Zumba, Zinburger, and more! That’s what the participants of the JFCS SAIL (Supports to Achieve Independent Living) Special Needs Program are up to this summer, and it is thanks in part to the newest addition to the JFCS family, SAIL Coordinator Kimberly Liebovitz, MSS, LSW.
Kimberly joined the JFCS team in June, and she brought along her enthusiasm and passion to share with the many SAIL members, who enjoy social and recreational offerings through the program.
“When I saw there was an opportunity for me to work at JFCS with the special needs population to support young adults in their social and community functioning, I was beyond thrilled. I knew that JFCS was one of the few local programs that helped support families in transition to adulthood and becoming independent. I then saw the opening for SAIL, and I thought it would be such a a blessing for me to be able to continue my work of supporting families and students after their graduation,” says Kimberly.
“We are excited to have Kimberly, who will be responsible for developing and planning the monthly activities for SAIL,” says Barbara Abrams, Director of the JFCS Special Needs Program. “Kimberly has hit the ground running, coming up with many new and innovative program ideas to keep the SAIL participants engaged and interested. SAIL currently has 45 active members who are always eager to try new things, so this is a great match!”
Kim worked as a school social worker, school counselor and as a child study team coordinator, which has provided her with experience to understand the needs of SAIL clients.
“It is not only my goal to help create fun activities for the SAIL participants, but to help participants build new friendships. One of the major benefits of having friends is that they improve our lives. They help us develop a sense of sharing, be it tangible things or just inspirational or motivational words of wisdom,” says Kimberly.
In addition to Kimberly, the JFCS Special Needs Program also welcomed Robin Cohen as the Soups and Sweets Special Needs Culinary Training Program Coordinator. “I was drawn to the position because I was looking to incorporate my teaching skills with my passion for cooking and baking … and this is that job,” says Robin. “As a former special education teacher, Soups and Sweets allows me to see what happens to young adults with learning needs after their high school education is completed. It is rewarding to watch them obtain culinary skills and know that there is employment in their future. The positive environment, the dedicated staff, and the volunteers inspire me to provide the best possible opportunities to our students.”
Robin was a member of the JFCS special needs job coaching team for the past year, prior to assuming her new role. “Robin came to JFCS after spending her 39-year career as a special education teacher, mostly for the Mt. Laurel School District. Upon her retirement, she knew that she wanted to stay working with individuals with special needs,” said Barbara. “Robin brings a great deal of spirit, wisdom, and experience baking to her new position and we look forward to having her in our Soups and Sweets kitchen.”
JFCS is excited to see the strides the programs will make with Kimberly and Robin as part of the team. Stay tuned!
**We invite you to learn more about information about SAIL Program, by visiting here!
For the brand new, delicious High Holiday catering menu brought to you by the Soups and Sweets Special Needs Culinary Training Program, visit here, and place your order!
Congratulations to Lilly Checkoff, who recently won our JFCS Teen Volunteering Video Contest on the theme “What Volunteering Means to Me.” Check out her wonderful video on volunteering here: https://vimeo.com/220967274 Proud of Lilly’s efforts to make a difference in our community!
Food insecurity is a family’s inability to be able to deliver enough food to live a nourishing lifestyle. 1 in 8 people in the United States battle with hunger and the ability to provide nutritious foods at the dinner table. Thousands in Southern New Jersey rely on our JFCS Betsy and Peter Fischer Food Pantries each year, and JFCS is asking farmers and gardeners to share their surplus with our clients during these summer months, via the JFCS Gardens For Good produce donation program.
The importance of fruits and vegetables is essential. They contain vital vitamins, minerals and also provide fiber. A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables helps fight against cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Fruits and vegetables do not contain cholesterol and are rich in potassium which helps keep blood pressures at a healthy rate.
Food insecurity can happen so quickly, due to unexpected events or accidents. Many families find it is an ongoing battle to choose between paying bills or buying healthy food. Most of the time the family has to choose to pay bills, which affects their nutrition. Since it is less expensive and easier to buy processed foods that are high in calories and fat, many families decides it makes more sense to turn to this option so they at least have food on the table. These types of foods can lead to serious health complications and can harm the growth of a child and their ability to learn and focus. The food born in our local gardens and farms, on the other hand, brings unparalleled nutrition.
JFCS wants your help to make a difference for these families and provide more produce to our food pantry clients. During the summertime, local gardeners and farmers often find themselves with more produce than necessary. Instead of throwing away these foods, we can all choose to make a difference in the community. JFCS hopes that the community considers donating fresh vegetables and fruit from your summer surplus to help our clients have nutritious food choices. The JFCS Gardens for Good produce donation program can help bring nutrition and healthful living to those who are in desperate need. For more information, or to schedule a produce drop-off from your garden /farm, contact Nina Staiman at 856-424-1333, firstname.lastname@example.org.