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Spring ‘14

DEFINING M MENTS A Newsletter of Jewish Child & Family Services

New Program Spotlight: The Divorce Specialty Center: Family Redefined

A Striking Event Honors: Mark and Fran Levy

& Bill Chunowitz

Ask A Clinician: Managaing your kids’ (and your!) screen time


A Message from

Howard Sitron

Spring ‘14

Chief Executive Officer

A Newsletter of

Jewish Child & Family Services 216 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 700 Chicago, IL 60606

For one-stop, toll-free access to help,

855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237)

Follow JCFS!

JCFS Chicago

@JCFSChicago JCFSChicago


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! Visit, or contact Shannon Corona at 312-673-3202 or JCFS is a partner in serving our community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation. Licensed by the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services. Accredited by the Council on Accreditation.

C O N TA C T Editorial: Change of Address: ©2014 JCFS

The Chicago area is known for its cultural heritage and waves of immigrants, many helped by HIAS, who have settled here over the years. Ethnic communities have tended to move along specific streets. Many Italian-Americans followed Grand Avenue to the suburbs, while the German-Americans moved along Lincoln Avenue. The Jewish community followed “The Kedzie Corridor” from the West Side north to Humboldt Park, Albany Park, West Rogers Park, Skokie, Highland Park and Glencoe (thanks to an angling shoreline, the lakefront suburbs are almost due north of Kedzie). But, as Mr. Dylan noted, “The times they are a changin,’” and the strategic plan directs that we “continuously identify and respond to the current and emerging needs of the Jewish community.” A Jewish community thrives in the Oak Park-River Forest area, where two congregations have developed a strong relationship. Oak Park Temple and West Suburban Temple Har Zion collaborate in a wide variety of ways in service to congregants and the broader Jewish community there. In February, Jewish Child & Family Services began a pilot partnership with these two synagogues. JCFS clinician Molly Dehry-Buckman makes the Oak Park Temple library her home two days each week. Molly is not just any social worker. She has a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan and a Certificate from their Jewish Communal Leadership Program. Her background in community leadership and knowledge of the Jewish community help her to integrate into the collaborative relationship already established between these two congregations. Our goal is for Molly to become an essential member of these communities. She will provide educational and support programs needed by the congregants and staff. Molly will provide services to congregants and serve as an on-site conduit to the services, expertise and programming that JCFS and JVS Chicago offer. JCFS created this model with the congregations and expects this pilot program in Oak Park-River Forest to develop into one that can be replicated in other communities. Please join this effort by introducing us to other Jewish communities where JCFS-congregational partnerships might flourish. We welcome your ideas about how we can better serve you and our community.

Howard Sitron

New Program Spotlight

The Divorce Specialty Center: Family Redefined Last year, over 50% of the caseload at JCFS’ Community Counseling Centers was impacted by divorce. That was 814 families who indicated challenges including how to prepare children for the transition, changes in economic circumstances, parent disputes regarding visitation and other decisions, coping with stress, depression, related substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness, blending families and more. To address these needs, JCFS recently launched the Divorce Specialty Center: Family Redefined, leveraging existing resources to offer divorce “coaching”, counseling, community education, parent and child support groups, mediation and other specialized services to help families successfully navigate separation, divorce and re-marriage. A new service at the Divorce Specialty Center is Divorce Consultation, and is designed to help a client navigate what to do next, after the decision to divorce has been reached. “This is very often a time of complete chaos for people,” says Tami Sollo, LCSW, Divorce Center Specialist. “They may feel as if their world is exploding and may be too overwhelmed to think clearly and problem-solve issues.” The purpose of this consultation is to help put things into perspective and to offer some hope for the future. Interested people receive a packet of general information regarding some of the issues to consider when initiating the divorce process. The next step is to assess the client’s situation in regard to where they are with the divorce process, whether or not there are children involved, what their financial situation is and what their service needs might be. The consultation is usually a one-time meeting where the client is referred to other resources either within JCFS, or if needed outside the agency. “Often people are so distraught at this meeting, that a large part of the service is to calm and sooth them,” says Sollo. “It can be very gratifying, when there is a noticeable change in the client by the end of the session. Our goal is to help impact the client’s life so that they are eventually able to move forward with their lives.” For more information call Tami Sollo at 847-412-4347, email or visit


Join us for a of Fun at A Striking Event on Sunday, June 22 at Pinstripes in Northbrook, and enjoy bowling and bocce, entertainment, delicious kosher food and more. This year’s fabulous raffle offers a chance to win $5,000 cash or a trip to stay in the glorious Four Seasons Hotel in Florence, Italy. The event offers fun for the whole family and the opportunity to help thousands of people in need in our community.

“On June 22nd we plan on recognizing some of the folks that make it all possible while having some fun. I’m honored to be a part of this great organization and this special event. A big thank you goes out to our honorees, our generous corporate sponsors, our volunteers and the JCFS leadership and management team.” –Milt Zimmerman Co-Chair, A Striking Event

“It is very important for me to ‘give back’; especially to the Jewish community. I have enjoyed attending A Striking Event in past years and am honored to be planning this year’s event, which will have such a positive impact on those we serve.” –Jane Strauss Co-Chair, A Striking Event

Please Join Us JCFS will present the Irving B. Harris Leadership award to Mark and Fran Levy, and the What’s Possible award to Bill Chunowitz at A Striking Event. This fundraiser will raise money to provide services for 28,000 people whose lives are touched by JCFS each year, and will celebrate the outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to the agency and to improving the lives of children. Tickets to the event are $150 for adults and $35 for children. Raffle tickets are $100 each and only 500 will be sold. Event and raffle tickets are available via the A Striking Event link at For questions call 855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237), or email 2


June 22, 2014

4:00–7:00 pm Pinstripes, 1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, IL

Mark and Fran Levy

Irving B. Harris Leadership Award As past presidents, respectively, of Jewish Children’s Bureau (JCB) and Jewish Family and Community Service (JFCS), the two predecessor agencies to the current JCFS, Mark and Fran personify the coming together of these two agencies. They have been instrumental in strengthening JCFS’ ability to respond to people in need. Mark was President of JCB in 1993 at the time if its 100th Anniversary and presided over many of the events recognizing the Agency’s early years of service to the community. Mark also served on the Board of the Jewish Federation for many years. In 2005, he re-joined JCFS to help with the merger between JCB and JFCS. When Fran was President of JFCS, her mission was to energize and strengthen its Board, build and increase recognition of the Agency in the community and increase revenues. Fran currently serves as President of the JUF Women’s Board and was the 2007 Women’s Board Campaign Chair. Fran is a member of the Federation Board and served as Co-Chair of the Health and Human Services Commission for three years. She also led a mission to Springfield to advocate for funding for the services provided by JCFS and other Federation agencies as a Vice Chair of the Government Affairs Committee.

Bill Chunowitz

What’s Possible Award Bill Chunowitz, is co-founder of Ronald McDonald House Charities in Chicago (RMHC-CNI) and a leader in spreading the Ronald McDonald House model throughout the world. The goal of RMHC-CNI is to care for families of children with complex medical needs at a time when compassion is needed most. Mr. Chunowitz is a recipient of Illinois Society and American Institute of CPA’s Public service award for Community and Charitable Involvement; Co-Founder and past president of the Chicago Ronald McDonald House; past Vice President and Treasurer of International Advisory Board (IAB) National Ronald McDonald House Program and Board member of Chicago Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities.


ASK a Clinician


When my children were very young, I was intentional about monitoring how much time they watched television. Now that they are older, they seem to always have a screen before their eyes – television, mobile device or computer. Should I be concerned about their screen time?

Parents of tweens and teens are commonly in your position: concerned about their children’s over-exposure to media and frustrated by their ability to control or manage that exposure. At the same time, the screens that worry us also may be great tools for communication, learning and entertainment. Cell-phone screens invite instant “conversations”; whiteboard technology in classrooms facilitate and enhance learning; and data streaming on computer monitors and “smart” TVs has revolutionized the way we enjoy television. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children today spend an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices. How do your children’s habits compare? Ultimately, parents should monitor children’s “media diet” toward a goal of two hours or less of entertainment media a day, according to the AAP. (For children under age 2, the Academy recommends no media at all; human interaction is best for brain development during the early years.) Scaling back to an hour or two of entertainment media a day will leave kids with newfound time to spend with others, says Dr. Alysa Slay, Director of Psychological Services at JCFS. “In order to develop confidence and a strong sense of self esteem in social interactions, a child needs to practice the joys of interacting with others,” says Dr. Slay. Even social interactions that lead to disappointment – such as not being picked for a game of tag – are important because they provide opportunities for recovery from negative experiences. “Learning how to read non-verbal social cues, to recognize emotions in others, to learn to wait for one’s turn – are all novel, subtle cues that are important to learn. Too much screen time can stand in the way of a child learning these everyday nuances of social interaction,” cautions Dr. Slay. Moreover, excessive screen time can have a negative impact on language acquisition and development, and, when the content is particularly violent or provocative, it can deaden children’s reaction time to dangerous situations, according to Joanne Kestnbaum, LCSW, supervisor of the Virginia Frank Child Development Center at JCFS.

Tips for Parents 1. Create technology guidelines for the whole family, stick to them and have consequences for violations. For example, turn off TVs at the same time each evening, ban cell phones from the dinner table and once a week, go “old school” by unplugging from all entertainment media. 2. Teach children that what they send, post, pin or upload lasts forever, so they’d better be willing to stand behind it for life. 3. Model your family values around face-to-face interaction. For example, if courage and truth are important to your family, don’t use “screens” to disclose important information to one another. From Robin Stein, LCSW, Director of Response, a JCFS program that empowers teens to make healthy choices. 4

So many ways to


Your personal North Shore Auxiliary Key Card entitles you to a 20% discount on all fullpriced purchases at over 200 stores and restaurants throughout Chicagoland from August 9-16, 2014. Get your card with a $75 donation to the North Shore Auxiliary, which has supported JCFS programs serving children and youth since 1919.

Thinking about selling your car, boat, motorcycle, truck or other vehicle? Donate it to JCFS 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).

Go Shopping!

Donate your Car!

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.

Whether it’s Happy Birthday, In Honor Of or an all-around Mazel Tov, JCFS has the right Tribute Card for you to send. Order online, 24 hours a day! Sympathy cards also available.

Send a Tribute Card! The New


Buy One, Give One!

Get started today!

Visit us at, email, or call Shannon Corona at 312-673-3202. 5

Charitable Gift Annuity…Is it Right for You? “One for you and one for me.” Every child learns that sharing is better, whether it’s M&Ms or Matchbox cars. And if modeling behavior is the best way to teach children life lessons, here is a way to donate to JCFS that really is a “One for you and one for me” way of giving and makes everyone happy. With a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA), you can donate an amount of money or asset to JCFS. JCFS will then give you income from that gift for the rest of your life. After your lifetime, the balance will be donated to the JCFS Endowment Foundation. It’s a win-win for everyone. Currently, CGAs have much higher payout rates than other conservative investment options like CDs. For example, the current CGA payout rate for someone 75 years old is 6.8%. Payout rates increase as the donor’s age increases. A CGA can be unrestricted, to be used where it is needed most, or it can be directed for a specific program that is of special interest to you. Imagine receiving some extra income each quarter and knowing that after your lifetime, you will continue to support JCFS programs and services. Some people think a CGA is too complicated or too risky. It’s neither one. A short phone conversation with a staff professional at the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, who manages our CGAs, will tell you how much income you could receive for your gift, and what tax benefits you would be eligible for. If you decide to go ahead, they can take care of all the paperwork. And as far as risk goes, CGAs are calculated using actuarial tables and are closely regulated by the government to ensure that the donor receives payments as promised during their lifetime, and money should remain for the charitable part of the gift. Even if you outlive your donation, you will still receive the promised payments for your entire life.

For more information on CGAs, including current payout rates, contact, Development AssociateEndowments, or visit our website at And please SHARE this information with anyone you think might be interested.


The Jewish Child & Family Services Endowment Foundation was created in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Agency Endowment Program, which was established to assure that JCFS and our sister agencies have the necessary resources to meet growing and evolving Jewish community needs. All commitments to the Agency Endowment Foundation are recognized as gifts to the Jewish Federation’s Centennial Campaign, and are dedicated to the specific fund or program you designate.


By the Numbers 1.9 434


$1.9 Million Total amount of 41 grants received from 33 different foundations during FY14, (through January 31, 2014.)

5,856 Number of individuals at 32 organizations reached by Response outreach programs.

3,512 Number of lives impacted by the Community Counseling Centers, including 72% who have experienced financial hardship and 52% who are living in poverty.

434 JCFS clients who received holiday gifts thanks to generous holiday donors and 61 volunteer sorters. 230 children received Back-to-School supplies with the help of 27 volunteers.

841 Number of students in nursery through 5th grade at three Jewish Day Schools who will receive the “Safety Kid� program in their classrooms before June, 2014, including 405 who have received the education to date. 176 teachers also were trained in abuse prevention and response.

84 People who attended the fall launch of the new Jewish Center for Addiction. 7

JCFS Anthology Project:

Connecting through the Power of Story For the Wakschlags, Heichal Home Provides a Vision for the Future

When you walk into the beautiful two-flat in West Rogers Park, you’ll smell the food being prepared. The three residents love to make cuisine from all around the world. They research countries and customs, cook the meal and maybe even host a few friends. From now until the end of the year, they’ve got every dinner and its theme planned out. Their home, the Heichal Home, is a person-centered community-integrated living arrangement (CILA) for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. A typical week for the individuals who live in the Heichal Home is just that–typical. They go to work for six hours, come home and prepare a meal, do their chores and unwind by watching some TV. Maybe they’ll have an activity planned or they’ll go to Yad B’ Yad. On the weekends: Shabbat and a social activity with the residents at Migdal Oaz, another CILA nearby. Or, maybe they’ll just sleep in. Milt Wakschlag, father of Tmima and Efraim, two of the new residents, believes the Heichal Home will allow his children to enjoy the kind of life that we all seek ourselves, which, until about a year ago, he never thought could happen in a Chicago Jewish context in his lifetime. “Their life is not an afterthought,” he said. “It’s important to my wife and me as their parents because we love to see our children blossom personally into the best people they can be.” Read the full story and more about the Supported Community Living Initiative at 8

Volunteer Bruce Helman Thrives on Interacting with Staff and Clients

“Hello, and how may I help you?” says Bruce Helman, with a resounding smile that can be heard across the phone wires. Bruce is a former JCFS employee who has returned to give back as the Administrative Assistant Volunteer at JCFS Elaine Kersten Chidren’s Center in Northbrook. Bruce volunteers more than 35 hours monthly. “I help the administrative staff by performing ‘mundane tasks’ so they can focus more on other things,” says Bruce. And while Bruce may characterize them as ‘mundane,’ his help to answer phones, check in clients, refill supplies and more does so much to support the work of the office. Bruce brings amazing experience to his volunteer work, having been an employee at the Joy Faith Knapp Children’s Center for almost five years, doing everything from scheduling appointments for clinicians to office supply requisition to generating reports, until developing optic nerve damage. “When my disability finally allowed me to participate I inquired about volunteering at the Elaine Kersten Children’s Center. I appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house, and feel good knowing that I can help others.” “My favorite thing about volunteering is interacting with the staff and clients,” says Bruce, who has stayed active with Tae Kwon-Do for 35 years, including teaching. And, says Karen Goldman, director of the volunteer program, “Bruce, we appreciate all of your time, energy and commitment to Jewish Child & Family Services.”

Share YOUR Story

Your story may be the one to inspire hope for someone in need or to engage a donor in helping “redefine what’s possible” in the lives of those we serve. Participation is completely voluntary. To share your story please call 855-ASK-JCFS (855-275-5237), or if you prefer to write it out, please send it to, subject line: My Story. 9

lives in the community.

infused with Jewish values to strengthen

is to provide help, healing and caring services

The mission of Jewish Child & Family Services

JCFS 216 W Jackson Blvd Suite 700 Chicago, IL 60606

Spring ‘14




Defining Moments Spring 2014  
Defining Moments Spring 2014