JFCS Presents Free “How to Save a Life” Speaker Event on June 20

What do you do if family member is admitted to the hospital?  How do you become more proactive when you are talking to doctors about your medical care – or of those you love?  What do you ask when trying to hire a caregiver?  On Wednesday, June 20th the JFCS Patient Partners Program will welcome Dr. Jamie Wells to present “How to Save Your Live and The Lives of Loved Ones: Becoming a Patient Advocacy Rock Star.”

Dr. Jamie Wells, MD, FAAP was named among America’s Top Physicians, is a Yale graduate, board certified, and award-winning pediatrician with over a decade of experience caring for patients. Dr. Wells, currently  the Director of Medicine for the American Council on Science and Health can be found anywhere from the Big Apple to the White House, helping the public understand and participate in patient advocacy. “With a constant surge of competing profit centers fragmenting healthcare, more layers than ever are in place eroding the doctor-patient relationship. Hopefully, you will leave this talk understanding how this diminishes care quality while acquiring tools to optimize continuity, a proven factor in delivering better outcomes,” says Dr. Jamie Wells.

The event will take place at the Family Activity Center in the Katz JCC building, at 12 PM, and is a “lunch and learn.” Guests are asked to bring a dairy lunch.  Refreshments and desserts will be provided.   Free to attend, but registration is required by visiting www.jfcssnj.org/drjamie.

The JFCS Patient Partners Program is sponsored by the Saltzman Foundation, Community Foundation of south Jersey Aging Innovation Fund, and Area VII Physicians Review Organization, Inc./ HQSI.


Tickets On Sale Now: Justin Wolfe Memorial Birthday Benefit

Fundraiser will Support the JFCS Addiction / Overdose Awareness Program, Right In Our Backyard

Justin Wolfe, a 2009 graduate of Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees NJ was 21 years old and attending Temple University when lost his life to a heroin overdose on Dec. 19, 2012. A special birthday benefit on June 11 will honor Justin’s memory and raise money for the JFCS Right in Our Backyard Addiction Awareness and Prevention Program- which has reached over 3,000 young people in South Jersey in just a few years since it was launched in Cherry Hill.

The program was developed between Gregg Wolfe, Justin’s father, and JFCS of Southern New Jersey to help increase drug addiction awareness and prevent future instances of drug addiction and addiction-related deaths.  Through the program, Wolfe joins drug counselors, recovering addicts, police officers and another area parent who lost a child to drug addiction to present panel discussions to groups of parents and their teenagers. It is brought to the community in partnership with the Camden County Board of Freeholders.

“Many people are in denial and don’t realize or don’t know, as I did not, the demons of addiction and opiate and heroin abuse that is rampant and has become an epidemic in our community,” Wolfe said. Wolfe notes that many parents in the area think drug addiction is limited to cities such as Camden, when in reality the epidemic has moved to suburban areas, hence the Right in Our Backyard name of the program.

“Even though people say they don’t have addiction in their family, it can affect anybody,” Wolfe said. As such, Wolfe said all parents should learn more about the dangers of addiction and the treatments available.

Wolfe asks any parents or members of the community looking to help prevent drug addiction to join him at Justin’s birthday benefit on Monday, June 11, at the Mansion on Main Street in Voorhees. The event will start at 6:00 PM. Tickets are $50 each, and include two drinks and a full dinner and dessert buffet.  All money raised will go directly toward funding the Right in Our Backyard Program and its work.

To purchase tickets to the Justin Wolfe Memorial Birthday Event, please visit www.justinforjustice.org/tickets. For more information on the outreach efforts of the Right In Our backyard Program, or to schedule a presentation, you may visit www.jfcssnj.org/rightinourbackyard.




Free BRCA Gene Webinar – December 20

Sharsheret will present a free national webinar, “BRCA Genetics In The News: What Do I Do Next?” on Wednesday, December 20th, at 8 p.m. EST.

The webinar features Sharsheret’s own Genetics Program Coordinator, Peggy Cottrell, MS, CGC, who will explore the latest critical genetics research, decode BRCA and other genetic  mutations, and help us understand what steps we need to take next. A Sharsheret peer supporter will share her personal story and a live question and answer session will follow the presentation.

To register for the webinar or to share the webinar with others in your network, click here.

Speaking Out Against Abusers is Paramount


By Lori Garber

Courage to speak out against an abuser is paramount in combating sexual assault.  The question is whether the recent reversal of Obama-era college sexual misconduct rules will discourage reporting by victims at colleges and universities.  Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos,  set an interim guidance for  a higher standard of evidence for victims of  sexual misconduct against their abusers.  Her reasoning was to protect the accused from being punished without legal due process.

Under the Obama administration, the Department of Education urged universities and colleges to commit to the prevention of sexual assault and adequately and quickly respond to assertions of the victims of sexual misconduct under Title IX, a federal law prohibiting discrimination in education.  

The standard was a “preponderance of evidence”, where, if more than 50% of the evidence points to misconduct, the abuser would be punished.  DeVos proposes the standard to be  for the stricter, “clear and convincing” evidence, which requires proof that  it is highly probable that the claim is true. 

Critics argue the higher standard puts an undue and often virtually impossible burden on the victims.  Others argue for the rights of the accused.  No one wants a college student to be expelled, jailed or otherwise ostracized based on false claims, but it is imperative that  victims of sexual violence not be afraid to confront their accusers through the legal system and they may if they fear they cannot adequately prove the assault occurred.  At this time, even with  DeVos’ announcement, colleges and universities can still choose whether to use the stricter “clear and convincing” evidence standard or the lesser proof of “preponderance of the evidence”.

Universities have responded.  Syracuse University, University of Michigan and University of Tennessee are among the many institutions of higher learning who will …”continue to resist policies that limit victim protections and will continue with their current policies  addressing sexual misconduct,” indicated a SU official.  Students of sexual violence need the courage to speak out and are more likely do so if they know the administration supports and encourages them to identify and confront their abusers.  

Sexual Predators Have Many Faces

… The use of power and force, whether it be by a high-powered Hollywood executive or a college student, shows no boundaries…

 By Lori Garber

What do Ashley Judd and Terry Crews have in common?  A 5’ 6” actress and  a 6′ 3″ actor and former NFL football player weighing 240 lbs?   Both have been sexually assaulted by Hollywood executives.  Both are victims.   They recently came out and  publicly told their stories of abuse and humiliation.  Sexual predators have many faces and do not discriminate;  the use of power and force, whether it be by a high-powered Hollywood executive or a college student, shows no boundaries.  In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, courage, it seems, is what is needed to stop it from happening.


During an interview with Helen Benedict, professor of journalism at Columbia University, she spoke with NPR host Michael Martin.  Benedict said of sexual predators, “The impulse is pretty much the same – to abuse power. You make yourself feel powerful by degrading others. It’s the same impulse that torture is used. You know, most torturers use sexual humiliation as part of their tools to torture.”


Crews felt powerless.  He tweeted, “Who’s going 2 believe you? (few) What r the repercussions? (many)  Do u want 2 work again? (Yes) R you prepared 2b ostracized? (No)”.  James Van Der Beek, another actor, recently revealed that he  was also a victim of sexual assault, and said in a tweet,  “I understand the unwarranted shame, powerlessness & inability to blow the whistle.  There’s a power dynamic that feels impossible to overcome.” Many victims of sexual assault are afraid to speak up because of fear of negative consequences. 


As the voices of the Hollywood elite, both males and females, are taking the forefront against sexual harassment, assault, and rape, it is now more than ever, imperative for those in college, where sexual assault and rape are rampant, to speak up and have the courage to do something even when there is concern about the consequences because if they fail to do so, the the abuse will never end.




Register by Nov 22 here: www.jfcssnj.org/wetoo



What Do I Say to My Kids?

What Do I Say to My Kids?

Tips on having conversations on the aftermath of a tragedy

Carlos A. Bermeo. LCSW, NBCCH – Director of JFCS Clinical Services

On the morning following the tragic and senseless shooting that took place in Vegas many parents found themselves asking the same what’s and how’s to explain to their children what happened and  offer comfort and a sense of safety.

While many parents struggled to find what to say to their children, others opted to say nothing or avoided the conversation in hopes that this will shield their children.  In efforts to provide some help to the parents, here are some suggestions for broaching the issue with your children, being mindful of the ability of your child to take in and comprehend information…

  • With younger children (preschool and kindergarten): Let them take the lead in the conversation, make sure your child knows you are there to answer any questions. The issue does not need to be brought up unless a child hears about it first
  •  With older children (elementary school): Parents should be more direct.  Parents should preemptively help their child know about the tragedy and share basic details and leave the door open for them to ask questions.  Note that they may initially say that they are ok but that does not mean that you shouldn’t talk about it.
  • With teenagers: Parents should have a more detailed conversation with children. Start by asking questions like, “Have you heard about this?” and “What do you think about this?” to find out what they know and what may be bothering them.
  • Children want to know if they are safe.  Talk about creating a safety plan with your child and what to do in an emergency.
  • Adults should not to say everything is okay, that it happened somewhere else , and it will not happen here. This may seem like it is comforting to a child however it is not the truth.  This varies for where your child is developmentally.
  • Although these suggestions are for talking to your children, parents and adults cannot forget about their own care.  Take time to reflect and for time for self-care.  You cannot help your child cope if you yourself cannot.

If you need help talking with your children, or your child needs guidance, contact the JFCS Counseling Department at 856-424-1333.

Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation In Summer…

Food insecurity is a family’s inability 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 the JFCS Betsy and Peter Fischer Food Pantries each year to do just that.

Six out of seven low-income children who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch during the academic year do not get that free meal during the summer. The absence of a meal in the middle of the day can be more detrimental to a growing child than one might believe. Children who lack proper eating habits often have low blood sugar, have trouble focusing, and do not have nutrients that children require to retain good health. With help from the good Samaritans of Southern New Jersey, JFCS can help make sure that no child has to go hungry this summer.

Summer food insecurity facts are quite staggering. Here are just some that resonate*:

  • New Jersey ranks 12th in the nation in the percentage of eligible children who received a free lunch last summer, according to a report released Tuesday.
  • 57,000 children in Southern New Jersey are food-insecure.
  • Families no longer visit “emergency food” sources for temporary relief; they rely on food pantries as a supplemental food source
  • 53% of households report having to choose between food and paying for medicine in the past 12 months; 29% face this choice every month
  • 68% of households report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities in the past 12 months; 24% face this choice every month.
  • One out of every 3 people who are hungry in New Jersey is a child.
  • About 1 of every 5 children in New Jersey is hungry.

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 and buying healthy food.  Most of the time the family has to choose to pay bills.  In addition to regular pantry items, 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, as they contain vital vitamins, minerals and contain fiber.

JFCS wants your help to make a difference for these families by donating items to our pantry.

Pantry Items Most Needed 





Snacks (pretzels, granola bars, crackers)

Tomato Sauce

For more information on our needs for our food pantry, please contact Andi Loew aloew@jfedsnj.org.

*Map the Meal Feeding America Study, 2014