JCF Grants-in-Action Update #28, July 2022
Updated: Jul 8, 2022
With funding provided for nonprofit organizations serving Southern New Jersey to launch new and innovative programs and services, JCF Grants enable the community to benefit in many ways throughout the year.
Below are recaps of several recently-completed JCF Grant-funded initiatives (edits have been made for clarity). Mazel tov to each agency for making SNJ a great place by launching initiatives like these!
Jewish Community Relations Council
Thanks to JCRC Israel & Holocaust Education Fellow Aaron Sauer for providing the following recap of their recently-completed program, "Teens Advocating Together" (pictured, above), which is also described in more detail in a Jewish Community Voice article:
"This past school year, local junior and senior students across South Jersey participated in JCRC’s Teens Advocating Together. The goal was to bring together a group of students that come from all backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions for a common goal; to make an impact in their community. The program, which was application based, met once a month from October through June, learning and engaging during workshops led by outstanding community leaders.
"The students learned from our guest speakers how to share their personal stories, elevate their leadership development, learn lobbying and advocacy skills, how to interact and speak with elected officials, and understand the process of making a difference in our community.
"Throughout the year, the students reflected on their own experiences and worked together to determine how best they can effect change in their communities and determined the most powerful way was to ask our local officials to implement a Diversity and Equity council in every Camden County public high school.
"The students presented their proposal on June 10th to the Camden County School Superintendents at their monthly meeting. From this program, the teens developed the skillset and ambition to take another step towards becoming active, effective leaders.
"Many of our teens are graduating and going on to prestigious colleges and universities across the country. However, (these) teens are committed to continuing this work in our community and using the skills they learned to impassion them to be agents of change as they continue their college and professional journeys. In fact, the following week, the teens presented again to the Berlin Borough School District and will be connecting with the Cherry Hill Township School District and the NJ Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning in the future."
2. Jewish Family & Children's Service
Courtesy of JFCS Grant Coordinator Lydia Silpe, here is a recap of "Cooking Companions":
"JFCS requested JCF funding to provide 16 seniors with Cooking Companion volunteers, who would shop for food, prepare nutritional meals with senior clients, and eat the prepared meal with the client each month. Despite the pandemic and its ongoing impact, we provided 10 seniors with remote nutritional and emotional supports through the Cooking Companions program. The program coordinator provided each participant with follow-up/check-in phone calls and encouragement to focus on their nutritional wellbeing, offering recipes and resources to them. On a positive note, two clients have recently been receiving in-person Cooking Companion services from their volunteer and three more will begin in-person services this summer. The remaining clients are still hesitant to have a volunteer in their home.
"In addition to phone support, the coordinator offered 6 virtual zoom workshops to all Cooking Companion clients in an effort to achieve greater social connection among the group and reduce loneliness and isolation. The Zoom sessions included PowerPoint presentations and cooking demonstrations. The participants became much more aware of what foods they should choose to make up a healthier plate. They also discussed topics such as portion size; how to cook once and eat twice; how to read “nutrition facts labels” and the importance of knowing the ingredients in the foods they eat; how to create healthy snacks without much effort; and how different foods can prevent or increase certain health conditions such as heart health.
"JFCS also held four group nutrition workshops for the residents of Jewish Senior Housing Facilities and Dubin & Gesher, and we aspire to hold 6 workshops in our new Family Assistance building on the West side of Cherry Hill.
"Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we held off on these in person workshops, attempting to return to a new normal just this past May, when we held our first in person nutritional workshop. Five eager participants met at the beautiful kitchen of the new FAP Building to a setup kitchen ready for their active participation, in a seven-course meal including healthy appetizers, vegetables, grains, gazpacho and salmon.
Some of the participant comments included the following:
“I would attend one of these programs anytime! I am ready for the next!”
“I so enjoyed last night’s dinner that I brought home! One item was more delicious than the next, and I still have more for tomorrow!”
"During the grant period, Cooking Companions also facilitated a workshop for our JFCS Bereavement group, where seven participants watched a cooking demonstration about how to cook for “one” and the challenges that cooking for one presents. The participants received the recipes via email after the Zoom session, gave positive feedback about the workshop and expressed interest in doing it again. This opportunity demonstrated that the Cooking Companions coordinator is available as a resource for other JFCS groups, and she will continue to encourage the staff to call upon her if she can assist in any nutritional aspects.
"The Cooking Companions coordinator also helped improve the nutrition of 3 at-risk seniors, with one-on-one nutritional consultations. These sessions included analyzing the client’s daily food intake, educating the client regarding portion size and “grazing” habits, and the importance of eating those foods that are “nutrient dense” versus those foods that are “energy dense.” Each of these clients has potentially life-threatening health conditions and the nutritional counseling, if followed, could likely play a significant role in improving and extending their lives.
"The program coordinator continued to check in with the “nutritional consult” clients through email and/or by check-in phone calls to help keep the clients motivated, while encouraging them to achieve their goals.
"We hope that the JFCS social workers in our other service areas will continue to make referrals for one-on-one nutritional consultations for their clients as this program is successful."
Lisa Goldwasser, Director of Philanthropy at Lions Gate, provided this overview of the Music and Memory Program that was initiated thanks to a JCF Grant:
"The Music and Memory Program was designed around the individual interests of the resident. The MP3 players (like the one pictured here from sony.com, that were purchased via a JCF Grant) have distinctive genres of music downloaded.
"Residents are asked what type of music they enjoy and we do the rest. Hits from the 40's thru 70's have been requested.
"Music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain; it assists with emotional and behavioral problems when used as a diversion.
"We have witnessed the music, first-hand, with a very anxious resident on hospice. We have experienced residents with advance dementia remember words from a favorite song. The program has been very successful."
In all, several dozen residents of Lions Gate will be able to utilize these devices to listen to their favorite music.
Thank You, Grantees!
These three JCF Grant-funded initiatives have made a noticeable impact on the lives of many local residents, and these positive results will reverberate for others as well. Thank you to JCRC, JFCS, and Lions Gate for establishing these worthwhile initiatives.
The Fall 2022 JCF Grants Cycle will launch in August, with the application deadline landing on Wednesday, October 26 at 5:00 p.m. We welcome applications from SNJ nonprofits seeking to launch new and innovative programs and services in Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties. Contact the JCF at 856-673-2528 or firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions.