6 months into the 2020 COVID19 lockdown, and unemployed due to my age and increased exposure; our community newspaper featured a schedule for 50+ JOB SEEKER EXPOSITIONS. JCA offered free, virtual, seminars, led by professionals who are experts in various fields of business, who shared valuable job search resources. These Expos are important for many of us who are in career transitions and facing ageism, while the work-a-day world is going techno at wharp speed.
These Expos included ways to update and sharpen resume preparation, job seeking and interview skills; and featured at least 10 prospective employers, who had open positions.
Everything about the Expositions I attended were well-crafted to instruct, encourage, inspire and support my/our job searches —- into a brave new world, necessary for new employment, called successful “Networking.”
I also received hands on upgraded skills training through the JCA-Career Gateway Center courses.
Each aspect of the JCA’s multi-faceted service to seniors is EXCELLENT: The Core Staff, volunteer presenters, instructors, and mentors.
JCA: Thank you all for all you do and how you do it!
I cannot image having a better partner than the JCA has been over the past 3 years of the
existence of Greater Stonegate Village. JCA was there in the very beginning with sound advice and helpful tips to get us on our way when we were just starting out. Before we started working with them, we did a very thorough and comprehensive review of all our options for scheduling rides for our members. We chose the JCA Village Rides software as the best option for us, and that has proven to be the correct decision. The software itself has continued to mature and grow in the features it offers, and it has become even easier to use. JCA also provides an excellent training class in using the software. When GSV had some special needs, JCA stepped right in and worked with us to show us how the program could be adapted to meet those needs. They then continued to work with us in developing the reports we needed and made sure everything was working to our satisfaction
But the Village Rides software is not the only reason we feel the JCA has been an excellent partner and a great supporter of our village. JCA has always been responsive to the needs and requests from Greater Stonegate Village. There have been numerous other ways and many times they have reached out to helped us. Most impressive has been the fact that JCA initiated new ways they could be of help and support, and reached out to tell us what they had to offer.
We have been extremely pleased and happy with our JCA partnership, and highly endorse them.
Greater Stonegate Village
PO Box 10009
Silver Spring, MD 20914
I took the Council's Career Gateway course and learned to conduct an effective job search.
the quality of the instruction and materials provided in a prepared binder format was excellent. The Council makes arrangements for career counselors to speak to course participants individually as part of the program which was very helpful to me as I gained further insight into the job search. The Council offers tech courses on software programs and even the Zoom interview platform as part of the Career Gateway course, further enhancing its value.
The cost of the course including the software tech classes is very affordable .
After a long string of terrible events, I found myself living in my car looking into the abyss.
I got a call from the SCSEP - Senior Community Service Employment Program, administrator for the J.C.A. when I needed it most. This program has allowed me to earn licensing, educational certifications, and a stipend for working at other non-profits and government agencies. I was also able to take part in the Gateway program. I learned of this program from the participants when I interned at the J.C.A. Always good feedback. Best value for a job search program for older workers out there. A truly impressive group of educators and participants. And all are really nice. The program is up to date on the training. The networking on linked-In is well worth the program alone, and there is so much more.
I know from my experience That the J.C.A. and these programs have made the difference
for many older residents of our community.
I am a November 2020 graduate of the JCA Career Gateway program and I highly recommend the JCA organization.
They have a wealth of career resources for members of the community who are 50 years old and above. Training classes are comprehensive and well-staffed with experts who are knowledgeable in their fields. JCA also strives to keep its graduates aware of industry shifts, updates and offerings and are actively engaged in connecting their clients to opportunities to network and/or explore exciting options.
There are also opportunities to work with mentors.
JCA is an extremely robust organization and one of the best of its kind in the county.
My name is Clara Smith and I graduated from the JCA, Career Gateway program in November 2020. The program was very well organized and extremely helpful. All of the presenters were well prepared and presented their information in a very concise and understandable manner. Words are inadequate to describe Jodie Rasch, Manager of the Program. Jodie was very professional, friendly, organized and kept us well informed during and after the program. She continuously updates us regarding employment expos and career opportunities. I would highly recommend this program to 50+ individuals who are interested in enhancing/achieving their career opportunities.
I am a recent graduate of the Jewish Council for the Aging's (JCA) Career Gateway and Career Tech Programs. I am grateful that these programs exist. It's been a few years since I was a paid employee of an organization or business, and I was not 100% confident in my career direction. I knew I could not spend a great deal of money, but I also knew I needed some help. The cost of the two programs fits my budget. Knowing that if I did need financial assistance to attend the Career Gateway Programs or the Tech classes, that was doable through JCA.
I was unsure if my knowledge about the hiring trends, the resume process, and all the resources available to job seekers was current. Thankfully, the Career Gateway Program is very structured and current with hiring trends & networking; resumes, cover letters, ATS, Keywords, elevator speeches, the resume review, etc. Using LinkedIn, O*Net Online, and other resources in my job search. They also brought in experts to review our resumes and ask about our area of interest. I found this to be most helpful. I also found virtually meeting and hearing other class participants' stories to be uplifting and inspiring.
By the end of the program, I was more focused and knew which industry (providing services or tools to the senior community) to pursue a career. I am more confident in writing an effective resume for both human eyes and an ATS. I am more focused on my career research. Finally, I am more comfortable seeking out and networking with people in my new industry (LinkedIn and Meetup groups) and reconnecting with people from my previous career via LinkedIn. I took the Microsoft Office and LinkedIn classes through their Tech Program. It was good to revisit that which I knew and to learn a few tips along the way!
JCA also offers 50+ Employment Expos to the DC/MD/VA area residents. Here 50+ job seekers can talk to employers who hire 50+-year-olds. The job seeker can also participate in employment programs geared to 50+ looking for employment. Before the pandemic, they offered these expos in Bethesda and Fairfax. During these strange times, they are virtual. JCA did not drop the ball. They adapted to the new norm of a virtual world and continue providing outstanding services and programs to the 50+ community.
I highly recommend the Career Gateway and Career Tech Programs and 50+ Employment Expos. Thank you to JCA for providing these impactful programs. Thank You to the dedicated volunteers and employees at JCA who make these programs so successful!
The Career Gateway (CG) program of the JCA gave me invaluable insight into the job search process. The program fosters the positive attitude required to stay energized while job hunting. As a recent graduate, I have not yet found a job but I now have all the tools to do so along with the support of fellow CG graduates and coaches.
When I heard about JCA's Career Gateway program I immediately registered to attend with the hope that the instruction and coursework would benefit me in my career job search. I am so glad that I did; it was a home run and a tremendous value because it is such a well-run program that includes a comprehensive training guide and incredibly knowledgeable and competent instructors and guest speakers who know and understand the audience.
The instruction and materials provided by JCA are very well done and up to date, and our instructor is incredibly passionate, competent, and compassionate in her work.
Thank you, JCA, for making this program available and for making it so timely, relevant, and effective.
JCA sponsors a monthly Employment Expo, and a job training program, Career Gateway. I participated in both. The information provided is beyond valuable! There is no cost to log into the Employment Expo, and the Career Gateway program is very affordable for what's provided to the jobseeker. Everyone, from classmates to the facilitators, was extremely pleasant. I loved logging in each session of Career Gateway. The instruction packet provided was full of employment resources, organized perfectly for current and future reference. I would love to have been with everyone in person, but even virtually, I feel we bonded. They were such a great group.
The Career Gateway training was invaluable! Our facilitator, Dr. Elisse, our career guru for the week, knew her stuff; her discussions prepared us for reentering the world of work. I enjoyed the daily discussions because we all have a story to tell about our struggles and triumphs as we seek employment. I met some engaging individuals; it’s good to connect with people this way, those who can relate to you as an over 50-year old in today’s job market. Some simply give up the job search, but this training will fill you with confidence to keep at it! Resume reviewers will assess your resume! Do you realize how expensive it can be to hire a resume writer? And, the interview session? We observed one of our classmates at a mock panel interview; I was nervous for him, but we learn so much, such as how to answer those dreaded interview questions when you feel you’re under the microscope. Jodi, who coordinated our training, made each day a seamless session; we received a comprehensive binder filled with so much good content. I’ve said enough here, but I guess you know by now that I highly recommend the Career Gateway!
I attended and graduated from JCA's Career Gateway Program in January 2021. First, I really did not know what to expect and was even a little nervous about the unknown. However, those unsure feelings quickly gave way after speaking with the Program Director, Jodie Rasch, who immediately made me feel welcomed and reduced most of my anxiety. What most impressed me was after agreeing to attend was the professionalism of materials sent to me. The course materials were sent by way of Federal Express to ensure I received them before starting the program. When I reviewed the course materials, I was enthralled with the intentionality of making the materials stand out. The course materials are relevant and reflective of the current employment landscape and how best to navigate it. Another plus about the Career Gateway Program was the level and intensity of communication and follow-through that the Program Director and Career Volunteers executed; they did not leave any room for you to question what was next. Also, I can say JCA is respectful of the evaluation process. Each evaluation is read then acted on accordingly. I know this to be true because I suggested on one of my evaluations to have a workshop dedicated to Federal Government employment. That workshop will now take place on April 16th, and I am already enrolled. The JCA Career Gateway Program more than met my expectations. This is clearly a serious operation whose bottom-line goal is to help persons obtain meaningful employment after one has retired.
The JCA is a much-needed resource for the "aging" community and lives up to their mission and vision!
I attended and graduated from JCA's Career Gateway program for individuals 50 and over seeking to change careers or find new ones. A recent retiree, I missed the day-to-day routine of meeting with colleagues and contributing in the workplace. My resume needed updating, I needed a boost or kick in the pants to get back out there. I spoke to Jodie Rasch who was extremely knowledgeable about JCA's Career Gateway's offerings and was very comforting and I felt non-judgmental about my situation. She enrolled me in the Career Gateway program that day and I began attending virtual workshops a few weeks later. Despite the pandemic, JCA made it possible to deliver its program to participants online. No doubt this took a lot of planning and coordinating, but, they made it happen!
The virtual workshop was filled with people like myself...some nervous, but nonetheless eager to gain the necessary skills and confidence to revamp their resumes and learn interview techniques in order to interview for roles they desired but did not know how to use the transferable skills they processed to qualify. Workshop facilitators, including JCA staff, were knowledgeable about the subject matter, and I felt went above and beyond to encourage and assist participants.
I would highly recommend the JCA and their Career Gateway program!!! I have benefited greatly.
We cannot say enough about the Kensington Club at JCA in which we have participated during the past year of the Covid 19 pandemic! Of the two of us writing this, my husband is the official member and my wife is the "caregiver."
We initially discovered the KC club through a flyer at the library and noticed that is served those with early memory loss, which my husband has. He was invited to visit the club and it was an instant fit! Every one of the staff and clients were totally welcoming and compatible....
After attending the KC meetings in Rockville for a month or so, the 2020 Covid pandemic hit and safety restrictions interrupted the ability to have all such gatherings. Amazingly to us, Kensington Club quickly adapted and developed a wonderful Zoom program which has been our mainstay during the past pandemic year and still is, as vaccinations are finally beginning to occur. Of course, during all this time, we had no outside social in-person meetings - our life line has been meetings with the KC staff and other participants - on the average, two meetings a day six days a week! More than one might otherwise have had during "normal" times. What a marvel!
The zoom meetings have included a complete variety of topics from music sing-alongs with a variety of presenters, trivia brain teasers, Topic of the Day such as famous birthdays, World Poetry Day, Black history topics, women artists, and open discussions, and philosophy .... you name it! A series of nature center visits with a nature professional on topics such as native plants and more brought the outside in, capping off with walk in the woods observing all there is to see and to know about! Other active topics include art appreciation discussions and creation of one’s own art with a variety of art media and supplies, all provided by the KC club. So full and varied.
And there is weekly exercise as well – seated yoga, stretching, strength and balance!
Each month an amazing monthly program packet is mailed to each member including a calendar of events and at least one page of activities for each day of the month, plus supplies of any sort that might be used during a particular zoom presentation. For those who want less engagement, there are other options from which to choose.
While the zoom meetings themselves are enough to keep us interested and engaged, the KC staff is what makes it truly special and outstanding. The staff are skilled professionals, but most of all truly genuine, warm, and caring of each member, appreciating the individual qualities and personalities of each. There is a comfortable friendliness in the atmosphere amongst all participants and staff, truly a social conversational club. The meetings start of always with time for a general social chat amongst all. And during all of the presentations, no matter the topic, staff and presenters always make a point of including and drawing out the thoughts and observations of the members. It is never just a presentation, always a vehicle for stimulation and interaction.
In a final note, the KC club also has the well-being of caregivers in mind, with additional zoom meetings on pertinent issues such as dealing with various issues of those with memory loss, available community resources, and more. Further, there is sharing of opportunities for additional zooms in the community such as special Fall Prevention and Balance classes and others. Very comforting too is the sense that one can call on the KC staff to discuss any matter of concern.
In the interest of not taking up too much space, we will stop here but sum up the past pandemic year by saying that the JCA KC club has truly wrapped us all up as a KC Family!!
I have come to know JCA primarily through my work as a Teaching Artist with Arts for the Aging, through which I have engaged with the vibrant, delightful members of JCA's Kensington Club -- and the JCA staff who care so deeply about them. I cannot say enough good things about this program and the staff members who run it: joyfulness radiates from every individual, which, in turn, inspires me to give my best to the group. What a wonderful organization!
As a representative of Arts for the Aging, I am pleased to partner with the JCA Kensington Clubs with their virtual programming for older adults with early stage memory loss and dementia. The staff all clearly love what they do and care about every member. Kensington Club was one of the earliest proponents of virtual programming for older adults during the pandemic. In May 2020, they embraced the possible and created opportunities for social connection, exercise, arts activities, and more! They are open to experimenting and finding new ways to deepen connections between the members, caregivers, and staff. Our teaching artists are always thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Kensington Club because they know the staff are supportive and the members are eager to participate.
Hyattsville Aging in Place (HAP) is a member of JCA's Village Ride program and has gotten great support from JCA in providing services to HAP's senior members. The Village Ride software helps us coordinate and track requests for rides and other services, and JCA has tailored the software to meet our needs, as well as providing excellent training. JCA has also provided masks and gloves for drivers and riders during the pandemic and much needed office supplies for HAP's work. The quarterly meetings of senior village representatives that JCA convenes are a helpful source of information about the challenges and successes of other villages. HAP is very grateful for all that JCA does for area seniors!
I participated in a workshop for 50+ job seekers, and it made all the difference in how I approached job seeking. JCA staff instill a sense of confidence that is easy to lose while seeking a job at a certain age. Margo Smith has been with the program for years but seems not to have lost her passion for helping others.
Extremely valuable resource! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!
And IMPORTANT to remember--the JCA makes its services available to people of ALL faiths (I am Catholic).
I was fortunate to take part in the JCA's "Career Gateway--Job Search Workshop for Mid-Life/Older Workers".
Tired of being turned down for positions as an "over 50", frustrated, wondering "what is wrong with me?"...there seemed to be no place to turn to for advice and support.
From the moment you contact the JCA you feel like you're protected and supported.
The staff is extremely knowledgeable and up to date on problems the 50+ crowd face, as well as what resources are available to aid them.
The program is well structured and provides a wealth of information. From personalized binders and handouts full of critical information and resources to speakers pulled from the private and public sectors to HR professionals to review your resume--you are given all the tools needed for a successful career search. Extremely valuable--you are taught the differences between applying for private and public sector positions.
The JCA also offers classes on various software tools, in particular the Microsoft Office components, which are key for any job search, as well as expected knowledge in any career position.
Even after graduating JCA's intensive program you are not "alone". Their staff remains available to you for any support you might need, they provide you with a mentor, you receive regular e-mails with updates on jobs in the area or other career-related information, and there are the occasional "career-networking" events.
This was an extremely valuable experience for me and I would like to thank the JCA, in particular Jodie Rasch and Margo Smith.
I went to the JCA with hopes that it would increase my chances at a new position.
The atmosphere was positive & informative.
What I got out of the Course was to Network & my Confidence to Market myself with a Scientific technique! The Facilitator Ms.Margot Smith, is an Expert she helped me believe in me again. The encouragement is Awesome and I recommend this Program.
I now have a position in a company that is the Best in its Field of Expertise & It will allow me to manage my time & schedule as a Sales Representative with also the availability for Advancement and grow into a Business. Thank you Jodie, I am in your Debt!
God Bless all the Future Student to come
One of my fondest memories as a young father was reading a large pile of books to my daughter each night before she went to bed. Before long she was reading them to me, and now she is reading many of the same books to our granddaughter.
Reading has played an outsized role in my life and career. As a boy I taught my two youngest brothers how to read - they became voracious readers. And during my 52 years in broadcast journalism as a correspondent, manager and university professor, I wrote and read millions of words - I cannot imagine being unable to read, write or speak my language fluently.
When I retired at the end of 2011, I sought out opportunities to share my love of reading and writing and, if possible, to recapture the joy I had experienced those many years ago with my brothers and daughter. I discovered the JCA Heyman Interages Center. With its mission of placing senior volunteers in Montgomery County Public Schools to help young learners with reading, writing and math it was a perfect fit.
Over the last decade I have found my involvement with Interages so rewarding it has steadily increased each year. I have volunteered in virtually all of its programs at more than a dozen different schools and libraries:
“Read Aloud” for pre-K and kindergarten students;
“Grandreaders” for both first and second graders;
“Intergenerational Bridges” with both middle and high schoolers in ESOL classes;
“Dialogues Across the Ages” with high school juniors and seniors;
“Career Days” at elementary and middle schools;
“Job Readiness Mentoring” with high school students;
“Summer Grandreaders” at Montgomery County Public Libraries;
“Rockin’ Readers Book Clubs” with middle school students; and
“Beauty in Aging” with AP Photography high school classes.
In every one of these Interages programs, my fellow volunteers and I - there are some 250 of us - help young people strengthen their academic and cultural literacy. At the same time Interages provides the growing number of us retiring baby boomers with a most fulfilling outlet for the knowledge and skills we’ve accumulated over our lifetimes. Many of us volunteers were educators, and Interages allows us to remain active in education. My fellow volunteers are highly-educated, multi-talented, and well-traveled with diverse heritages and backgrounds. In addition, we Interages volunteers have collected a gigantic library of life stories to share with the future citizens of Montgomery County. And Interages has provided all of us volunteers with a second family - we all enjoy seeing each other and comparing notes and family photos throughout the school year. Indeed, we often gather outside of Interages and have developed great and lasting friendships.
Speaking of gatherings, JCA also holds an annual 50+ Jobs Fair, at which I have served for many years as a resume reviewer. The fair is just another wonderful way the Jewish Council for the Aging helps us seniors thrive. I encourage you to come join us.
Bill Torrey, Gaithersburg, MD
I wish to applaud JCA’s Interages program, for which I have volunteered since my retirement. It brings young people and seniors together in a wide variety of programs to the great educational and cultural benefit of both young and old. In Montgomery County, MD, Interages has played an important role in helping youngsters from our growing immigrant population improve their language and social skills. I also volunteer for JCA’s annual 50+ Employment Expo, which provides helpful guidance to seniors wishing to enter (or re-enter) the job market. JCA is an A+ organization.
This is one of the rare non-profit organizations that encourages career growth and employment opportunities for the aging population. We are an untapped resource of brilliance in this global economy and are often over-looked for obvious reasons. JCA recognizes the professional, social, economical, cultural, and educational value that seniors offer the workplace and do a stellar job organizing resources and networks to support those of us who aren't ready to retire yet!
As a 73-year-old retiree, I found The Career Gateway Job Search Workshop in September, 2019 to be a great way to get invaluable training and individualized attention. Jodi Rasch , the coordinator, and Margo Smith, the facilitator, could not have been more encouraging, helpful, and informative, They created a safe, non-judgmental, and empowering environment in which I and others in the class responded with creative energy to revise resumes, understand ourselves better, and explore the changing job market. The organization and flexibility were great. I had the opportunity to do a demo interview which really helped me realize the strategy that best fits my goals. The computer classes and mentoring services helped to follow through with lessons learned. Although I applied to the George Mason University positions with renewed confidence and skill set to expect successful outcomes, I have had other challenges in the interim. I hope to resume my search as circumstances permit. I give this program and organization the highest commendation.
The Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington (Career Gateway).
In March of this year I participated in the Career Gateway Workshop in Rockville Maryland.
It was a rewarding experience. I felt encouraged to move forward in seeking employment. The workforce is not the same and for someone my age without a degree at 65 with an enormous background in various fields, I realized that searching for employment, I would need to gain knowledge on how to market my skills in the workforce of today. . Attending the workshop encouraged and provided me with the confidence at 65, that I still have a lot to offer employers. Margo and Jodie are a welcoming support system. I recommend any one over 50+ to attend. Danielle Daniels
I had the opportunity to participate in the Career Gateway Job Workshop sponsored by the Jewish Council for the Aging in April 2019. I will always remember this experience as one of the most valuable and meaningful experiences of my life. The manger, Jodie Rasch and workshop leader, Margo Smith were passionate, well-informed and focused, contributing to the excellence of this program. Also the guest presenters, volunteers and staff involved in the program were outstanding. I would heartily recommend this program to everyone and I am truly impressed with all the work this organization does for the community.
JCA's Career Gateway workshop and follow up assistance was invaluable to discovering my "Second Act" and developing a focused plan after "retiring" from a rewarding career. The facilitators and mentors during and after the two-week session were very kind, understanding, and also great motivators. Although this time of COVID-19 is extra challenging, the skills and support I obtained will sustain me as I work on my goals.
This was my first in-depth exposure to JCA and I can see that they really internalize their motto, "Helping All Seniors Thrive." The Washington metro area is a better place because of JCA. Thanks!
Villages of Kensington is a small non-profit operating in Montgomery County. It’s mission is to support older persons who choose to stay in their homes as they retire but remain active in their communities. The Jewish Council on Aging has helped us at every point in our development as we strive to provide essential support services and social outlets for a growing older population. Their staff is responsive, knowledgeable and unwaveringly dedicated to serving the needs of older persons in our community. We, as a Village, owe JCA much in terms of their ongoing help with the transportation element of our mission as well as with their continued assistance with printing materials for distribution. We couldn’t do it without JCA!
The Montgomery County Government and the Area Agency on Aging is proud to support and partner with Jewish Council for the Aging and Kensington Clubs with all of the great work they do for older adults with a diagnosis of early-stage memory loss in the community. Their passion, energy, and expertise exudes with the programs and services they provide to the community each day. Their dedication to serving a population in need is truly amazing. Their newest innovation is Kensington Club On-Screen. This remote program connects Club participants to familiar faces and person-centered activities in a time of crisis.
JCA was a great support system for me during a year of transition. I appreciated the warmth, care and guidance from numerous mentors. The positive personalized touch is where JCA stands out and makes a difference in the lives of people. The people I have met at JCA are contacts and friends for life.
Helping Hands University Park was among the first 2 Villages serving seniors in Prince George's County to be accepted into JCA's VillageRides program. That helped us launch our Village, in formation for a long time but unable to serve seniors until then. Thanks to JCA's forward-looking VillageRides program, we have a database tracking all of our seniors and volunteers, we are able to put out our members' requests for rides as well as other services. e.g. help with errands, computers and minor repairs, friendly calls, and yardwork. We have access to help with marketing materials and the expertise of JCA staff. Our quarterly meetings bring different Villages together to share our experiences and knowledge with others. The JCA staff is extremely responsive and easy to work with. I am so grateful for this small part of what the Jewish Council for the Aging does for the entire DC., MD and VA community. Loretta Vitale Saks, Chairperson, HHUP
Two great programs they have that have helped me: Interages and Career Gateway. Through Interages, I've been a Head Start volunteer one day per week for about three hours, for the past five years. I started when I retired. It has given me some structure and I really enjoy these four-year-olds! I just completed Career Gateway, so haven't yet had time to use what I learned in any job search (especially with Covid keeping folks at home). It was very stimulating and informative, as well as supportive and I hope to use some of what I learned in seeking future employment or entrepreneurial or volunteer activities.
I want to commend the Jewish Council for the Aging and its Career Gateway program. I hadn't looked for a job for a couple of decades and the Career Gateway program brought me up to speed on internet job searches, using social media platforms for job interviews, LinkedIn and all the rest. I updated my sadly out-of-date resume. And the encouragement and positive attitude - definitely a huge plus. And it has been effective for me. I have had job offers for jobs I tracked down online. It works and I highly recommend it. Thank you to the Jewish Council for the Aging.
For a very modest cost, the Jewish Council for the Aging sponsored the Career Gateway course I took, helping to re-focus my job search. Both the lead facilitator, and many of the presenters through the course and after the course's' conclusion all assisted my job search. Also, the opportunity to link to a mentor following the program was especially helpful
My name is Mitzi Jackson and this is my story.
One of my most challenging events was the day in 2011 when I became homeless with my family. It happened after the dry cleaners where I worked was sold and my unemployment benefits ran out, which led to eviction from my apartment. My only alternative was a homeless shelter for myself self and my family lived for 8 months.
But the "silver lining" is that as a result of being homeless and registering with Montgomery Works, I was able to connect with the SECEP program with training and programs that helped to fix my SOUL now my family and myself share a townhouse in Germantown, MD.
I would like to say THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE HELPED ME ACCOMPLISH.
From the training I received at SECEP I start a position with a Security company in June of 2013. I now have a better position with DOE thanks the Maria, Bonnie, Sandy, Quintin, and Kim.
Please continue the work that you do.
THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY LIFE.
Kensington Club JCA has been a God send for my family. My mother recently moved here from out of state because she was having difficulty with her memory. Losing some her independence and moving to unfamiliar environment caused her withdraw and isolate. Our family started to look for a program for her and we found JCA. It was perfect, just the the right fit. We did a few trial visits and she enjoyed it. JCA helped restore her confidence and self esteem. She refers to the program as 'school', because she's learning and meeting her friends. It has given her a purpose and something to look forward to everyday. KC is truly a warm and caring environment. She doesn't feel judged or different, just appreciated and loved. During this COVID19 pandemic, Kensington club has gone above and beyond all expectations. They have kept in touch with weekly phone pal calls, mailed packets home, sent information on resources to use at home and the one my mother really appreciated was the interactive sing along video they posted online. That video really lifted her spirits. We are so thankful for everyone at KC and especially Colleen and Karen who have been so helpful guiding us throughout this journey. I highly recommend JCA Kensington Club to anyone who has a loved one dealing with early memory loss dementia.
My wife Carol has been dealing with moderate dementia for several years. In addition, she has also dealt with depression for more than 25 years. They unfortunately play off each other. During a therapy session, her therapist suggested that a group environment with other people whom are likewise disabled would be very helpful. She highly recommended the JCA Kensington Club in Rockville, Maryland and we followed up several months ago with a trial visit. My wife who tends to be shy, really liked that initial visit and she started to attend on a weekly basis. She really has grown by attending these group sessions and feels totally welcome attending each week. She always comments on what a great job the staff does in making everyone feel comfortable. With the present coronavirus issue they are temporarily on break and she really misses those sessions and looks forward to the reopening of the Kensington Club.
The Jewish Council for the Aging's Kensington Club (KC) has provided my husband, Leon, with an enriching, caring, and sharing experience twice a week for almost a year since we found out about this wonderful activity.
Leon, who has early Alzheimer's Dementia, has found a welcoming and nonjudgemental group environment where he can flourish. He especially loves looking through his music and short film collection at home for pieces that he can take to share with his KC cohorts.
I also have found the KC staff, led by Karen Miller, to be especially warm and thoughtful. We pass text messages back and forth to warn about transportation delays or perhaps Leon not feeling 100 percent that day. I don't have second thoughts about Leon's welfare when he is at KC, since I know the staff is watching carefully over all of the cohorts and ready to alert the home caregivers of any issues observed.
Leon looks forward to many of the special activities, such as a Spanish dance team demonstration, musicians and singers, and senior exercise (some led by exercise specialists, some just walking with KC staff around a large gym). He also especially likes visiting a local elementary school where the KC cohorts are teamed with individual students on short educational projects.
During the current coronavirus shutdown, the KC staff has sent activity sheets digitally to the KC cohorts to keep them active mentally. In addition, a KC staff member has called to chat with Leon during the week to let him know everyone is thinking of him and to keep him socially engaged.
The Kensington Club experience has been most rewarding and fulfilliing for Leon. He can feel independent while protected and appreciated. In addition, it has helped give me a respite period when I can recharge my psychological batteries and attend to other home projects. In summary, we both are thankful for KC and look forward to its resumption after the pandemic disruption is over.
To Whom It May Concern,
I started volunteering, once a week, at the JCA Kensington Club in Germantown in January 2019. I had no idea what to expect. I cannot praise this wonderful organization enough! I have told people about it who live in other states. I wish they would have Kensington Clubs all over America! There is not one moment that our Friends are not engaged in activities. They all happily participate! The people who work there, and the volunteers, are all there to Be Of Service. We spend four hours together laughing, learning, celebrating, and being Present in every moment.
I have learned much from listening to and observing the gentleness of how Karen and Dana are with our Friends. I've come to think of everyone in our group as extended family. It's not just about the activities. There is Love in the room. I was just telling someone yesterday that it's as if they have a sign outside that says, "Leave your judgment at the door!"
There are people who come in to play music, to teach chair yoga, to talk about places they've visited, to teach about safety, and more. They also go on field trips. They also visit classes in an elementary school. This is wonderful for our Friends and for the children!
One of my favorite lessons to watch is when Dana teaches poetry to our Friends. She picks a topic and then writes on the chalkboard whatever they come up with. I have been moved by the process and the outcome. In fact, I wrote music to one of the poems they created because it was so lovely.
I play piano and we do sing along songs every 6 weeks or so. They leave smiling and with twinkles in their eyes! But they are happy and filled with gratitude every time we all get together. They tell me how happy they are to have this place and to be with others.
Karen leads the group. Her positive energy is contagious! As I said earlier, it's like being with your favorite relatives on a happy occasion. Every week I go there, there is something to be celebrated: someone's birthday, a holiday, a season, or some obscure fun thing like National Chocolate Day!
Even though I volunteered to help others, I have to say that my life has been enriched by knowing so many beautiful, kind, loving people! I am thankful every day that I found this volunteer opportunity online. Every week I go there, I am inspired!
Even during this difficult time with the virus and everyone having to stay home, this organization is sending arts and crafts , videos, and other things for our Friends to keep busy. Colleen also started a Phone Pal Program, so we can call our Friends and keep in touch! The JCA Kensington Club could easily be renamed: Heart 2 Heart, because all of us are connected with Love!
My mother had left the workforce after taking several years off to raise my siblings and care for aging family members and like many women was experiencing challenges reentering the workforce.
JCA gave her an opportunity that she otherwise would not have been provided. They gave her the support and training she needed to develop more relevant job skills and Instilled the sense of confidence In her that has led to the success she’s experiencing today! She is a phenomenal role model not only for other women who are experiencing challenges re-entering the workforce but her granddaughters as well! JCA gave my mother the boost she needed to put her on a great path! Thank you JCA!
My husband initially denied his dementia diagnosis. Based on clinical observation and previous testing, his neurologist strongly believed he would benefit from attending an early memory loss program such as Kensington Club.
At first he balked at the idea. It didn't take long before "Show and Tell" started when he returned home from the Program. He talked about his "classmates," the instructors, the memory games they played, and the guest instructors who visited bringing songs, musical instruments, dance, art, poetry, and so much more to fill his day. His classmates (both men and women) shared their backgrounds; some were technical and similar to his own. Others were different from his but he marveled at their accomplishments (one speaks five languages) and he was eager to hear more. They talk about sports and personal experiences leaving the door wide open for socializing and continued conversations. He looks forward to going to Kensington Club.
When friends, family, and medical practitioners ask how he's doing, I say he literally hit the jackpot. Kensington Club has been a blessing. He looks forward to being with people who are friendly and caring. It's his "tribe" outside our family and he looks forward to attending. I want to share a pearl with those who read this. The ONLY time my husband sets an alarm is the days he attends Kensington Club.
The Kensington Club is a great program for older adults.
The "Kensington Club" early memory loss program with JCA helped to turn things around so that a loved one in our family whose life had been too isolated actually regained some memory and communication abilities that had looked like they might have been lost forever. Our loved one was resistant at first but soon came to see how helpful the socializing, memory practice, and physical exercises were and now values the program highly. The field trips are always a great hit, and we hear all about them at dinner time. We are so thankful for this unique program.
After retirement, I was more focused on re-decorating my home, re-working my wardrobe and re-visiting people and places in my hometown. After completing the co-hort sessions sponsored and managed by the Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington ( JCA)
I learned more about the areas in my transferable skills set in need of shoring up. A marvelously helpful handbook, a talented and job savvy cadre of speakers rounded out a well thought out program for the seasoned worker interested in working again.
I have volunteered with JCA for three years and found the experience very rewarding.
I tutor second grade students at Glen Haven Elementary School. The JCA staff does an excellent job of communicating and organizing the program. I always receive information in a timely manner.
I will have more time to volunteer next year and I plan to work with JCA to find more opportunities.
I am sure that I can be of use working with JCA.
My retirement three years ago challenged me to consider what to do with my time and energy. I thought of becoming involved in a meaningful activity, something that would keep me grounded and that would expand my worldview. And afraid of isolation, I also wanted an activity that would connect me to a larger and a diverse community.
The JCA’s Reading and Educating to Advance Lives (REAL) program met my requirements. In it I found a well-organized, welcoming staff, and a diverse and exciting network of fellow volunteers. Moreover, I could connect with REAL program recipients: working with children and their parents waiting in Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services offices has kept me attuned to the greater needs of my community. These youngsters and their families often come from different parts of the world; for many this is their first time abroad, for others it is a process of learning how to navigate county health-system services. All are hardworking people seeking a better life. What unites me to my ‘clients’, to JCA, and to County staff is our desire to continue learning, to find meaning in our daily lives, to signal a path to education, and to bolster creativity in young minds. I would hope that as we all age we will together create a better and kinder world. I am grateful to JCA for all that I have learned thus far.
As a volunteer with JCA Interages, I have had the opportunity to mentor elementary school students, join a book club for middle school students, and participate in "Dialogues," weekly issue-oriented conversations with high school students. These and other Interages programs are well-run and supported by the Interages staff, who are committed to providing meaningful opportunities for older adults to interact with children and teens, while also fostering enrichment for the students, many of whom are at risk of falling behind in school. Volunteers are well-supported through training programs and appropriate recognition.
I have also volunteered in the Interages office and can attest to the staff's wise use of resources, including collaboration with partner organizations such as the Montgomery County Public School and Library systems, private retirement and nursing home facilities, and the County's Department of Health and Human Services.
JCA Interages is a 5-star organization that makes a difference!
I needed to start a second career--for income and a sense of purpose. Every time I submitted my resume to a job website, I would receive emails saying that I would be perfect for the same type of high stress and long hours kind of position from which I retired. It didn't matter how I tried to de-emphasize that experience. I am proud of what I did, but it was no longer a good fit for me. The week I spent learning at Career Gateway was wonderful. The written materials were very informative. The teacher of the course and the director of Career Gateway were extraordinary. I learned so much about networking, the elevator speech and a way to explore what I really might like to do. I even improved my basic office skills in several classes after I graduated from Career Gateway. Most of all, the warmth and positive energy of the teacher and the people in my class as well as the Director of Career Gateway allowed me to overcome my anxiety about embarking in a new direction. I have new goals and have nurtured my contacts to establish the beginning of my own business. I am very grateful for all that I learned and all the support I received.
After nearly 25 years as a government lawyer, I retired. Two years later, I decided to rejoin the workforce. I enrolled in the JCA Career Gateway led by the Director & her lead instructor. The 5-day class over 2 weeks opened my eyes to the world of resume writing, job interviews, work searches, & social media. The volunteer speakers were knowledgeable, inspiring, nururing, supportive & engaging. The class itself was comprised of highly intelligent, talented, caring, personable & skilled professionals. The printed material was also invaluable. I can’t recommend the program highly enough. In fact, I will be volunteering at an upcoming JCA Job Fair for those 50 and up.
Career Gateway was an awesome blessing in my life. It created a new pathway for me. It helped bring life to my new career. I found new relationships , that gave me insight for the future. I met all types of individuals full of hope and joy. It showed a different type of life -faith. I am working due to this awesome program with stars in my eyes for the future. Lastly, all the people connected with the program were full of knowledge and kindness. The program cared about each individual and want everyone to be successful. What an awesome program!!!!
I am a recent graduate of The Career Gateway (March 2019) and likewise the beneficiary of an extensive thorough and professional program focused on successful career goals for those of us desiring a return to the workplace.
The entire program content including material, course work and caliber of instructors provided an organized and methodical support level of encouragement, confidence, new skills and networking designed to advance each participant in their respective career choices. The success of this program is due in large part to the organization, diligence and tireless efforts of the coordinator Jodie Rasch who remains engaged with each student through continuous interactions, information sharing and follow up.
Similarly, our Facilitator/instructor Margo Smith is totally committed to the program and likewise participants: coaching each student one on one as needed and according to their goals, actively promoting our self- confidence and the benefits of networking through new relationships. We also enjoyed an impressive group of presenters, all experts in their respective field who spent hours lecturing and patiently conversing in question and answer format.
The consensus among our group is that each person feels more empowered and with a greater sense of confidence in pursuit of their respective career path.
Thanks again to the JCA for another great milestone through their continued development of the larger Montgomery community.
I found JCA really helpful through the Career Gateway 50+ how to get a job or marketable to get a job a great way to redefine who I am and how to present myself for today’s interview process. The one to one teaming up with others in the same situation helps getting the work of a job search streamlined and gives more self perspective.
It’s definitely worth the 5 days mostly every other day schedule. Jodie and Margo and all of the facilitators are a great help.
Several months ago, I participated in the Career Gateway program offered by the JCA. I found the computer courses to be particularly valuable. I truly appreciate the help and support that the program provides.
I took the JCA Career Gateway course in January 2019. The 5-day course helps people 50 and over who are looking for a job in this changing economy. It covered so many things I was unfamiliar with (e.g., Linkedin profiles, Skype interviews). The course was excellent. In addition, JCA follows up with a Job Club where previous attendees get together to encourage one another. JCA is a nurturing and supportive organization that provided valuable services the the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area. I am a big fan.
JCA offers programs, training, resources, and more that equip individuals of all backgrounds with new skills, renewed outlooks, and clear paths to new connections, new opportunities, new careers, new self-care skills, and more. I recently took their 5-day Career Gateway program and can't say enough good things about it, which says a lot as someone with four decades of high-level professional experience who thought he'd seen it all. Not so. JCA truly makes a positive difference in the lives of the people in a wonderful "pay-it-forward" way.
JCA provides much needed services, including adult day, senior employment, and transportation for the aging community in the Greater Washington, DC area. It's staff and leadership are second to none. JCA's adult day services have such a positive effect on residents. I am proud to be associated with JCA!
The JCA Career Gateway program is an invaluable resource to those of us who are mid-career or changing careers and seeking expert training in making our job search more effective. Every single day was well-organized and engaging; the resource book is one of the best I've ever used; the speakers were well-prepared and up-to-date on job-search technology. I feel extremely fortunate to have found this program which has greatly enhanced my job-search.
I recently participated in The Career Gateway Job Search Workshop offered by The Jewish Council for the Aging in June 2018 including the additional employment-related technology classes in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The workshop and classes were fantastic and so helpful. The coordinator, Jodie Rasch and the workshop leader, Margo Smith did an excellent job in running the program. The guest presenters and the technology class instructors were superb as well. JCA offers such great resources for seniors seeking guidance on how to search for and find employment opportunities. The organization is truly world class!
Hats off to JCA for providing an outstanding Career Workshop to those of us entering new chapters of our careers. Teaching, written materials, and exercises were first rate, and JCA uses its incredibly talented volunteer network to assist class participants. The organization and the logistics of the program are second to none, but the added critical ingredient is the warmth, commitment, and encouraging spirit of Jodie, Margo, and all the JCA Staff. Thanks for great class that has benefited me tremendously. I left with a fine tuned resume, a linked-in profile, and a mentor, and it has helped me launch a consulting business, and a continued connection to this fine and special organization.
The entire, staff, lecturers, motivators and students were transparent in their enthusiasm, support and expertise. The tech classes were very helpful, gaining personal and business updated computer systems knowledge. Gateway provided a stepping stone to my career goals. Thank you for your continued support.
Re-entering the job market after taking care of family has been daunting! My job search had been progressing in fits and starts and I hit a plateau. A friend recommended JCA's Career Gateway. Enrolling was a great decision for me. I hoped for inspiration and got that, plus so much more! Great speakers, great community of like-minded job seekers, great resources, and continued support after the program! The staff's energy and enthusiasm behind the program is remarkable and highly commendable. Thank you Jodie, Margo, and the rest of the JCA staff!
Suzy, from the June cohort
Recently unemployed, I had the good fortune to stumble upon JCA's Career Gateway program at the Over 50 job fair they helped sponsor. It was the best move I could have made! The five-day class gave me the tools I needed to start my job search -- We improved my resume and LInkedIn profile, worked on setting job goals, practiced interviewing, built a support network of fellow job hunters who provide ongoing support and encouragement, and found a job search mentor. These have all been of immeasurable help and comfort as I navigate the hard waters of over 50 job hunting.
I have been involved with the JCA for about 30 years. As a physician caring for elderly people, I can attest to the care and expertise of all the employees. From the transportation, to the training, to the computer workshops, etc etc etc, the staff is First Rate!