JFS Of Central NJ receives grant for Holocaust survivor/older adult care services
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JFS Of Central NJ receives grant for Holocaust survivor/older adult care services

Holocaust survivor Fred Lefkovic, left, with Dov Ben-Shimon, the federation’s executive VP/CEO; survivor David Lefkovic, and Tom Beck, JFSCNJ’s executive director, at a pre-covid Care Europa program.
Holocaust survivor Fred Lefkovic, left, with Dov Ben-Shimon, the federation’s executive VP/CEO; survivor David Lefkovic, and Tom Beck, JFSCNJ’s executive director, at a pre-covid Care Europa program.

Fred Kessler, the president of the board of Jewish Family Service of Central New Jersey, announced that the agency received a $150,000 grant from the Jewish Federations of North America’s Center for Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma. The funds will be combined with $50,000 in matching funds from the Fund for Holocaust Survivor Care from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ. The grant award will enable $200,000 in new programming for more than 200 people, with educational and therapeutic services to combat an increase in sleep disorders, emotional dysregulation, and substance abuse among older adults with a history of trauma.

The agency’s executive director, Tom Beck, said that he is “honored to have been awarded this competitive grant, which will benefit the Holocaust survivors served in Union County, in addition to all older adults in the community who are in need of our services during this prolonged pandemic.”

“The pandemic has shown what a difference we can make when we come together, especially for those older adults at highest risk of covid-19,” Mark Wilf of Livingston, chair of the JFNA board, said “Holocaust survivors are our teachers and our heroes, and we are committed to empowering them to live with comfort in their communities. The Federations’ system is humbled and proud to help thousands of Holocaust survivors, as well as other older trauma survivors and their families during their time of need.”

Dov Ben-Shimon, the executive vice president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, said, “Since we know that trauma earlier in life can impact Holocaust survivors and other older adults today, we recognize that it is critical to advance innovative person-centered trauma-informed services. Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ is proud that its partner, JFS of Central NJ, has received this important new grant and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ is pleased to support critical JFSCNJ work by providing $50,000 in matching funds.”

JFNA launched this program in 2015, with funding from the federal Administration for Community Living. Acknowledging JFNA’s impact, the federal government has increased the level of funding through the years, highlighting JFNA’s approach as a model for serving all older adults, and empowering JFNA to be the national resource center on aging and trauma.

Since inception, the program has supported approximately 30,000 Holocaust survivors, 15,000 professional caregivers, 5,000 family caregivers, and 2,000 other older adults with a history of trauma. Those numbers include a small amount of duplication, because some participants received services through many organizations and grants. Local organizations have provided specialized care in 54 cities in 21 states.

JFNA works in close collaboration with the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and other local and national service providers to implement the grant program. More than 60 experts in aging and trauma volunteer their talents to help JFNA implement the programs, train grantees, and build capacity to employ the person-centered, trauma-informed approach. Person-centered, trauma-informed care is an innovative approach, spearheaded by JFNA, that promotes trust, dignity, strength, and empowerment of all individuals by incorporating knowledge about trauma into agency programs, policies and procedures. Some estimates suggest that up to 90% of older adults in the United States have experienced a traumatic event during their lifetimes, which can affect them as they age. The challenges have become even more acute with social distancing and the threats posed by covid.

JFNA hopes to catalyze a nation-wide culture shift toward PCTI care across older adult populations, and it is proud to do this work with strong bipartisan Congressional support.

The program is made possible by federal funds from a grant through the JFNA Center for Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma and funding from the Fund for Holocaust Survivor Care from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

For more information, email info@jfscentralnj.org or call (908) 352-8375.

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