Friday, August 28, 2009
With the passage of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act earlier this year, a policy framework was created to allow increased training; a framework that is currently being translated into on-the-ground action nationwide. SHALOM Denver staff wanted to share with legislators what they're currently doing to complement the recovery efforts in Colorado, talk more about what they could be doing, and figure out how SHALOM might work with legislators' offices to ensure that the capacity of community-based organizations such as SHALOM Denver are being fully utilized as a vehicle of training and education within our region and the country.
SHALOM Denver, like many other community-based organizations in the region, is working daily to prepare workers for jobs in growth industries in Colorado. Filling this gap is an integral component to ensuring our employers have the workers they need and the unemployed are learning skills that will get them a good job.
State Representative Jim Reisberg said of his visit to SHALOM, "It is so important to see what types of services are available to help folks develop feelings of importance and to know they have value and can become constructive citizens. We need to support and appreciate organizations like SHALOM Denver that make these programs available for people in our community." He adds, "To see programs like SHALOM Denver on paper is one thing, but to come in and actually see these programs at work and to see the people that they impact is so valuable and could even change how funding is allocated in the future."
Thank you to the following people for attending the open house: State Representative Jim Reisberg, Leanne Arrant of The Capstone Group, LLC, and Deborah 'Deb' Parsons, District Outreach and Federal Grants for Representative Diana DeGette's office.
SHALOM Denver was recently featured on KMGH-TV 7's Road to Recovery segment. Watch the video to learn more about how SHALOM Denver helps people with barriers to employment enter the workforce.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Well, yesterday I got a wonderful email from Melanie, and I'd like to share part of it with you:
Thank you both for training me so that I could have the amazingly rewarding experience I had this week!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Sign up for our e-newsletter by Friday, August 28th and be entered to win 2 tickets to the Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, September 5th.
These are great, covered seats in Section 124, Row 31, Seats 1 and 2. Also included with the tickets is a parking pass for the MVP Lot off of Blake Street between 22nd and Park Avenue.
This offer is for new subscribers to the e-newsletter only.
Friday, August 14, 2009
"I was familiar with JFS from volunteering in the Pantry and I wanted the opportunity to learn more about nonprofit marketing," says Naomi. "It was a great experience and I enjoyed being part of the marketing team for the summer!"
During her internship, Naomi conducted several research projects, assisted with the agency's social media efforts, and organized our press clippings. "I had no idea how big JFS was or how many programs it had before I started my internship," says Naomi. "It was cool to learn more about the agency and how it markets its services and I enjoyed helping a good organization."
Naomi finished her internship this week to move back to Boulder. We hope to see her back next summer! Thank you, Naomi, for all your help!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
“I can honestly say that I came up with the idea on my own, but when Cantor Regina Heit told me JFS was already thinking along the same lines, they were the natural choice,” said Karen. “I know the Weinberg Pantry is going to put the items to good use. Also it may sound like a small thing, but JFS’s offer to come to Temple to pick up the baskets sealed the deal. With all the running around we had to do to make the bar mitzvah happen, I’m not sure the stuff would have gotten there otherwise.”
Karen, a family law attorney with Colorado Legal Services and avid needle worker, designed the baskets with a colleague. They bought wicker baskets, cellophane, and blue and brown ribbon (to match Noah’s invitations) from The Dollar Store, and filled them with canned tuna, corn, beans, and personal care items like shampoo and toothpaste from Costco. “Each basket cost around $9, contents included,” Karen said. “How many flowers could I have gotten for that price? Two? And flowers aren’t going to keep a Denver family together until the next paycheck arrives. The food just might.”
Partygoers may have been puzzled momentarily to find tuna and toothpaste on their tables, but all became clear when they saw the table tents that JFS provided reading, “The food in this centerpiece will be donated to the Weinberg Food Pantry in honor of Noah Sebastian Hübler.”
Learn more about Party with a Purpose centerpieces or contact Kari Alpen at (303) 597.5000 x 340 for more information.
Friday, August 7, 2009
“Sarah died at home on Shabbat,” Sue recalls tearfully. “I could feel her soul leave her body and I saw my mother and grandmother waiting for her. After that, I don’t remember much. I was basically comatose for the next several years.” For years following Sarah’s death, Sue saw numerous psychiatrists and was on and off many types of anti-depressants, but nothing worked for her. To make matters worse, a year after Sarah passed away, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer. With the support of her family, she went to LA for surgery and treatment. Fortunately, she has been in remission for the past nine years.
During Sue’s struggle with depression and other mental health issues, she got involved in “Bosom Buddies,” a group for people with breast cancer. “I became very active in this group - attended support group meetings, helped with fundraising, and served on the board,” says Sue. This group was in Phoenix, Arizona, where the family lived at the time. Then, three years ago, Sue’s aunt moved to Denver to be with her two children. Since Sue and her husband, Barry had no family left in Phoenix, they decided to move to Denver as well.
“As it turns out, I was not ready to cut my strings in Phoenix,” says Sue. “With my involvement in “Bosom Buddies” I had finally started feeling good again and then we moved to Denver, I felt lost and completely stuck in my grief for Sarah. Shortly after we moved, I saw an article in the newspaper about the Rafael Spiritual Healing Center bereavement support groups, but I was not ready at the time to tackle my grief.”
Sue continues, “I basically hid when we moved here. I stopped our traditional weekly dinners with my family and I couldn’t unpack any of our boxes.” This past September, Sue realized she needed help and sought out a psychiatrist. She was referred to a psychiatric resident who diagnosed Sue with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder, and depression. With the psychiatrist’s help, Sue realized that the PTSD and other issues stemmed back to her mother’s illness and death more than 14 years ago. “My mother was sick for one year with cancer and handled it with humor and grace,” explains Sue. “Sarah saw all that and I believe that Mom got sick to show Sarah how to handle her illness.” Sue’s role as both her mother’s and daughter’s primary caretaker had taken more of a toll on her than she realized.
The psychiatrist conducted a blood test that showed that Sue’s body doesn’t metabolize serotonin in drugs, which is why none of the anti-depressants she had tried over the past 10 years had worked for her. The doctor then put her on an anti-depressant that has been around for more than 40 years, that doesn’t contain serotonin, and Sue felt like a different person. “I finally felt ready to unpack boxes in my house, face my grief, and move on with my life,” says Sue. Shortly after that, a friend reminded her of the bereavement support group at JFS and Sue felt it was the right time to try it.
“The group came at just the right time in my life and helped me tremendously,” Sue says enthusiastically. “I was stuck in my grief for 10 years and needed a way to move past it and get closure for Sarah’s death.” For various reasons, the Silvers never had an unveiling for Sarah (the Jewish ceremony that typically takes place 11 months after one’s death to unveil the headstone at the grave), and therefore didn’t feel that they got closure.
During the bereavement group, Sue told the other participants that when she and Sarah were in North Carolina for Sarah’s treatments, they went to a new butterfly house exhibit at a local museum. “Sarah was fascinated by the butterfly house and we all just loved it,” recalls Sue. “The group participants encouraged me to create a butterfly garden in memory of Sarah, which I thought was a great idea!”
Upon completion of the eight-week bereavement group, Sue created the garden in her yard. Rabbi Baskin, JFS community chaplain and co-facilitator of the group, led a dedication ceremony for friends and family. “At the ceremony, we stood in a circle holding purple and white balloons,” says Rabbi Baskin. “Sue and others shared about the living legacy of Sarah, who, like a butterfly led a short but brilliant life. I then led the group in a reflection, we chanted the shehecheyanu (a prayer to thank G-d for bringing us to this occasion), and released the balloons.”
“When the Rabbi said the shehecheyanu, I felt a great sense of relief and closure,” says Sue. “I strongly believe that the bereavement group helped me move past my grief more than anything else, especially because I was finally at a place in my life that I was ready for the group.”
For more information on the Spiritual Healing Bereavement Support Groups at JFS, please contact Cynthia Heller at (303) 597.5000 x392.