Nearly 600 people joined Jewish Family & Career Services on a journey at its annual Community of Caring luncheon Friday, April 27, at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead.

Using the theme of the JF&CS Journey — from hope to opportunity to a better quality of life and more self-sufficiency — the event raised a record $501,536 for JF&CS and kicked off the annual campaign, which has a goal of $1.6 million.

The Community of Caring co-chairs are (from left) Staci and Joel Libowsky and Cherie and Gary Aviv.

The event co-chairs, Cherie and Gary Aviv and Joel and Staci Libowsky, shared their JF&CS journeys.

Former Little PAL Scott Tenenbaum talks about the impact on his life of the PAL Program and his Big PAL, Joel Libowsky.

Scott Tenenbaum, a former Little PAL in the JF&CS PAL Program, shared how his Big PAL, Joel Libowsky, affected his life and taught him so much — including how to tie his shoes — after Tenenbaum’s father died when he was young. The PAL Program is Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program.

The Avivs said that caring for their aging parents inspired their involvement in the JF&CS older adults program, now named Aviv Older Adult Services.

Attendees also watched three videos about clients from three JF&CS programs that have made their lives better:

  • IndependenceWORKS. Clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities are picked up at home by Alterman/JETS Transportation driver Calvin Matthews. At the IndependenceWORKS building in Dunwoody, they are greeted by caring staff and friends, then go to their activities and supported employment jobs, before returning home.

  • Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home). The anti-abuse program is celebrating 25 years, and this video shares the journey of one client who received support.

Photos courtesy of JF&CS