By Rick Aranson | Jewish Family & Career Services CEO
Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection. Thinking over this past year, we all can recall changes in our families, in our work environment, even within ourselves. How we adapt to change, face its challenges, embrace its opportunities, and discover meaningful ways to translate what may be different to what is healthy and positive are measures of our success as individuals and as a caring community.
At Jewish Family & Career Services, change has been a theme for the year. We welcomed several new directors, a new chief program officer, an enhanced role for our chief financial officer, a new board president and executive committee, and, for the first time in 24 years, a new chief executive officer. After being JF&CS’ chief operating officer for the past 11 years, I am both excited and honored to lead this amazing organization as its CEO.
In the next several months, you will start to see changes as we craft our strategic plan and work to adapt to shifting needs and trends in the community. But what is not changing is our fundamental mission and our role as a safety net for those in need, regardless of age, faith or culture.
JF&CS is in a unique position to be a bridge between the Jewish community and the broader community. Our diversity is a point of pride. We demonstrate our impact as that community bridge in defining tikkun olam as healing — not just the Jewish community, but also the entire community. This message of inclusiveness enables us to have the best talents and partnerships to achieve our ambitious goals for JF&CS and its clients.
We have recognized we can accomplish more by working in deeper collaboration with other organizations in the Jewish community and the broader community. We believe by doing so we can best support the community that relies on us so heavily.
One example of a recent collaboration of which we are very proud is our new home for adults with developmental disabilities at Camp Twin Lakes. Working together, JF&CS and Camp Twin Lakes will enable our clients to live, work and integrate with the Twin Lakes community.
In the next several months, we will begin construction to complete our campus. This is more than just a capital improvement project; it is a way for us to ensure our physical space matches the quality of services we are providing.
Tools for Independence (TFI) WORKS will move from a small space in an office park into an 8,300-square-foot addition on our campus. We will build a private clinical practice within the walls of JF&CS that will include state-of-the-art soundproofing and a separate entry to ensure privacy. We will create a gathering space to connect our services to one another and to the community.
Our staff members are caring and compassionate professionals deeply committed to service. Each of the 30,000 people whom we impact every year benefits from the hard work and dedication of our amazing staff. I am humbled by their commitment to our mission.
We could not do what we do without the support of a very active board that helps us with strategic decision-making and who will, together with our staff and community stakeholders, set the future course of the organization.
Our volunteers are our hands, our hearts and our minds through many different areas of the organization, enabling us to do the important work that is so critical to our community.
As we look to the new year, there are a lot of new beginnings, and yet we know how far we have come as an organization. We owe so much to Gary Miller for his visionary leadership and the many contributions he has made to make JF&CS a vital and dynamic community agency.
A culture of caring for our clients and our community and the hard work of our dedicated staff, volunteers and board have established this agency as the go-to resource for so many. We see opportunity in the changes ahead, and we count on the individual and collective voices of our community to be the guidance for our future.