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Volume 22, No. 4 • July/August 2012

Family Matters is published bimonthly by Jewish Family Service of Colorado, 3201 S. Tamarac Dr., Denver CO 80231

Volunteer Spotlight

Congratulations to Aubrey and Kay Knight: 2012 Max Frankel Volunteers of the Year


ongratulations to Aubrey and Kay Knight, Jewish Family Service volunteers since 2006, who were honored with the 2012 Max Frankel Volunteers of the Year award at the Celebrate JFS event in June. Dedicated. Reliable. Engaging. Welcoming. These are just a few of the words used to describe this couple who has consistently volunteered in the Weinberg Food Pantry every Friday for six years. Together, they have donated nearly 2,000 hours of their time! The couple, married nearly 53 years, is active at Calvary Baptist Church near JFS. Shortly after Kay retired, the couple saw an article in their church bulletin seeking volunteers at the Weinberg Food Pantry. Since they were both retired and looking to volunteer, Kay and Aubrey Knight have logged more than 2,000 hours they jumped at this opportunity. Not only have in the Weinberg Food Pantry. they devoted their time for the last six years, but have enrolled many of their friends from the church as regular food pantry volunteers. Calvary Baptist Church and JFS have a great working relationship; the church refers many clients to our agency and many members of the congregation also benefit from our services. “Aubrey and Kay are consistently available when we need them, and they always engage the families as they come through the food pantry, which helps our clients feel more at ease,” says Shelly Hines, Family Safety Net Program director. “Their smiles and welcoming attitudes are always appreciated. Many clients return on Fridays because they know the Knights will be there to greet them and check in on how things have been going for them.” “The Knights have stepped up when we needed help the most,” adds Shelly. Continued on page 11

In This Issue Story of Hope 2 JFS Counseling Center 4 Mental Health Matters 5 Bereavement Group 5 New Board Members 6 Thank You for Caring! 8 International KidSuccess 10 Spotlight on Staff 11 Para-chaplain Graduates 12


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Story of Hope

Heidi Pittaway: Taking Her Life Back


he’s smart, poised, and articulate. At 23 years old, Heidi Pittaway has a brilliant future. She’s currently enrolled in college and has big plans for a career in business. Her ultimate goal is to hold elected office. With her drive, there’s no doubt she’ll make it. Heidi’s future didn’t always look so bright. Just three years ago, she was eight months pregnant with her second daughter. She was a high school dropout living in a homeless shelter in Parker, scared and alone. Her prospects for the future were nonexistent. She had no high school diploma. No work experience. No husband. No family support. No money. No job. And no plan. What she did have was a little girl who was entirely dependent upon her and another one on the way. “It was an extreme wake-up call to say the least,” says Heidi. Heidi is a Jewish Family Service client who recently participated in an intensive job training program at SHALOM Denver. This program has a singular goal: to move people from welfare to work. The SHALOM team has been extremely successful,

Heidi Pittaway and her daughters.

placing more than 110 clients into meaningful employment in the last year alone. For Heidi, the work program not only prepared her for her first job, but also helped her overcome serious life challenges that threatened her ability to care for herself and her young girls. She got her life back and was given the tools she needed to change her path to become self-sufficient. Heidi became pregnant the first time at age 17, as a junior in high school. Like other kids her age, she planned to attend college and make something out of her life. But the pregnancy changed all that. She was young and in love and had high hopes for success as a family unit. “When my daughter was born, I naively dropped out of school,” says Heidi. “My family was not happy about my choices, but I was determined.” Less than a year later, she became pregnant again. At the end of her second pregnancy, staff at the homeless shelter where she was staying found out about her abusive relationship with the father of her children. For Heidi, that was the bottom. “My focus quickly changed from how to keep my family unit together to how am I going to survive and provide for my kids?” At that desperate time, Heidi received critical financial aid that probably saved her life. The shelter helped her apply for welfare benefits, get food stamps, and access subsidized housing. And she was enrolled in a job training program at JFS’s SHALOM Denver facility. SHALOM Denver clients receive high-quality, hands-on training and real-world work experience over the course of several months. The staff works one-on-one with clients to evaluate their interests and skills and work diligently to improve those skills. They help clients understand what it means to work and change their attitudes about welfare and personal responsibility. SHALOM Denver places clients in internships to give them real work experience and helps them find jobs. SHALOM helped Heidi build her skills and confidence. She expressed her interest in business

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and her case manager was able to place her in an internship at the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau. She worked hard, and with the support of her supervisor she was hired at the end of the internship. Heidi is now the assistant to the vice president of operations, working part-time while attending college. “I love the work, the challenges I face, and the experience it’s giving me,” says Heidi. She’s also able to balance work and school and keep her focus on the big picture. Heidi has big plans for herself — and she’s well on her way. She earned her GED in November 2008 through the Emily Griffith Opportunity School and will graduate with an associate’s degree in business management from the Community College of Denver this December. She will then go to Metro State for her bachelor’s degree in business. Finally, she plans to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she grew up, for her MBA. Heidi’s goals are big, but she’s willing to do what it takes to achieve them, even if that means some hardships along the way.

She’s forever grateful to “I’m going to make it for SHALOM Denver for helping my girls, and that makes her map out a new future it all worthwhile.” for herself. “They showed — Heidi Pittaway me what it would take to get where I want to be,” she reflects. “They helped me develop a plan and gave me the tools I needed to take my life back.” “I can’t give all the credit to SHALOM Denver for turning my life around,” says Heidi. “I take some credit for myself. I took the initiative and I’m working hard to change my life. I’m going to make it for my girls, and that makes it all worthwhile.” l Heidi Pittaway bravely shared her personal story before a sold-out crowd of 650 people at the JFS Executive Luncheon in May. It was her first speaking engagement. SHALOM Denver’s Employment Services program is funded by the City and County of Denver, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

Join Us for the Third Annual Tour de Farm Bike Ride August 5


upport urban farming and share the harvest by participating in Ekar Farm’s third annual Tour de Farm on Sunday, August 5, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On this 16-mile bike ride along the Highline Canal bike path, you will stop at DeLaney Community Farm for a tour and fresh Palisade peaches, then on to Sprout City Farm at Denver Green School for another tour, and back to Ekar for grilled Colorado Olathe corn and live Bluegrass music! All proceeds directly benefit Ekar’s programming and its ongoing donation of fresh, organic vegetables to Jewish Family Service’s Weinberg Food Pantry. Cost: $18 per rider, $50 per family. The ride is limited to the first 140 registrations. Register at today! l



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JFS Counseling Center: The Therapists Are In!


ot something on your mind? Maybe you’re struggling in your relationship, having behavioral challenges with your kids, or are simply stressed out at work. Perhaps you’re having trouble getting over the loss of a loved one or haunted by a past event in your life. The JFS Counseling Center is here to help. The JFS Counseling Center is your resource for quality therapy. We assist people at all stages of life — from age 5 to 105 — with caring, compassionate, and confidential clinical therapy services. We’re specialists in helping clients effectively deal with marital and relationship issues, parenting, depression, anger management, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Our four licensed therapists have a combined 120 years of clinical experience, making the JFS Counseling Center one of the most qualified counseling facilities in the Denver metro area. These are master-degreed professionals who are licensed in a variety of specialties.

While highly regarded, the JFS Counseling Center remains one of the best-kept secrets around. Few people — even longtime Jewish Family Service supporters — know about the quality therapeutic services offered. “Almost all of our clients come to us via word of mouth, which speaks volumes about the quality of our services,” says Stacey Weisberg, director of the JFS Counseling Center. “But at the same time, I think there’s some confusion in the community because of all the great work that Jewish Family Service does for folks who are economically disadvantaged. People just don’t realize that we have these kinds of services for everyone in our community.” Therapy services are offered on a sliding-scalefee basis and can range from $30 to $120 per hour, depending on income. Services are covered by most health insurance plans, which makes quality counseling accessible to most everyone. Clients might engage in therapy for as little as three months or as long as three years. It just depends on need and the issues involved. “Our clients receive a high level of service from an extremely talented staff,” says Stacey. “I regard it as a private practice experience that happens to be in an agency setting. Our therapy offices are attractive, comfortable, and extremely private. And we go out of our way to ensure client confidentiality, including access to a private entrance for clients who request it.” The JFS Counseling Center operates in a separate suite of offices at Jewish Family Service’s Tamarac facility at 3201 South Tamarac Drive in Denver. To speak with an intake therapist and schedule a confidential appointment, call 303.597.7777. Find out if we can help you resolve difficult life challenges and find balance, focus, and peace in your life. l Stacey Weisberg, LPC, director of JFS Counseling Center; Marcia Vaziri, MA; Betty Tullius, LMFT; Arleen Gershen, LCSW; and Laura Grushcow, MSSA, LCSW.

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Mental Health Matters Couple Trouble

By Betty Tullius, LMFT, Therapist, Jewish Family Service of Colorado


n my years of experience as a licensed marriage and family therapist, I’ve seen clients seek couples therapy for every conceivable reason: difficulties with finances, issues around physical and/or emotional intimacy, parenting, blended families, cultural differences, and family of origin, to name a few. By far, the most common issue that couples present is communication. Couples feel that a lack of communication underlies all the other problems they face. The problem is often presented as “my partner doesn’t understand me,” “I don’t feel heard,” or “my partner won’t agree that I’m right and he/she is wrong.” In one sense, couples have it right — communication is often the underlying problem with many seemingly larger relationship issues. It’s not just a lack of communication, but often more about how we choose to communicate. We can say volumes by storming out of a room, engaging in name calling, or (as anyone who has access to an adolescent can attest) Betty Tullius, LMFT eye rolling. It is effective communication that seems to have many couples stumped. Effective communication can involve many skills, including active listening, taking turns, and “fighting fair.” What seems to get lost when couples try to problem solve is the ability to listen without judgment, to discuss without blaming, and to remember that, in the midst of anger and frustration, what connects them is not determining who is right and who is wrong, but how well they can show empathy for each other’s feelings and points of view. Being able to express this empathy and take it in is the beginning of truly effective communication. Feeling confused about your own relationship? Contact the JFS Counseling Center at 303.597.7777 to see if therapy might be right for you. l Betty Tullius is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a master’s in Clinical Psychology. She has 14 years of clinical experience and has been with JFS for seven years. She counsels individuals, couples, and families. “Mental Health Matters” is a new column written by Jewish Family Service Counseling Center therapists that will appear in each issue of Family Matters.

Spiritual Healing Bereavement Group Forming for September


afael Spiritual Healing Services, a program of the JFS Counseling Center and the Jewish Community Chaplaincy of Jewish Family Service, is forming a bereavement group for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. The group will begin in September and the dates and times will be set based on the needs of the participants. This unique eight-session group not only supports people through the process of grieving, but also fosters connections with self, faith, and community by integrating Jewish traditions and rituals. The group will be cofacilitated by Rabbi Eliot Baskin, D.Min, Jewish community chaplain, and Arleen Gershen, LCSW, a JFS psychotherapist. For more information or to sign up for the September group, contact Arleen Gershen at 720.248.4598 or l



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Spotlight on Leadership New Board Members Congratulations to our new board members who were installed at the Celebrate JFS event in June! Thank you to outgoing board members Doug Antonoff, Sheryl Feiler, Elaine Gampel, Sherri Goldstein, and Perry Moss for their years of dedicated service to JFS.

Ed Barad

Charlie Gwirtsman

Shareholder, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP Ed and his wife, Marlin, have three grown children: Meredith, Jonathan, and Caroline.

Co-founder and Managing Director, KRG Capital Partners Charlie and his wife, Dr. Nancy Reichman, have two sons: Danny, 23, and Andrew, 20.

“I am looking forward to joining the JFS board because it will give me opportunities to help our community through the growing groups of social services programs that JFS sponsors, hence enriching and improving the lives of others and my own.”

“Jewish Family Service continues to act as a vital provider of basic services for a portion of the population that has been increasingly challenged by the faltering economy and the erosion of the safety net. I have been happy to be a financial supporter and hope I can make a further contribution as a board member.”

Save the Date for Reel Hope 2012


ark your calendars for Monday, December 10, and plan to join us for Reel Hope 2012, our annual movie-themed fundraiser! Elaine and Max Appel will receive the Jack Shapiro Community Service Award, and Gareth and Betsy Heyman will accept the Kal Zeff Business Leader of the Year Award. Stay tuned for other event details and be sure you’re signed up for our e-newsletter and connected to us through Facebook, Twitter, and our blog so you can be among the first to be in the know. Visit to get connected.

Follow JFS on:

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Gareth Heyman

Jamie Sarché

Wizard of All Things, MorEvents Gareth and his wife, Betsy, have one son, Stone, 12, and a dog, Rock, 9.

Director of Outreach and Prearranged Funeral Planning, Feldman Mortuary Jamie and her husband, Jon, have two boys: Alec, 17, and Danny, 14.

“There are multiple reasons why I am so passionate about JFS. As an adult seeking volunteer opportunities, JFS embraced me early on and made me feel very important to the cause. As I grew, I saw the multitude of services provided regardless of religious beliefs, financial standing, demographics, or other frequently seen societal barriers. Both the staff and the board have been dedicated to a solid vision of providing meaningful services to the community. I am privileged to be a member of the board.”

“For the last three years, I have worked closely with JFS on a number of projects, including cosponsoring the Before the Mourning series, serving on the JFS Executive Luncheon Committee, brainstorming on marketing for JFS at Home, and working in the food pantry alongside my family and friends. I have developed such a love for this agency, its staff, and its incredible commitment to our community. I am so proud and honored to join the board, helping to steer the agency on its incredible journey with leaders from our community.”

For a complete list of officers and board members, visit

Clean Out Your Closets to Help JFS!


n easy way to help JFS serve those in need is by cleaning out your closets! Your donation of gently used clothing, shoes, and household items through Healing Minds generates funds that support the mental health programs at JFS and subsidize the cost of counseling services for our clients. Schedule a home pickup online at or by calling 303.232.4483. l



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Thank You for Caring! The following donations reflect tribute gifts received from April 1 to May 31, 2012. Due to space limitations, we are only able to list tribute gifts received during this time, but all contributions are greatly appreciated. Please accept our apologies for any omissions or errors. WITH GRATITUDE FOR Rabbi Eliot Baskin The Julius L. Kaplan Family Trust Amy Toltz Miller and Howard Miller Samuel and Cherie Kirschbaum Inna Oganesyan and Victoria Martysh Neal and Kathy Kimmel Rabbi Birdie Becker Lyle and Julie Marguiles Amy Hill David Briney Megan Sherr John and Marjorie Berman IN HONOR OF ANNIVERSARIES Our 30th Anniversary Gary Kleiman and Elisa Moran Patty Bortz and Brad Schuster Libby Bortz Susie and Perry Moss Perry and Susie Moss Ruth and Warren Toltz Samuel and Cherie Kirschbaum IN HONOR OF BAR MITZVAHS Benjamin Goelz Martin and Ilene Lasher Ariel Avraham Markus Joe and Sandy Bean Jakob Rheins Mike and Kathleen Grazi Dan Shelanski Brad and Lisa Kornfeld Jan Fisher Herbert Josepher and Cassandra Robbins


hank you for your generosity! Your support makes our life-transforming work possible.

Peggy Beck Cynthia Chapman Pam Naiman Bernard Eisenstat Les and Estelle Levitt Sharon Feder Richard and Rae Negreann Monte Glovinsky Helen Bernstein Ruth Wolff Renee Gross Les and Estelle Levitt Jean Guthery Howard and Donna Lutz Dyna Harris Richard and Rae Negreann Paul Herschman Richard and Valerie Neff Beadie Lewis Irene Mayer Pam Naiman Cynthia Chapman Lea Oxman Marguerite Oxman James Puttmann Catherine Puttmann Edward Robinson Lynn and Lisa Taussig Elaine Rosen Cynthia Chapman Irvin Rubin Marvin and Shirley Leff Michael Stern Cynthia Chapman Ernie Stone Marvin and Shirley Leff David Weinstein William and Roberta Fishman David and Michelle Friedman Don and Linda Neuman David and Gayle Weinstein Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Bilett IN HONOR OF graduation Megan and Robert Siegel Rick and Debby Levinson

IN HONOR OF BIRTHS Alexa Berger IN HONOR OF MARRIAGE Neal and Kathy Kimmel Michael and Lauren Nevers Sarah Davis Mirella Schreiber The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY Yana Vishnitsky and Jim Wolfe Frances Kessler Luca Raizman Michael and Lani Kessler Howard and Donna Lutz Sophia Larsen IN HONOR OF A NEW HOME Mark and Robyn Tsesarsky Rael and Lorraine Lipson Helene Hoffman IN HONOR OF BIRTHDAYS Adam Agron IN HONOR OF Rob Kaufmann and Chip Getz Jen Gilbert-Kaufmann Kevin and Jynx Messacar Adam Agron Marilyn and Herbert Rubinstein Dean Prina, M.D. Kyle Framson

HEA Preschool Seals Class (3-year-olds) Tzedakah Project Scott and Shari Goldstein Ann Abernathy Denise Jendrusch Adam Agron Howard and Melissa Brill Lindsay Kough Max and Elaine Appel Joel Appel Dan and Amy Feldman Arthur and Arlene Moss Dick Auer Jonathan and Emily Musser Our children and grandchildren Jeffrey and Terri Auerbach Rob and Sam Baumgarten Kerry Hutsell Harley Spring Scott Bemis Thomas O’Donnell Beryl Brasch Mortimer Gordon Bruce Deboskey Temple Sinai Rose Medical Center – Ken Feiler Andrea Gwyn Anne and Dick Field Donald Chenoweth and Joanne Field Dr. Ralph Fisch Courtney Shelby Jan Fisher Robert Dykes Senator Joyce Foster David and Allison Foster Lauren Goldstein Steven Goldstein and Amy Wright Scott Goldstein Steven Goldstein and Amy Wright Sheryl Goodman and Shelley Krovitz Elaine S. Gampel and Alan Tedeschi Celeste and Jack Grynberg Rachel Grynberg and Rick Schepis Greg Harman Sarah Harman Mark and Michele Hellerstein Joe and Sandy Bean Heyman Family Jane Hartgrove Jed Jultak Joe and Sandy Bean Nicole Kramis Rick Schepis Steve Kris Bruce and Rhonda Wildman Allan Lackner Arnold Samuels Mimi Levine Rick and Kim Levine Les Levitt Lezlie Goldberg Alan and Peggy Mayer Alvin and Lisa Lucero

Lisa Mehl Bob and Robyn Loup Deborah Meisterplass Eudice Lewkowitz Jordan Miller Anonymous I. Bernard Munishor A. Herbert and Myndel Cohen Bernie and Berta Naiman Marc and Laren Naiman Neil Oberfeld The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Heidi Pittaway Stephanie Betancourt Cintra Pollack William Recht Roberta and Gerald Quiat Melinda Quiat Warren Rawlins Liz Gooch Dawn Richard Phyllis Vajda Rebecca and Brian Rosen Seth and Lauren Peritzman Stanton Rosenbaum Andrew and Robyn Levy Suzanne Robinson Bonnie Saliman Jordan and Bonnie Saliman Cathy Summer and Ingird Swords – Boulder JFS David and Cheryl Fellows Bruce and Rhonda Wildman Benjamin Valore-Caplan and Brook Kramer from Syntrinsic Michael Opatowski and Ruth Malman Yana Vishnitsky Diane Cook Walter Goldberg IN HONOR OF RETIREMENT Peter Guthery Howard and Donna Lutz WITH WISHES FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY Louis Gelfand Les and Estelle Levitt Les Levitt Michael Asarch The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Ely Birnbaum and Shirley Londer Agnes Davis Mankwitz Family Foundation Yana Vishnitsky and Jim Wolfe Donald Lozow Fred and Maxine Davine Gary Lozow The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Jerry and Kathy Berenstein

FA M I LY M A T T E R S J U LY / A U G U S T 2 012 Gary and Marsha Blum Neal and Kathy Kimmel Stanton and Jane E. Rosenbaum Chet and Louise Schwartz Claire Seiden Yana Vishnitsky and Jim Wolfe Pam Naiman Jon and Sheryl Goodman David Pollock Albert and Janice Dinner Cynthia Shaiman Striker Foundation Lisa Snyder Jeffrey and Lisa Snyder Anna Tsesarsky Don and Linda Neuman Judi Wolf Stanton and Jane E. Rosenbaum IN HONOR OF VOLUNTEER EFFORTS AT JFS Adam Agron Megan Sherr Sarah Goldblatt Estelle Meskin IN HONOR OF THE WORK YOU DO Caryl Buckstein The Denver Post Community Yana Vishnitsky Ken and Lynne Siegel Arnold and Karen Stein IN MEMORY OF Joanne Baumgarten Rob and Sam Baumgarten Donald Handler Harold and Marilyn Lande Terry Fenner and Dawn Richard Tess Vasso-Moffett J.J. and Brynn Asarch Anthony Hibbard Robert Hibbard Edna Stacey Stacey Saggese Michael Skolnick AllStaff HomeCare, LLC Nana Matilda Stepovich David and Anna Asarch Our Parents Larry and Susan Siegel Larry Miller and Elizabeth Post Gordan Post Ralph Klein Paul and Sandra Jeffery Dotie Allen Stuart and Elise Zall Marilyn Alper Richard and Andra Davidson Ben Cook Richard and Andra Davidson Lisa Fishman Richard and Andra Davidson Juanita Alterman Phillip Alterman David Cohen

Daniel Pulaski The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Yana Vishnitsky and Jim Wolfe Gerson Barter Joe and Sandy Bean Steven Becker Elizabeth Becker Irving and Paula Beer Ralph Powell and Shirley Beer-Powell Christopher Bennett David and Michelle Friedman Jean Stein Bloch Jane Routh Le Sylvia Brooks Betty Karsh Harold Bruno, Jr. Hal Bruno Erna Butler Eileen Charles Hyatt Angela Campbell Robert Campbell Dr. and Mrs. Donald Clark Jeri Clark Marjorie Clarke Tanya Akins Shirley Collins Cynthia Chapman Pam Naiman Noel Cunningham Jay Mills Wally Degginger Alvin and Bettie Steinberg Susan DeRosa Cynthia Chapman Maria Devinki Ron and Andy Linkow Sylvia Entelis The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Beatrice Epel Jon and Sheryl Goodman Evelyn Fantle Keel Coddington Blossom Fleming The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Terry Fenner and Dawn Richard Jerry S. and Freda Miklin George Chaitkin and Millie Wolkowicz Yana Vishnitsky and Jim Wolfe Cynthia Fowler Ben and Robyn Friedman Sally Goldberg Harold and Marilyn Lande Gilbert Goldstein Donald and Henny Kaufmann I. Bernard and Leba Munishor Ruth Goodman Les and Estelle Levitt Elaine Greenstein Jack and Marsha Feuer Michael Guzofsky David and Michelle Friedman Elliott and Gloria Husney Wayne Hoffman Cynthia Chapman

Edel Jacobs Larry and Debra Jacobs Ernest Jacobs Marlene Weiner Sarah Joffe Brad Schuster and Patty Bortz Wilson and Virginia King James King Helene Klausner Dorothy Wiseman Hinda Lapkoff Ron and Andy Linkow David Lichter Myrtle Shor Sidman Frieda Makovsky Mark and Susie Barter Pam Naiman I. Bernard and Leba Munishor Dora Mallinoff Lynda M. Goldstein Marilyn Markowitz Israel Markowitz Abby Meisterplass The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Shirley Epstein Burt and Ilene Follman Jeff Greenstein and Gail Krovitz Ralph and Berta Goodman Hadassah Study Group #29 Marvin and Aileen Marcus Ann Martin Barry and Florence Melnick Marvin and Florence Radetsky Charlene Shaffer Ira and Cynthia Shwartz Ralph and Debbie Sokol Mark and Susan Zalkin Harold Morgenstern Jill Henden Steve Moyski Steve Clarke David and Michelle Friedman Baby Girl Novodvorskiy Pavel and Nataliya Novodvorskiy Hanna Posner-Ohr Joanne Mayer Dan Pulaski Betty Karsh Mr. and Mrs. Morton Rechnitz Robert and Mindy Weinberger Alex Rittenbaum Albert and Janice Dinner Edward Rosenthal Bennie and Joan Bub Allan and Helena Striker Gerald Rothberg Rose Goldstein Ira and Cynthia Shwartz Renee Singer Liese Rothman Elliott and Gloria Husney Joyce Livingston Routh Jane Routh Le Rabbi Robert Saunders Daniel and Karli Sherwinter Nathan Schreier Edward and Judith Rosenthal

Lorraine and Steven Sekerak Michael Sekerak Hana Shalon Simon Brafman Anna Sholiton Ruth Ann Quick Sylvia Siegal Eileen Eller Martin Freedman Ron and Andy Linkow Robert Siegel The Board & Staff of Jewish Family Service Terry Fenner and Dawn Richard Christine McMillan Yana Vishnitsky and Jim Wolfe Ann and Joe Singer Anonymous Arnold and Donna Stein Paul Stein Anita Stieglitz Mark and Susie Barter Israel and Marla Levine Jack Thomas Dean Prina, M.D. Barbara Tobias Mankwitz Family Foundation Samuel Tyor Marvin Tyor Hugh Vaughn Martin Snow Becky Warnke Todd and Karen Warnke Mr and Mrs Alvin Weinberger Robert and Mindy Weinberger Stuart Weinstein Howard and Donna Lutz IN KIND Aish-Denver Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado Congregation Bnai Chaim Congregation BMH-BJ Congregation Emanuel Religious School Congregation Hebrew Educational Alliance Daisy Girl Scout Troop #1737 FoodWorks Fresh Point Girl Scout Troop #703 Grand Hyatt Denver King Soopers – Monaco King Soopers Reclamation Lilft-Up of Routt County Pizza Hut at Leetsdale Safeway Sunflower Market Temple Emanuel Temple Sinai Temple Sinai Religious School Whole Foods at Tamarac Whole Foods at Cherry Creek



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International KidSuccess: Helping Refugee Students Thrive


meta” came to America from Ethiopia and was having trouble with her seventh grade teacher, who felt that Ameta wasn’t listening because she always looked down when she was being spoken to. In her culture, looking down is a sign of respect. Originally from Bhutan, “Pema” spent the first 16 years of his life in a refugee camp in Nepal before his family made it to America. His school in Nepal was made of bamboo and built by a nonprofit organization. He struggles with English, making friends, and fitting in. “Farzad” is from war-torn Somalia, where his best friend was killed right in front of him. He is still recovering from the atrocities he witnessed. These are but a few examples of the difficult issues facing refugee children in Colorado schools. The Colorado Department of Human Services estimates that 2,534 refugees came to Colorado in 2011. They came from all over the world: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East — and all experienced culture Helping refugee shock as they adjusted to life in America. youth adjust to Adjusting to the American school system life in the US is one of their biggest challenges. Students with a focus on are faced with learning a new and different success at school language. They must learn and understand complex school rules and expectations. And they want to make friends with other students who may not appreciate their differences. The International KidSuccess program at Jewish Family Service helps refugee youth adjust to life in the US with a focus on success at school. Ralitsa Ranova, LCSW, PhD, is coordinator of the unique

Staff Anniversaries Congratulations to the following staff members on their anniversaries in July and August: 15 years: Mirella Schreiber, Senior Solutions care manager, and Marlene Adam, payroll coordinator. 5 years: Marion Goldstein, volunteer services administrative assistant; Ann Hoefler, JFS at Home caregiver; Sharon Sanders, SHALOM Denver administrative assistant; and Malka Turgeman, JFS at Home caregiver.

program and a passionate advocate of comprehensive school-based counseling for refugee children and adolescents. “Many refugee students come here after surviving war, ethnic persecution, numerous losses, or separation from family members,” says Ralitsa. “These children and their families have seen and experienced trauma that most people will never experience and can only imagine from newspaper and television reports.” The JFS International KidSuccess program offers cultural adjustment groups to help facilitate the transition to the US. Counselors work one-on-one with students to help them deal with past experiences of trauma, grief, and loss, as well as to overcome current challenges that they face at school and at home. The program serves refugee students at highly impacted Denver metro and Aurora public schools. The program utilizes psychoeducational and therapeutic activities and interventions, including experiential exercises, art projects, and group discussions. International KidSuccess also supports the staff at public schools with consultations and training on mental health issues affecting refugee youth and culturally sensitive strategies for ensuring their success at school. In the 2012–2013 school year, International KidSuccess will expand its outreach to refugee students in northern Colorado by adding capacitybuilding training for mental health care providers and utilizing interns from local universities. The International KidSuccess program staff has developed a comprehensive training guide for teachers, counselors, and students called The RESPECT Guide, which is scheduled for release this summer. This valuable guide will be used at trainings and will be available to anyone who works with refugee students. For more information, contact Ralitsa Ranova at 720.248.4641 or l

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Spotlight on Staff

Ralitsa Ranova, LCSW, PhD Coordinator, JFS International KidSuccess

About Ralitsa: I was born and spent most of my life in Bulgaria. I came to the US with my husband 10 years ago. I was working as a journalist and just earned my doctorate degree in philosophy when I won a green card and, by arbitrary luck, I had to start my life over. As an immigrant, it was my choice to come to the US and I had some time to prepare. Choice and time are luxuries that many refugees don’t have as they run for their lives from war-torn countries or because of well-founded fear of persecution. However, there was no way to prepare myself for all the challenges I faced. I missed my family, friends, and familiar places and lost my sense of belonging. I struggled to express myself freely in a second language. It was a huge culture shock that I today call “my blessing in disguise.” I decided to go back to school and become a clinical social worker, so I could use my personal and professional experiences in helping other immigrants and refugees entering this lifelong journey. Six years ago, my dream came true when I joined the Jewish Family Service International KidSuccess program

staff. My hope is that my son, Alexander, and every student I work with will have the courage to dream and the strength to follow their dreams. Greatest Weakness: My greatest weakness is also my greatest strength. I work tirelessly for this cause! Pet Peeve: People who lack empathy and who aren’t appreciative of or sensitive to diversity. Favorite Movie: Wings of Desire Secret Passion: I’m very ordinary. I like real life with my family. I do enjoy writing Bulgarian poetry. l The International KidSuccess program is funded by the Colorado Department of Human Services, the Division of Refugee Services, Rose Community Foundation, and Venoco, Inc.

Volunteer Spotlight continued from page 1 “In addition to their weekly commitment, the couple has taken on extra responsibilities. For example, last year when our food pantry operations coordinator took a vacation, Aubrey filled in and drove the truck to numerous grocery stores for early-morning donation pickups. Showing her dedication, Kay worked in the pantry up until the week of a major back surgery and came back to work the week she was approved by her doctor. Plus, at the end of each week, they deliver all of the leftover bread and fresh produce to a nearby low-income apartment complex.” Aubrey enjoys volunteering at Jewish Family Service because “I feel like we’re really helping people. JFS is such a great organization that does so much for people and the clients are really appreciative.” Kay, who works at the desk greeting people as they enter the pantry, says she likes the interaction with the clients and meeting people from such a variety of cultures. “It is very humbling to hear what some of these people have been through. Many of the clients are also very giving — I’ve had people give me cookies from their purses and eye shadow that I’ve complimented them on to show their appreciation.” They both say that they love “the crew we work with on Friday. There are two couples from our church as well as members of the Jewish community, and we have all formed a really close bond.” They add, “We were so stunned to learn we were getting this award and definitely never expected it. We don’t volunteer to receive any recognition, but we’re very proud to accept the Max Frankel Volunteers of the Year Award.” Before they retired, Kay was an administrative assistant to the principal at Heritage High School and Aubrey was a mechanic for United Airlines. The couple has three children and seven grandchildren. Thank you, Aubrey and Kay, for your incredible commitment to JFS! l

Ralitsa Ranova


Joyce and Kal Zeff Building 3201 South Tamarac Drive Denver CO 80231-4394


RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED tel: 303.597.5000 fax: 303.597.7700 Beneficiary Agency of Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado and Mile High United Way

Congratulations to the 2012 Para-chaplain Training Graduates!


ecently, five individuals completed the Bikur Cholim (Visiting the Sick) Para-chaplain Program training. Para-chaplains assist Jewish Family Service by providing spiritual support and a Jewish connection to isolated members of the Jewish community. Thank you to these dedicated volunteers for sharing their care and compassion in this valuable way. And no, you are not seeing double in this photo — there was a set of twins in the training this year! l

L to R: Michael Goldstein, Beth Lippa (Jewish Family Service Senior Solutions volunteer coordinator), Dr. Lois Darmstadter, Mark Goldstein, and Allan Kantrowitz. Not pictured: Georgette Kennebrae

July/August 2012 Family Matters Newsletter  

Learn about our Max Frankel Volunteers of the Year; meet our new board members; learn about our International KidSuccess school-based counse...

July/August 2012 Family Matters Newsletter  

Learn about our Max Frankel Volunteers of the Year; meet our new board members; learn about our International KidSuccess school-based counse...