JF&CS luncheon shows a sample of its crucial programs
By Michael Jacobs | mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

Jewish Family & Career Services focused on the how-to of its community services April 24 as it kicked off its annual fundraising campaign with the ninth annual Community of Caring luncheon at

Ashley Semerenko, an onsite social worker at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, discusses her work with clients in need on a video shown during the Community of Caring luncheon.

Ashley Semerenko, an onsite social worker at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, discusses her work with clients in need on a video shown during the Community of Caring luncheon.

the Grand Hyatt Buckhead.

“Why is there a need for our services?” incoming CEO Rick Aranson said to a crowd of more than 600 people. “Why do people come to us for help?”

In a video-heavy program, the agency presented what Aranson called a sample of the services it provides and the impact they have, such as:

  • Developmental Disability Services’ Tools for Independence programs, including TFI WORKS and Art WORKS. Special needs clients learn life skills and, if they’re ready, job skills. In the art program, JF&CS clients not only get to show their work in a Decatur gallery, but also share in the profits if the art sells.
  • The Holocaust Survivors Program through Aviv Adult Services. Hungarian survivor Eva Friedlander explained how JF&CS provides the services and support she needs to keep living independently in Atlanta, and she told about the importance of the monthly Café Europa social gatherings of 50 to 60 survivors.
  • Career services to shift career gears. Jennifer Tinter told her story of going back to school to make a career change, only to flounder for two years in science classes and lose sight of her goals and strengths. Her bubbe suggested she call JF&CS, and a 90-minute session in February with a career counselor she called an angel got her back on track and is keeping her moving forward. Aranson asked her to come back to the luncheon next year to tell where her journey has taken her.
  • The Ben Massell Dental Clinic, which uses clients’ visits for necessary free dental care to also provide mercy care and counseling. Client Markus said that after a year of weekly meetings, social worker Ashley Semerenko is not only his counselor, but also his best friend.NEWS-JFCS_dental
  • Shalom Bayit counseling to stop domestic violence, highlighted by a case in which a woman didn’t get the help she needed and wound up dead.
  • Helping Atlantans Manage Substance Abuse. Rachel Rabinowitz and her mother, Lisa Galanti, tracked Rachel’s journey from thriving child and student into teenage drug addiction until she bottomed out, got the help she needed from HAMSA and her family, and became a HAMSA counselor herself, where Aranson said JF&CS is fortunate to have her.

“You never know all the miracles that are happening across Atlanta on a daily basis,” Aranson said.

You can donate to JF&CS at yourtoolsforliving.org/donate/online.