JFS Perspectives

Dan Stratton—Gay, Gray, and Thriving in Edgewater

Friday, October 07, 2016
Dan Stratton—Gay, Gray, and Thriving in Edgewater

Dan Stratton, 68, lives comfortably at the Edgewater Plaza Apartments. The apartment complex in the heart of Edgewater offers subsidized housing for 86 low-income older adults. It’s also the headquarters for JFS’s Colorado Senior Connections, a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC), which provides vital services to seniors where they live. 

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KidSuccess: Promoting Success at School

Thursday, September 01, 2016
KidSuccess: Promoting Success at School

Ashley Elementary School Principal Zach Rahn is on a mission: he is transforming what was once a poorly performing school into an exciting, creative learning environment where kids thrive. Zach and his staff are focused on creating a school community that nurtures the whole child, ensuring that each student receives the tools he or she needs to excel, including academics, socialization, play, art, physical activity, and emotional support.  

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Helping Marcia Navigate the Medicare System

Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Helping Marcia Navigate the Medicare System

Marcia Dorheim and Jodi Ansell

Shortly after Boulder JFS care management client Marcia Dorheim celebrated her 65th birthday in July, she ran into an unexpected surprise. When she went to the pharmacy to pick up her monthly medications she found out she was no longer enrolled in Colorado’s Medicaid program nor had she been transferred to the Medicare program after her birthday. A medication that previously cost $2.50 on Medicaid was now $107! Marcia turned to Boulder JFS Care Manager Jodi Ansell to help her find out why she had been dropped from Medicaid, and more importantly, to help her obtain her needed medications as soon as possible.

Because Marcia was at risk of having a seizure without her medications, Jodi immediately arranged for a JFS fund to pay for the drug. When Jodi went to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine for Marcia and explained the situation, the pharmacy ran the prescription through their discount program and the cost was reduced to $35.

After Marcia got her medication, Jodi went to work on finding out why Marcia had been dropped by Medicaid. It turns out that when Marcia turned 65 and applied for Medicare, she had not signed up for Medicare Part D, the prescription plan. Not only that, but the Social Security department had a couple of different names for Marcia, including her given name and her married name. This further complicated the situation. These are common issues people face as they navigate their way through Medicare. Fortunately, Jodi knew exactly what to do. She contacted the Boulder County Medicare counselor and together they were able to help Marcia with all the necessary paperwork to ensure she would receive her prescriptions through Medicare, as well as complete her name change paperwork with the Social Security Administration.

Photo: Boulder JFS client Marcia Dorheim with Care Manager Jodi Ansell.

 

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2016 Max Frankel Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient: Dr. Allan Cohen

Friday, July 01, 2016
2016 Max Frankel Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient: Dr. Allan Cohen

Dr. Allan Cohen, a retired psychologist and longtime JFS volunteer, received the 2016 Max Frankel Volunteer of the Year award at Celebrate JFS in June. He has volunteered with the Mental Health Services department for 12 years, providing pro bono counseling services to a variety of JFS clients. He also facilitated several staff in-service trainings for KidSuccess therapists about special education and school laws relating to it, behavior management, and more. 

Recently through the JFS Colorado Senior Connections (CSC) program, Allan began hosting weekly office hours for residents of Edgewater Plaza who are 60 years or older. During the 30- to 40-minute appointments, he provides “light counseling” sessions to residents who need to talk through an issue they are having, process any frustrations or feelings, and help them move on with their day and week.

In June, he started a weekly discussion group with these residents to talk about a wide range of topics. These discussions often lead residents to consider seeing Dr. Cohen individually to discuss an issue they never thought they would need to talk about. Felica Goett, CSC activities and volunteer coordinator, says, “Residents have really taken to Dr. Cohen and enjoy his laid-back nature. I have noticed that he really likes the opportunity to help people who have had a difficult past or who foresee a difficult future because of financial, health, or other issues.”

A Denver native, Allan received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, a master’s in clinical social work from UCLA, and a doctor of psychology (PsyD) from the University of Denver. He worked for Adams 12 Five Star Schools (Adams County School District) for 26 years, first as director of mental health services and then as director of special education before retiring in 2000. He started a small private therapy practice, which he continued after retirement for a few more years.

When his wife passed away in 2002, Allan looked for volunteer opportunities where he could use his expertise. Since he had spent much of his career working with children, he wanted to explore helping seniors. Allan explains, “I felt like seniors are mostly an ignored population and I wanted to give them a voice by truly listening to them and letting them share their concerns, thoughts, and ideas.”

He first volunteered at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless through Mental Health Colorado’s Pro Bono Counseling Program. Then, after some time, a friend mentioned that JFS offered counseling services. He met with Stacey Weisberg, director of Mental Health Services, and began seeing clients and consulting with the KidSuccess school-based counseling team. Stacey says, “I am so grateful for Allan’s continued dedication to our clients and staff. We value his expertise and are fortunate that he chooses to volunteer so much time with JFS!”

In addition to his volunteer efforts at JFS, he currently leads a weekly group at Morning Star Adult Day Program in Lowry for seniors with disabilities. In 2009, he was honored as volunteer of the year by the Colorado Mental Health Association.

Allan has truly enjoyed his volunteer work with JFS over the years. He says, “JFS is a fabulous organization that reaches so many people and helps so many different populations. The staff does a great job. I hold the counseling staff in high regard and enjoy consulting with them.”

When asked about the Max Frankel Volunteer of the Year award, Allan commented, “I was very surprised when I first heard about the award, but it’s a great honor! Honestly, the reward I get is doing the work. Every volunteer probably says this, but I get way more out of it than what the clients receive. I look forward to working with the clients every week!”

Thank you to Allan for his years of service to JFS! We truly appreciate all he continues to do for our clients.

 

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