Guest Column by Rick Aranson
For 125 years Jewish Family & Career Services has made the needs of our community our highest priority. Our purpose is to understand what individuals and families need to be stronger, healthy, stable, safe. Of equal importance, we strive to determine how to make vital services accessible to those who need them.
As we prepare to celebrate the beginning of 5777, we pause to reflect on the journey JF&CS has traveled the past year. Thanks to the compassion and generosity of our community, we completed our capital campaign to complete our campus. This includes the renovation of our clinical space, construction of a new IndependenceWORKS building for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and a new gathering space.
The driving force behind our renovations is client care. Our Dunwoody campus is being transformed to provide the best service, ensure the highest level of confidentiality and promote the thorough integration of our services. The opening of our new clinical space will take place in a matter of weeks.
We completed a strategic plan for our organization with three fundamental goals: impact, adaptability and sustainability. Instead of measuring success by how many people we serve, we now focus on the impact we have on those individuals. We are committed to a more person-centered approach through coordination of services within the agency.
In addition, we are continuing to strengthen our impact on the community through intentional community collaborations:
- This year we forged a strong collaboration with Jewish Home Life Communities revolving around services to older adults.
- We enhanced our partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank by ensuring that food collected through Operation Isaiah lands on the shelves of our Kosher Food Pantry.
- We have partnered with Federation and the Marcus JCC in creating two Senior Days, which brought older adults to the Marcus JCC using our Alterman/JETS Transportation.
- We have also continued to work in partnership with Atlanta synagogues and schools to supplement their programs and serve as a resource to their constituents.
In addition, we brought One Good Deed, a friendly visitor program for older adults, into our Aviv Older Adult Services area. We are continuing to explore new collaborations and to strengthen existing bonds within our community to broaden our impact.
Reflecting on our new direction, we have refreshed our logo and tagline as well as the language we use to describe what we do. Indeed, we have a whole new brand.
Our community has come to know us as the agency that provides “your tools for living.” While we still provide the tools our clients need to live successful, independent lives, JF&CS is about so much more. We’re about improving the quality of our clients’ lives and maximizing their self-sufficiency.
Early this year, we introduced a new vision of what we aspire to achieve: a community of empowered lives. Our mission — what we focus on every day — is to make hope and opportunity happen for those we serve.
We would like to thank our community for its support. And on behalf of our entire board and staff, I would like to wish you shana tova — a very happy, healthy and meaningful new year.
Rick Aranson is the CEO of Jewish Family & Career Services.