Jewish Family & Career Services received the Atlanta Women’s Foundation’s 2017 Sue Wieland Embracing Possibility Award on Nov. 1.

The award is given to an organization that “demonstrates outstanding ability to make significant change in the lives of women and girls and by using an example of one individual that the organization sees as a shining example of their program.”

The award included a grant of $10,000 to JF&CS and a $2,500 grant to a JF&CS client, Mildred “MiMi” Mondesir, to continue her journey of success.

Mondesir, a single mother of two, lost her job and home after a rare illness, bullous pemphigoid, left her in debilitating pain despite 27 prescription medications.

“I couldn’t wear clothes, walk or sit because of unbearable pain. Unfortunately, despite being a loyal, dedicated, hardworking employee who made a measurable impact, my supervisor informed me that I was terminated,” she said. “As you can imagine, I was very depressed. All I could think about were my children. How could I take care of them? My health was gone. I lost my home, job, income and insurance.”

JF&CS Chief Executive Officer Rick Aranson, Chief Program Officer Faye Dresner (right) and Atlanta Women’s Foundation Executive Vice President of Mission DiShonda Hughes (second from right) join MiMi Mondesir (second from left) and her daughter at the Numbers Too Big to Ignore award ceremony.

Mondesir met with Donna Coles, a career coach at JF&CS, who helped her start a new job search, find a part-time role and eventually gain full-time employment. While she was searching for work, JF&CS provided food from the Kosher Food Pantry and other emergency aid.

Those services helped Mondesir put her life back together. She now works at the Georgia Department of Veteran Services and plans to move into a new home.

“JF&CS provided what many people need: compassion, understanding, respect, communication and genuine help. A hand was given, and I took it,” Mondesir said. “People are not aware of what’s out there until they are faced with unforeseen circumstances and have no idea where to go and who to turn to. You will never understand what it means to have the help such as this available.”

JF&CS CEO Rick Aranson said of Mondesir: “She’s a wonderful success story, a great person, and we believed in her. We knew she would be a success if given the tools.”

JF&CS Career Services provides career coaching for job seekers and full-day boot camps with information about job searching, résumé writing, networking, using LinkedIn and negotiating a salary. Employers are sent screened, qualified candidates for appropriate roles, saving them time and money.

“JF&CS truly demonstrates an outstanding ability to make significant change in the lives of women and girls through its ongoing work, and Mildred’s success exemplifies their efforts to lift up women in our community,” Atlanta Women’s Foundation CEO Kari Love said.

JF&CS plans to invest the $10,000 from the award in the Career Services program.

The award was presented at the foundation’s Numbers Too Big to Ignore fundraising luncheon, where former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave the keynote address.