Our Integrated Pediatric Therapies (IPT) therapists first met Jackson when he was a toddler and experiencing developmental delays. With the help of the IPT team, Jackson was able to make great strides in his language, social and emotional development. Now 13 years old, Jackson was having some difficulty with reading comprehension, word recall, and verbal and written expression – all common concerns for a child this age. Jackson and his family knew he could benefit from additional support, so they turned to our therapists once again for help. Writing essays and making presentations at school were difficult for Jackson, oftentimes leaving him frustrated and withdrawn. Speechlanguage pathologists are experts in communication, and treat problems with speech sounds, language comprehension and the flow of words. Allison Liwanag, an IPT Speech-Language Pathologist, began working with Jackson to strengthen his vocabulary, reading comprehension and writing skills. Allison used exercises to help Jackson break assignments into smaller parts so he could tackle the tasks individually, and then time how long it took for him to complete each task with his best effort. Motivated by visualizing his goals and tracking his results, Jackson is proud that he can now write a paragraph in 10 minutes! According to Jackson, “Now I can speak better and I feel more confident when talking to people and saying things like, ‘cheddar and chai.’ I write words better than I have ever done and now I can button a shirt easier [too].”

Marci Kreiner, an IPT Occupational Therapist, focused on Jackson’s ability to complete his daily activities, such as self-care (dressing, grooming, etc.), school work, and social activities. One of Jackson’s favorite hobbies is cooking, but he lacked the fine motor strength and dexterity to easily pour, chop and stir without quickly becoming fatigued. Having made tremendous strides in these areas, he is now looking forward to attending two weeks of cooking camp this summer. Jackson has also improved his balance and core strength, enabling him to confidently participate with family and friends in sports, as well as navigate his environment more effectively. Speech-language and occupational therapies can help boost a child’s selfesteem 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.

Susan, retired pediatric psychiatrist and JCFS Chicago volunteer, devotes Monday evenings to helping our IPT therapists facilitate a boy’s socialization group. The boys, who are 4-7 years old, have speech-language delays and sensory issues. Susan brings a wealth of professional knowledge and experience that the IPT staff relies on to develop strategies that help the boys learn social and behavioral skills, enabling them to participate in social situations appropriately and build friendships. “Susan has been a wonderful addition to the group,” says Allison Liwanag, IPT SpeechLanguage Pathologist. “The boys look forward to seeing Susan every week, and her interaction with them brings excitement to the group.”


At any time, you can make a meaningful donation to JCFS Chicago either online or through the mail. Your tax-deductible contribution brings the gift of health, hope, and better lives to thousands in our community who need it most. This year, thanks to a challenge grant from an anonymous donor, all new and increased donations will be matched, doubling the impact you can have.


Go on a summer shopping spree from August 10-17, 2019! The North Shore Auxiliary Key Card entitles you to a 20% discount on all full-priced merchandise and services at over 100 businesses throughout Chicagoland. Get your card with a $75 donation to the North Shore Auxiliary. Log into AmazonSmile, choose JCFS Chicago as your charity, and make a purchase. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to JCFS. Amazon Prime still applies and no extra surcharges are applied to your account.


Whether it’s a Happy Birthday, In Honor of, sending Sympathy, or all-around Mazel Tov, JCFS Chicago has the right tribute card for you! Order online at JCFS.org, 24 hours a day!


For many of the families served by JCFS Chicago, basic necessities are out of financial reach. Through in-kind donations, JCFS fills these otherwise unmet needs by providing new clothing, household items and toys.


Thinking about selling you car, boat, motorcycle, truck, or another vehicle? Donate it to JCFS Chicago instead! Our Vehicle Donation Program converts your car into funds to support our family of services. Includes free pick-up! Call our dedicated toll-free number, 855.700.5237.

JCFS.org | ResourceDevelopment@JCFS.org | 773.467.3895

Young Adult Division (YAD) At JCFS Chicago, we understand the importance of celebrating and engaging younger generations. That is why we launched a new initiative, the Young Adult Division (YAD), to identify and develop a cohort of budding lay leaders in the Chicagoland area. Led by Senior Development Officer, Max Dayan, YAD strives to impart a knowledge and culture of professionalism that inspires members to develop into influencers in the community. Over the course of two years, YAD members will be exposed to the fundamental concepts of nonprofit leadership and management,

Stacey Shor Appointed New COO

We are pleased to announce that Stacey Shor has been tapped to be the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at JCFS Chicago. Following a history of dedication and strong


through the lens of JCFS and its family of services, with the goal of attracting long-term support. Sessions focus on collaboration with established non-profit executives, qualified JCFS staff, as well as experienced lay leaders from the JCFS Chicago Board of Directors. As part of their development, YAD lay leaders are challenged to discover their philanthropic passions and identify how those complement their current nonprofit involvement. Members are expected to practice the skills they learn by recruiting the succeeding cohort, making a meaningful contribution to the agency, and implementing a unique capstone performance through a variety of positions at JCFS Chicago, most recently as Vice President, Chief Development Officer. Stacey has invariably assumed broad responsibility for the agency’s wellbeing and stepped up to every challenge asked of her. She holds a remarkable wealth of knowledge and understanding of our complex array of programs, which will serve her well as COO. Recently celebrating 21 years at JCFS, she reflected on her career in human services, “I work best when I am helping people help people. And that remains my mission. Whether donors, volunteers, lay leaders or staff, through mergers and program growth, each of us is here because we want to redefine what’s possible for our community.”

project at the end of their term. By participating in YAD, young lay leaders will become more informed philanthropists, preparing them to better serve and support JCFS and other community nonprofits. YAD is an example of how JCFS seeks to strengthen our community and foster a culture of philanthropy in Chicago and its surrounding areas. Current participants in our first YAD cohort from left to right: Aveeshi Lev, Moshe Siegal, Jake Counne, Howard Sitron (JCFS Chicago President & CEO), Shimmy Meystel, Shalom Bergovoy(current YAD Chair), Akiva Goodman, Max Dayan (Senior Development Officer). Not Pictured, Mark Hartman.

A Prime Partnership

JVS Career & Employment staff had a great time talking to Amazon about partnering with them to help with their hiring needs. Special thanks to Mike Hill and Teresa Hansen from Amazon (seated in the front row on each end) for their presentation.

Operation Snowball 2019: Unity Within Diversity

and made some lasting friendships through various team building, educational, and empowerment activities. It was incredible to watch the teen leaders use skills they spent months developing to create unique bonding experiences, as well as plan workshops around issues such as gun violence and healthy relationships. In addition, slam poetry gave youth the space to share their lives in a safe space, while photography helped participants find beauty in the everyday.

JCFS Chicago Annual Back to School Drive

Legal Advocacy

Earlier this year, 60 teens from eight Chicagoland high schools came together to participate in Operation Snowball, Response for Teens’ annual winter retreat, planned entirely by teens. In the spirit of this year's theme Unity Within Diversity and its premise that we must understand and appreciate each other's differences in order to become true allies, participants stretched their boundaries, let down their guard

For many families, the expense of preparing a child or teen for the new school year is simply beyond their means. Last year, nearly 500 children started the school year off with a new backpack and school supplies thanks to the generosity of donors, and our team of volunteers. By donating school supplies or hosting a drive, you can make a difference. A simple collection, which would make an ideal Mitzvah project, can help a child or teen enter the new school year feeling prepared and proud.

At JCFS Chicago we provide special education legal representation, consultation, information, and referral services to individuals with disabilities and their families. Our attorneys are committed to ensuring that each child receives the services they need to learn, whether those services are accommodations for extra time during tests, a reading coach, or a referral to therapeutic services.

Our final activity engaged all participants in designing the city of their dreams, where all residents thrive and express their unique selves. The results were amazing! The teens invested in the weekend with their hearts and minds, which led to an experience none of us will soon forget. Generous support for Operation Snowball is provided by the Highland Park Community Foundation, the Barbara and Frank Lieber Family Charitable Trust, and the Trillium Foundation.

"We are all very excited for our son to begin school at TDS, and trust that we have secured services in his best interest for him to grow and thrive." –Therapeutic Day School parent and legal advocacy client

The mission of JCFS Chicago is to provide help, healing and caring services infused with Jewish values to strengthen lives in the community.


Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center Esther Knapp Campus 3145 W Pratt Blvd. Chicago, IL 60645

Profile for JCFS Chicago

Spring 2019 Defining Moments  

JCFS Chicago Spring 2019 Defining Moments featuring stories about our Associates Board, a welcome from Howard Sitron, JVS Career and Employm...

Spring 2019 Defining Moments  

JCFS Chicago Spring 2019 Defining Moments featuring stories about our Associates Board, a welcome from Howard Sitron, JVS Career and Employm...