Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Visit Our New Blog!

JFS Perspectives has moved! Check out our new blog at

Thank you!
Alaina Green and Kari Alpen

Friday, August 27, 2010

Speed Racers and Football Fans!

This month, some of our clients with disabilities attended special sporting events through the generosity of some of our donors and volunteers! Below are some highlights from a trip to Bandimere Speedway and a Broncos game.

The Guys Enjoying Their Night at Bandimere Speedway
On August 11th, SHALOM Denver director, Arnie Kover and delivery driver, Anthony Montoya, took several clients with disabilities, who are “real car guys” to the drag races at Bandimere. Thanks to the generosity of Paul Lombardi, food and beverage manager at Bandimere raceway, they were able to have a “guys night at the races."  Admission, hot dogs and burgers were provided by Paul and the guys got souvenier T-shirts to take home. In addition, Tim Hall, former Laradon Hall Director, turned race car driver let the guys sit in a real Corvette race car. Thanks to Paul and Tim for a great night!

Laurie, Denise, and Lee at the Broncos Game
On August 21st, Duke Kaminsky, a long-time donor, gave the JFS Group Home four tickets to a Broncos exhibition game. Laurie and Lee were the lucky residents who got to go to the game. Denise, a member of the Group Home staff, and Phil Rose, a volunteer, were the chaperones for the evening.

Phil has been volunteering at the Group Home for a couple of months, hanging out with the guys and watching sports at the house. He had expressed an interest in taking them on an outing and when this opportunity arose, he jumped on it! Everyone had a great time and upon Laurie's insistence, stayed until the end of the game.

Thanks to everyone who made these fun events happen for all the guys!

Friday, August 20, 2010

SHALOM Denver Hosts Colorado and U.S. Policy Makers

(L to R) Senator Linda Newell, Arnie Kover, Senator Joyce Foster, and Sara Leeper

This post was written by Arnie Kover, director of Disability and Employment Services.

On Tuesday, August 17th, SHALOM Denver provided guided tours to important U.S. and Colorado state dignitaries. The event was planned in conjunction with 30 other similar agencies around the country through our membership in IAJVS, the International Association of Jewish Vocational Services. On hand were Bennie Milliner and Eva Serenil, both community liaisons from Senator Michael Bennet’s office, Colorado Senator Linda Newell, and our longtime friend and champion, Senator Joyce Foster.

Bennie Milliner and Eva Serenil, community liaisons from Senator Michael Bennet’s office, tour the workshop with Arnie Kover to meet clients
Sara Leeper, SHALOM Denver coordinator of client services, and I discussed the rich history of SHALOM Denver, the various populations served, and the numerous services and supports offered. The Senators and Senate staffers spent almost 2 hours learning about SHALOM and its many benefits to those with employment challenges, all the while mingling with SHALOM clients, shaking hands, and offering words of encouragement.

Sara and I shared information about all the great employment outcomes that SHALOM clients receive and also discussed important funding challenges that these difficult economic times have created. “This is a great passion of mine and I will do all I can to support the work done at SHALOM,” stated Senator Newell. Bennie Milliner and Eva Serenil both appreciated learning about SHALOM Denver and said that “they see SHALOM as a great resource for the Denver metro area.”

It was a great day of sharing and collaborating with very important people who now know the importance of the services we deliver and who are committed to helping us continue our work far into the future. For this, we are truly appreciative.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Volunteers Go Above and Beyond!

Renee Singer, Rae Negreann, and Sandy Weiner
(Not pictured: Diana Sher and Diane Rubinstein)
Earlier this week, JFS Senior Solutions and JFS at Home honored some of their exemplary volunteers at a breakfast hosted at our office. While the senior department has many wonderful volunteers, these five go above and beyond. The staff members who work closely with these volunteers presented each of them with a certificate of appreciation and a gift card for their hard work and commitment to the agency.

Three of the volunteers, Diana Sher, Diane Rubinstein, and Rae Negreann, are Friendly Visitors who provide companionship to elderly adults on a regular basis. These volunteers have been dedicated to the senior clients they visit for several years and have helped them through many of life's transitions including moving and losing friends and family. All three women have forged strong bonds with the seniors and get as much out of the relationships as they put in!

The other two volunteers that were honored, Renee Singer and Sandy Weiner, help Doreen Osborne, JFS at Home staffing coordinator. These ladies volunteer a total of nine hours per week doing a variety of administrative tasks such as billing, timesheets, reference checks, and putting introduction packets together.

Thank you to all these volunteers for all that they do! They all felt very appreicated as well, and Sandy and Renee both commented that they've "never witnessed an organization that is so appreciative of their volunteers."

If you would like to become a volunteer, please contact Nancy Benyamin, director of volunteer services, at (303) 597.5000 x369.

Blog Signature

Friday, July 30, 2010

Moving on Up...To the Eastside (Tennessee, that is)!

Celia Gruzalski, Cathy Grimm, and Alison Joucovsky
This week we were sad to say goodbye to one of our dear friends and colleagues who is moving back home to Tennessee (she is traveling there as we speak). Celia Gruzalski worked for JFS as the Colorado Senior Connections (CSC) volunteer and activities coordinator at Berkshires at Lowry for nearly six years. Through CSC, seniors continue to grow and learn, remain independent, and enhance their quality of life by making new friends and creating a sense of community.

On Tuesday, CSC hosted a goodbye party where the senior residents got to say their goodbyes to Celia while enjoying ice cream sundaes. While everyone is sad to see Celia go, the timing of her move worked out well because JFS is no longer running CSC at Berkshires at Lowry. The program was always meant to be resident-driven. Since creating the program in 2004, we have helped them form a strong resident council that will continue to run the program successfully without our help.

Cathy Grimm, JFS Senior Solutions director, told the residents at the party, "You are our success story! You are not alone; I will continue to come to your resident council meetings and you can always call us with questions or concerns." Cathy also introduced all the residents to the JFS care managers and other Senior Solutions staff that are available to provide in-home support and counseling services. And due to the success of the program at Berkshires, we recently set up a similar program, run by Alison Joucovsky, program coordinator, using the same model to provide services to seniors in the city of Edgewater.

Watch a video clip of Celia's tearful goodbye!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Volunteers Become a Part of the (Paid) JFS Team!

Michael Titus and Chad Livermore

We recently hired two of our volunteers to work in the Weinberg Food Pantry! Chad Livermore, who began volunteering at the front desk last September and helped out in the Pantry for a few months, is now the Pantry Operations Coordinator. Chad is replacing Robert Roth doing food recovery (picking up food donations from stores) and maintaining the warehouse, which includes keeping it orderly, receiving donations, setting up the sorting area, and more.

David Rabb, Food Pantry Manager, says, "Robert worked here for more than five years and he will be dearly missed. As sorry as we are to see Robert go, we are excited to work with our new staff members and move forward as we start the Jewish New Year."

Another volunteer that just started this week as half-time Pantry Assistant is Michael Titus. If you read the July/August Family Matters newsletter, you may remember the Volunteer Spotlight article about Michael teaching citizenship classes and volunteering in the Pantry. In his new position, he is responsible for running the Pantry while it's open, working with the volunteers, and making sure the clients get what they need.

The Pantry is now "Total Client Choice," allowing clients to "shop" for their own food and choose the items they want and will consume. Not only does this new system cut down on waste, but gives clients more dignity by allowing them to select the items they know they will use. Chad is the behind-the-scenes guy making sure everything is set up for when clients come in, while Michael is more hands-on with clients and volunteers, ensuring all is running smoothly.

Since we just lost (OK, hired) two of our good Pantry volunteers, we need a few more people to replace them! The Pantry is looking for volunteers in many capacities both in the Pantry and to deliver food to homebound people. If you are interested, please contact Nancy Benyamin, Director of Volunteer Services, at (303) 597.5000 x369.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude!

Have you been meaning to make a donation to JFS, but don't have a "traditional" reason such as a birthday, anniversary, or Bar/Bat Mitzvah to commemorate through a tribute gift?

Jari Thymian, JFS database manager recently added a new way for donors to creatively give to JFS. Now you can make tribute gifts to express your gratitude for anything you want such as the beautiful weather, an upcoming trip you're taking, you finished a project or met a deadline at work. Be creative and celebrate anything in your life you are grateful for!

The Hebrew term for gratitude is hikarat hatov, which means "recognizing the good." Share your gratitude and recognize the good things in your life today with a tribute gift to JFS by contacting Jari Thymian at (303) 597.5000 x386.

Also, when you make a donation - of any amount - you will receive a personal phone call from Jari.  "It is so fun and energizing for me to call our donors!" says Jari enthusiastically. "I really get a rush out of finding out why people give and hearing how grateful they are to JFS for help we provided to them or a loved one."
She adds, "I actually get to see how infinite gratitute and goodness are when I make the calls. People are so happy to know that we received their money and we're using it for the program for which they intended." As an avid biker and poet, Jari shares an apt analogy: "Gratitude is like catching a tailwind on a bicycle!"

Now how is that for customer service?!?!