JFS Perspectives

Thursday, May 03, 2018

JFS: Serving People of All Faiths, Races, Ages, Incomes, and Abilities

JFS: Serving People of All Faiths, Races, Ages, Incomes, and Abilities

Dawn CollinsDawn Collins
Senior Solutions

Dawn, 77, suffers from arthritis and a degenerative disk in her spine, which limits her mobility. She doesn’t drive and needs transportation to get to the grocery store, bank, doctor appointments, and her favorite store, the Tattered Cover. She also needs a little help keeping up her apartment. Dawn was referred to JFS several years ago and continues to receive homemaker services and a volunteer driver. “Both are godsends,” she says. “From the very beginning, JFS was responsive and made me feel great. The support from JFS lets me be independent. I’ve been treated so well by Jewish Family Service and I’m very grateful to receive these services.”

Wayne BarelaWayne Barela
SHALOM Denver—JFS Disability and Employment Services

Wayne has been in work services at SHALOM Denver since 1989. He worked for more than 20 years as a member of the SHALOM-supported employment team at Xcel Energy. He has since participated in SHALOM’s pre-vocational program building work skills to prepare him for community-integrated employment. Aramark recently approached SHALOM Denver with an opportunity to directly employ an individual from our work floor and pay minimum wage. This opportunity sparked Wayne’s interest, especially after doing a job trial. Wayne’s brother, who lives with him, is also quite happy to support Wayne and possibly make this a family project. Wayne is very excited to have taken this leap toward independence.

Dick StolarczykDick Stolarczyk
Senior Solutions

Dick, 71, is an openly gay man who has been receiving services from JFS for more than four years. He struggles with a number of health issues, including early-onset dementia and fibromyalgia, a painful condition that leaves him fatigued. He’s a cancer survivor and has ongoing dental problems that will require extensive—and expensive—work. He continues to live independently but needs extra support. JFS has provided a Friendly Visitor volunteer who happens to be a retired psychiatric social worker and understands Dick’s unique challenges. JFS is also working with Dick to get him the dental work he so desperately needs. I don’t have any family,” says Dick. “The support I get from JFS is so helpful. My being gay has never been an issue. I can be completely open about it, which is comforting.”

Thamer AbdullahThamer Abullah
Family Safety Net Services and Refugee Mental Health

Thamer is originally from Iraq and experienced some of the turmoil in the Middle East firsthand. His doctor referred him to JFS for counseling, and he was also able to benefit from the Weinberg Food Pantry and employment support services. A practicing Muslim, he has always felt welcome at JFS. “From the first day, all the people I met at Jewish Family Service were so caring,” says Thamer. “They take care of everyone and treat them like family.” When he was working with his case manager to find a job, he expressed that he really wanted to help people. He came to the right place. He was hired by JFS as a driver for Lunchbox Express, delivering free meals to children during the summer. During the rest of the year, he delivers kosher meals to homebound seniors. “I enjoy my work and serving the people with food every day. I love Jewish Family Service!”

Moshe HolderMoshe Holder
Senior Solutions—Serving Our Survivors

Moshe, 88, is a Holocaust survivor who receives care management and in-home care support from JFS. An orthodox Jew, he was born in Romania and, at the age of 13, was transported to Auschwitz by the Nazis. He survived six more camps before being liberated from Tutzing in 1945. Moshe has since lived in Israel, Denver, and Miami. While in Denver, he was principal of BMH-BJ Congregation’s religious school for several years before he retired and moved to Miami. His wife of 63 years passed away five years ago and he returned to Denver to live with his son. “JFS has been so good to me,” he says. “They are very helpful, as much as they can be. I appreciate that they are there to help people like me.”



META DESCRIPTION: Jewish Family Service of Colorado (JFS) serves people of all faiths, races, ages, incomes, and abilities. See some of those stories in this blog post.