JSSA Impact Report 2020

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Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report



As this Impact Report goes to press, coronavirus cases are on the rise in many parts of the country. Since March, the pandemic and sub-sequent economic upheaval have thrown countless lives into crisis. Among its victims: too many residents of our region. They are older adults who are socially isolated, workers who have found themselves furloughed We are dealing or unemployed, adolescents struggling with a crisis that to adapt to the new normal, and those affects not only who have been impacted by the virus itself, including a disproportionate num- thousands of our ber of people of color. They are parents, clients, but hungrandparents, friends, colleagues, stu- dreds of our staff dents, and neighbors. and their families. They are our clients.

Yet, without missing a beat or day of work, these tireless women and men mobilized to address the new challenges, responding with grace and compassion.

We are dealing with a crisis that affects not only thousands of our clients, but hundreds of our staff and their fami-lies. Yet, without missing a beat or day of work, these tireless women and men mobilized to address the new challeng-es, responding with grace and compas-sion. Even as we expanded our work in every program area and shifted many services remotely, the work continued without interruption, and with a sense or urgency. And while our day-to-day work may look different today than it did in February, our mission remains the same: “empowering individuals and families to achieve well-being across their lifespan.”


JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report

You Stepped Up. Unprecedented times required unprecedented support. Throughout the spring and summer, you’ve called and written to ask what you can do to help your neighbors in need. Your ongoing financial investment allows us to expand the reach and effectiveness of our work when our community needs it most. We are especially grateful for our part-nership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. In addition, philanthropic support from The Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) enables us to meet the expanding need for vital health and wellness services and to care for the men and women in our community who survived the Holocaust. Your unwavering support even during the tough times ensures we can continue making high-quality, affordable, care accessible to all of our neighbors – regardless of their ability to pay. Our work will be more critical than ever in the coming months as we continue to address the impact of the virus, support those dealing with economic hardship, and address health disparities. You can de-pend on JSSA to be there for you today, next month and in the future – no matter what challenges your family or neighbors are facing. We are stronger together. Stay safe, be healthy, and keep in touch.

Candace Kaplan, JSSA Board President

Todd Schenk, JSSA Chief Executive Officer

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report



Against the backdrop of the coronavirus and an economic recession, your ongoing support is helping individuals and families navigate life’s consequential moments. Generous donations from individuals and collaborations with corporate, foundation, government and community partners have allowed us to not only continue but expand our services to meet the increasing community needs through Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.


Within days of the region shutting down, JSSA procured personal protective equipment to enable our staff to continue delivering critical in-person services including hospice and Premier Homecare. We also seamlessly transitioned other services to provide virtual care to existing and new clients. For instance, in April, May, and June alone, our staff provided 7,687 virtual mental health and other visits with children, adults, and couples, in order to evaluate, diagnose, and treat clients at a distance.


To help weather the current economic crisis, JSSA partnered with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington to provide financial assistance to the community for such essentials as housing, utilities, food and medical expenses. We also quickly mobilized to support adults with disabilities who were furloughed or laid off from jobs they secured through our Specialized Employment Services. 4

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report


Fifty of JSSA’s older clients are participating in a new pilot project JSSA developed using technology created by Israeli-based UniperCare Technologies. The new service, which was developed before the pandemic, enables homebound seniors to communicate with family and friends, connect and engage with healthcare professionals, and access live and interactive health and wellness programming. The pilot is currently available in Maryland and Virginia to members of our Holocaust Survivor Program on their televisions, phones, laptops, or tablets. Thanks to technological support from our staff and volunteers, the service is already proving to be an effective remedy for socially isolated clients. In addition, JSSA acquired 149 tablets for participants in our Coming of Age in Maryland program for older adults, a partnership between JSSA and the Bender JCC of Greater Washington. With funding from the Maryland Department of Aging Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Initiative, the technology is allowing participants to virtually engage in programming and with a social worker, increasing their quality of life and reducing the social isolation that has become even greater during the pandemic.

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report



JSSA’s mental health teams responded to the spiraling crisis by quickly developing new virtual support groups. New groups, which add to a long roster of existing support groups, have or will be offered for:


Earlier this year, JSSA welcomed three new members of the senior leadership team. Each has an impressive track record as an innovative and strategic leader. Their expertise is helping to shape JSSA’s response to the current public health crisis.


JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report

Chief Operating Officer Kylie McCleaf was previously CEO at Family Services, Inc, now part of the Sheppard Pratt Health System, where she spent 21 years coming up through the ranks to the top position.

JSSA’s Community Impact

• People who lost a loved one to COVID-19 • People who are unemployed • Teens and adults struggling to maintain a social life during the pandemic • Parents and teachers of children who are learning at home

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Amy Schiffman, is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who worked for two large hospital systems in the Washington DC area, started a Medicare home-based primary care practice for frail and homebound patients, and served as medical director for two hospices.

Chief Information Officer Cephas Silvera has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare with a focus on information and management systems. Previously Cephas served for 13 years as a U.S. Army nurse that included a posting at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report


JSSA’s Community Impact


JSSA began a series of staff listening sessions – one aspect of a commitment to ensure JSSA is more intentional and accountable relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally and within the broader community.


JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report


By creating a virtual platform for continuing education, JSSA is now able to provide professional development training to hundreds of social workers, and other mental health providers in this region and across the country. JSSA’s Training Institute is bringing its highly rated continuing education seminars to a wider audience of professionals on such topics as elder abuse prevention and response, substance use disorders, physician-assisted suicide, and dementia.


To help residents more easily navigate and access support services during the pandemic, JSSA, in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and a network of human service organizations, launched The Jewish Community Support Line, 703-J-CARING, very shortly after the pandemic began. By June 8, the support line began serving residents throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia seeking information about health and wellness, career services, emergency assistance, early childhood, and adult services.

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report



Evan’s life before and after COVID-19 provides a window into the commitment of JSSA’s Specialized Employment Services team to support its clients, no matter what is thrown their way. Not even a pandemic. Specialized Employment Services helps teens and adults with disabilities achieve long-term career success and self-sufficiency. With unemployment rates spiking and many businesses closing, JSSA’s employment specialists have been taking extra measures to support their clients.


of people with disabilities are unemployed or underemployed.

For instance, when the pandemic hit, Evan – who is on the autism spectrum – had been working for more than two years at diesel parts supplier Goldfarb & Associates. It was, by all accounts, a match made in heaven. “Evan could be my best employee,” said the company’s president, Saul Goldfarb, who admits he had misgivings until he witnessed Evan’s near photographic memory, knowledge of fuel injectors, and work ethic. “It’s hard to find people who show up every day ready to work – with disabilities or without,” Saul said. But then, in response to the pandemic, Saul was forced to furlough his entire warehouse staff. Evan – along with many other JSSA clients – found himself out of work. In addition to being skilled at job coaching and placement, JSSA’s team quickly developed expertise in helping Evan and other clients apply for unemployment benefits. 10

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report

JSSA’s Success Stories At the same time, clients who weren’t furloughed or laid off continued to serve on the frontlines as essential workers at nursing homes, grocery stores, hospitals, healthcare jobs, and hardware stores. “We’ve seen firsthand the positive impact of inclusive employment on businesses of all types and remain committed to helping individuals find employment and providing essential support to our clients at a time when it’s needed most,” said Tom Liniak, Director of Specialized Employment Services.” In recent months, JSSA has helped more than 100 individuals with disabilities secure in-demand jobs including at Safeway, Home Depot, Leidos, and Suburban Hospital.

Over the past five years, JSSA’s Specialized Employment Services has cultivated relationships with more than

200 local and national employers, resulting in

525 placements and a

six-month job retention rate of close to 90%.

As for Evan, he was the first employee called back to work at Goldfarb. Outfitted in the personal protective gear JSSA provided to ensure his safety, Evan said: “This is the place I’m probably going to end up spending the rest of my working career.”

“Evan may be our best employee.” – Saul Goldfarb

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report


JSSA’s Success Stories


On a recent summer day, the home of Mary and Jim is buzzing with guests including their daughter and granddaughter, who are visiting, and JSSA Hospice nurse case manager Carmel Mary Brown. Jim, who goes by “Captain” from his days in the Coast Guard, is recounting how he and Mary met in high school. The couple recently celebrated their 75th anniversary.

“In many ways our work is the same as before COVID, just with an added layer of PPE.” – Hospice nurse Carmel Mary Brown

Captain pauses to allow Carmel, who is dressed in an N95 protective mask, face shield, plastic “isolation” gown, and gloves, to take Mary’s vitals, refill her pill box, and check on how she is feeling. Navigating end-of-life care is difficult in the best of times, let alone during a pandemic. The combination of emotional and practical challenges can feel overwhelming. Since the beginning of the pandemic, JSSA Hospice staff have continued to care for clients in private homes, retirement communities, nursing homes, assisted living and independent living facilities. “In many ways our work is the same as before COVID,” says Carmel. “There’s just an added layer – literally an added layer of PPE,” she says, referring to the personal protection equipment JSSA has provided to every staff member who interacts with clients in person. 12

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report

JSSA’s Success Stories With life turned upside down, Mary, 96, and Captain, 97, have come to count on JSSA Hospice’s safety protocols and its collaborative approach. “We think the world of this group,” says Mary, who enrolled in hospice a year ago. She is referring to JSSA’s interdisciplinary team of registered nurses, hospice doctors, social workers, chaplains, hospice aides, and volunteers. “A lot of organizations are focused on making money,” Captain adds. “JSSA isn’t like that. This is an organization that cares about the individual.” In Mary’s case, he says, it’s not just that they make sure she is comfortable and has everything she needs. “It’s that they treat every person with respect.” “Carmel explains things in a way we can understand and is a trusted source of information,” he adds. “There’s a lot of confusing and conflicting news about the pandemic. Given our ages, we are especially vulnerable and count on JSSA staff to provide us with accurate information.” He also likes that JSSA cares for people at every stage of life – not just at the end – and that the organization “helps people regardless of their status.” For Carmel, the opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds attracted her to the job. “This is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done,” she says. Having arrived at JSSA in April from another hospice, she also is grateful that the organization cares about the well-being of its employees. For instance, the organization provides the hospice team with weekly COVID tests which, she says, “gives me the confidence I am not exposing my clients to the virus or taking it home to my husband and kids.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, JSSA Hospice has cared for

112 patients

with the coronavirus. In each case, the staff has provided reassuring and compassionate care to clients and their families.

JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report



Rooted in a commitment to healing our corner of the world, JSSA is a health and social wellness agency that provides expert caring to our neighbors across suburban Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Since 1894, JSSA has helped people age independently in their own homes, supported children in taking confident steps forward, and guided our neighbors through a broad range of life’s consequential moments.



JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report


JSSA empowers individuals and families to achieve well-being across their lifespan.


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JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report


Thank you JSSA Volunteers Even during COVID, JSSA volunteers continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of our clients. Volunteers have lined up PPE for our frontline staff, continued to connect (virtually) with at-risk older adults, and delivered Meals on Wheels to our most vulnerable clients. Our work would not be possible without our volunteers. To you, we offer you our heartfelt appreciation.




JSSA’s 2020 Impact Report