I am the Executive Director of Furniture Sharehouse, Westchester's Furniture Bank, which provides free furniture to needy families. WJCS is one of our Member Agencies. WJCS Case Managers bring their clients to us for furniture assistance, and I am always impressed by the variety and depth of its many programs and the professionalism and caring concern of its case managers. WJCS has always been supportive of Furniture Sharehouse whenever we have asked, writing letters of endorsement, participating in special projects like our 2010 Mother's Day Awareness and Fundaising Campaign, providing representatives to our Community Advisory Board, volunteers for our furniture drives and more. WJCS management and employees truly understand the importance of inter-agency collaboration and mutual support.
Review from Guidestar
I am a rabbi who volunteers my services at the Bernstein House,a group home in Ossining, NY. The program brings Shabbat once a month to the residents; it means a great deal to them to know that the outside Jewish world hasn't forgotten them. It is a highlight for them; I know,because they say so! Without WJCS and this Havorah program, there would be fewer Jews in our community who sing, pray and enjoy the most important holy day in our tradition.
The Westchester Jeiwsh Community Services provides opportunities for our Jewish consumers that are (unfortunately) not available at all synagogues everywhere. Over the years they have provided the Saturday, Holy and holiday services for our folks to attend that they cannot receive elsewhere. Sometimes it is because they cannot maintain their composure and behave appropriately at all times. Many times there is no synagogue close by that is sensitive to these issues. The WJCS Services allow our folks to be themselves and still be able to practice their religion as best they can, (even if they are noisy, can't sit still for long, etc.). They provide opportunities for our consumers to interact with people from the community in a safe and excepting enviroment in the community. These services also provide them with opportunities to expand their relationships with others that at times serve as surrogates for family relationships vthey might no longer have due to distance or aging relations who can no longer travel to take them to their familty services or visit their families. These services also promote choice for our folks, and enable them to have more control over their own lives. Once they decide that they want to participate, they now have a place to exercise that religious choice in a place accepts them. Participating in these activities, gives our consumers the opportunity to change the negative attitudes of others, which allows our folks to develop a respect for themselves as well as being viewed as contributing members of society. Rosepaula Dziedulonis, Sr. R.T. Hudson Valley DDSO 220 White Plains, Suite 675 Tarrytown, NY 10591 (914) 332-8988
Last year I worked for the Parent/Child Home Program of WJCS and thought it exceptional for many reasons. Most importantly, it provided mentoring, vocabulary building and cultural access to underpriviledged children and their families so that they could start preschool at equivalent levels to other children. Through the use of books, songs, puzzles, cards, games and toys provided by WJCS and with the caring, sensitive and perseverent instruction by the home visitors, these children and their caretakers learned best practices for interaction and mutual development. The staff development meetings for the home visitors were very professinally run. And the group of home visitors also greatly benefit from knowing they are doing important, meaningful and productive work.
My Synagogue and community has benefitted from some of the outstanding services offered by the Westchester Jewish Community Services. We have been enriched by the exceptional professionals serving in our Partners in Caring Program, helping us to initiate a regular program of content for seniors; to develop a discussion group amongst parents of college students; and be available to staff and congregants for advice and counsel. Moreover, we have proudly hosted the Special Needs Seder coordinated by WJCS which helps to embrace many of the residents of Westchester group homes. Certainly an agency deserving communal recognition! Melvin N. Sirner, Rabbi Beth El Synagogue of New Rochelle, NY
Like the blind men and the elephant, no one person can adequately describe WJCS - no one can see all the good this agency does! Most recently I have been blessed to have been working again with WJCS's gifted Spiritual Care Coordinator, Rabbi Pam Wax, on another Healing Service to be offered here at Pleaantville Community Synagogue. They are dedicated, professional, competent, committed... and everything they do, they do with all their heart!
We have been connected with the WJCS Havorah program for 16 years, hosting their Yom Kippur service for the disabled. It is always a remarkable event, thanks not only to the content, but also to the very smooth logistics. Gail Oliver does a wonderful job.
WJCS has been providing outstanding services to both Jewish and non-Jewish Developmentally Disabled persons in Westchester for many years. The Holiday services and special events offer a unique opportunity for persons with DD to participate in religious and cultural activities that make them feel welcomed and a part of the community.
Having worked with Gail Olliver and her HAvorah program, I have seen true chesed in action. The consumers served are excited and full of energy and joy at sharing a holiday program with both adults and children. the congregants or students presenting the program are enrgized by the consumers who attend. It is a wonderful way to live Jewishly all around!