JFCS is home to talented and caring social workers. They are individuals who are on the frontlines of crisis, and help others work through change and challenge. There are no limits to whom they help on any given day. It could be the child with pains in his stomach every morning when he goes to school, because of severe anxiety. Or, the single mother who is trying to pick up the pieces after years physical abuse, and years of unexplained bruises and scars. Sometimes, it’s the senior in your neighborhood, who cries alone at breakfast every day, mourning the loss of his wife of 53 years.
Social workers teach others to cope and gain an understanding of life events. Last month, we celebrated those social workers for Social Work Month. We are truly grateful for JFCS social workers who are the guiding light through some of our clients’ darkest times. Each is truly committed to the client – the well-being of each and every man, woman, and child who call for help. In a spirit true to their profession, we wanted to share with you just a sampling of brand-new groups our social workers created, to help others as they continue to understand and meet the needs of their community.
Loss of Child Support Group
The JFCS Counseling Department recently received funding to establish a support group for those who have lost of child. Participants will work with JFCS counselors on coping strategies, handling the wide range of emotions, and sharing their experiences. While everyone grieves in a different way, there are certainties within the process. “The loss of child leaves an indelible hole in a parent’s soul. There is no formula for managing the intense pain of this loss or finding a way to carry on. Each person’s journey is unique to their own life experiences, beliefs, and temperament,” says Rena Essrog, JFCS Director of Programming and Clinical Services. “A support group provides a safe space to be heard by people who can understand the intensity of the pain. The opportunity to listen to others – and to be heard – are two of the most essential part components to begin the healing process. The actual experience of looking across at the faces of people experiencing the same pain can provide the strength and support needed for individuals to consider the possibility of creating a meaningful, but different life.”
Chronic Illness Support Group
Processing the unique and challenging emotions surrounding a chronic illness diagnosis can be debilitating for many clients. JFCS will launch the Chronic Illness Support Group on April 22 to help meet the needs of clients living with this challenge. Sharon Nadler, JFCS Senior Services Social Worker and the group facilitator says, “The group will be a place to grow and support one another, a chance to share and listen. A chronic illness is any disorder that persists over a long period of time that can affect physical, emotional, intellectual or social functioning. A support group can provide a safe place to talk about issues and concerns in a confidential environment, while offering encouragement and reassurance to each other.”
Project SARAH is Changing the Face of High School Relationships
As you already know, our Project SARAH program is designed to help those women, men, and children who suffer from physical, emotional and mental abuse. One of the biggest elements of this outreach is to help bring counseling, financial aid, and support systems to those who desperately need it. The hope is to emancipate them from the oppression and control that is common in abusive situations, and enable a victim to start their life anew. A currently blossoming component of the program is to educate our teens and young people on what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like– so they can stop the cycle of violence before it has even had a chance to begin. Being able to recognize warning signs and red flags can be the key to ensuring safety and well-being. JFCS case managers Hilary Platt and Theresa Carbon have been facilitating a record number of Healthy Relationships seminars at South Jersey high schools. The program is embraced by parents, educators, and teens alike. Platt says, “It encourages all parties to have conversations about potential dangers and possibly uncomfortable topics. It is our hope that, when the students participate in our program, they will walk away with several skills to be able to recognize domestic abuse.”
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