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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Human Services, Judaism, Religion, Senior Centers, Seniors, Transportation Assistance

Mission: The Jewish Council for the Aging (JCA) helps older adults in the Greater Washington, D.C. region maintain independence, dignity, vitality and self-respect. It also helps people of different generations understand, learn from and care for one another. JCA accomplishes this through a myriad of community-based programs built upon vibrant programmatic partnerships with funders, fellow charities and local communities; and by providing opportunities for volunteers to make the National Capital Area a great place to age. Although our Jewish heritage and values guide our vision and work, JCA is a recognized leader in meeting the needs of seniors and caregivers regardless of their religious beliefs.

Results: JCA represents something different to each and every man and woman we proudly serve. To the isolated senior with no means of getting around, we are a smiling ElderBus driver who cheerfully helps with canes, walkers and wheelchairs and even carries packages with a smile. To the concerned family member suddenly faced with overwhelming health or home care issues, we are the confident voice of an information specialist who understands precisely the services needed to care for a beloved parent or spouse and can access our unique, comprehensive database to find needed resources close to home. For the senior who is frail or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other challenges, we are a safe and caring place that provides dignified assistance at adult day centers that are second to none. To the older jobseeker, we are a friend, advocate, teacher and guide. JCA is all of this and so much more! We are vibrant intergenerational programs that build bridges and shatter stereotypes. We are diverse volunteer programs that demonstrate that ability is ageless. We are different faces in various places, but united in our mission of helping local seniors experience the positive side of aging while making the National Capital Area a great place to age. Last year, because of generous friends like you, JCA served 31,000 older people of all faiths, ethnicities and walks of life. We helped them avoid isolation and live independently. We helped them thrive.

Target demographics: local seniors age well while building bridges between the generations

Direct beneficiaries per year: 31,000 people in the area , while helping make our region a great to grow up and grow old

Geographic areas served: the National Capital Region -- Washington, DC; Suburban Maryland; and Northern Virginia

Programs: ...door-to-door ElderBuses, the Connect-A-Ride Transportation Resource Center, Ride Smart Workshops, the Escorted Transportation Program and other mobility management programs that help older adults TRAVEL IN THE COMMUNITY THEY LOVE ...the JCA Misler Adult Day Center, the JCA Kensington Clubs (our day program for people in the early stages of a diagnosed memory loss), and caregiver support groups that provide CARE AND CAMARADERIE ...the JCA Career Gateway, Senior Community Service Employment Program, and 50+ Employment Expos that enable older jobseekers to LAND A JOB ...the Heyman Interages Center that builds BRIDGES BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS while helping students succeed in school and life ...the Senior HelpLine, HomeCare Resource Center, State Health Insurance Assistance Program and Community Speakers Bureau that help older adults and family caregivers GET THE ANSWERS they need

Community Stories

84 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Kensington Club is a great program for older adults.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 4

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Signed: JoanG-March2019

Deborah D.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

-- Stefan

Deborah M.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Dan A.4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My company Aflac- Champion Agency has been at the Job Fair every year. We find great candidates and we are always treated well by the JCA staff. They have become like an extended family. Great people, great event and an AMAZING service to the community

Client Served

Rating: 4

JCA provides the only workforce development program specifically for 50+ aged job seekers in Montgomery County, Career Gateway. I participated in the program in January 2016 and it got me off the couch and out of the doldrums. In addition to becoming friends with my cohort and the JCA staff, the program propelled me to my current profession as a workforce development trainer teaching other 50+ job seekers to use LinkedIn for their career reinvention. JCA's Career Gateway program gave me the confidence and the tools I needed to get back in the game. I will forever be grateful for their encouragement and for the guidance and resources I needed to not just find a job but to begin a new career as an entrepreneur.

Donor

Rating: 5

JCA is an essential Washington-area agency. As a former JCA board member, I can attest that the staff bends over backward to meet the needs of older people, regardless of their age or ability. The job fair we started when I chaired the JCA Employment Committee several decades ago has grown to a comprehensive program of job search assistance and computer training, as well as week-long senior employment strategy classes and periodic job fairs. JCA's bus service ensures that frail elders can get to the grocery store, the doctor's office, and the various activities that keep them healthy and connected. JCA provides community service employment and work experience to low-income seniors. JCA advises family members on the variety of services available in our community to seniors, and makes personalized recommendations. And so much more! Backing up the dedicated staff are equally dedicated board members who not only help raise money to keep the agency going, but also provide skilled oversight and advice to the various JCA programs. Plus, in keeping with Judaism's emphasis on "Tikkun Olam" (repairing the world), JCA's services are open to all who need them, regardless of religious affiliation.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have worked on their various offerings for seniors to be of help to K-12 students for 3 or 4 years. The programs are well thought out, vetted and supported, including orientations, supervisory visits and post-activity opportunities for feedback. You feel appreciated and thanked, both by JCA and the students and their teachers.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Our organization's experience is with VillageRides, which is a program supported by JCA. VR helps Villages provide transportation for seniors who could not otherwise get around. JCA has supported VR for several years, with funds as well as a full-time staff person. We are very grateful; without JCA's support, VR would likely not exist and our Village would be seriously handicapped to provide services for seniors. I am Board president of our Village.

Client Served

Rating: 5

JCA provides driver/rider support to the Village of Takoma Park. Since April, 2015, we have given seniors living in Takoma Park, over 1,100 rides. We couldn't have done this without JCA support. JCA provide the computer program, RideScheduler, which runs the rides request and acceptances. JCA provides the required driver training for all our new drivers. JCA has helped our volunteer group by providing back room support, printed materials, car magnets, advertising. We, the Village of Takoma Park, couldn't do what we do without JCA's support. Wonderful organization and spectacular employees! Sandra Egan

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been working with the JCA through the REAL Program.
JCA partnered with Montgomery County Government & M.Cty.Public-Libraries to create the REAL Program-- "Reading & Educating to Advance Lives".

The volunteers from JCA are amazing. They interact with the children who come into our facility with their parents. They read stories & monitor craft activities as well. We hear lots of great reviews from the Community Members we serve. The children leave our facility happy and full of joy after spending some time with the volunteers.
This has been an amazing experience... I want to take the time to Thank you for all that you are doing for the community & mostly for the children who come through our office.

The Coordinators of the REAL Program are also extremely helpful & are always available to assist with additional resources & several tasks that need to be completed.

The Entire Team gets an A+ :-)

Rita Ngabo ~ { DHHS- Rockville }

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been enrolled as a SCSEP intern in 3 capacities for almost 4 years. I have spent time in the SCSEP office, at One Stop in Wheaton. Kensington Club at JCA and I am back in the SCSEP office. The SCSEP program which provides training and a stipend thru Senior Service America and is administered thru JCA, has been a lifeline to hundreds of older workers who became SCSEP interns, and I am one. SCSEP has provided me with and continues to provide me with support through various health problems. I am currently involved in the Job Club, which will help me find permanent employment.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have lived in Montgomery county for over thirty yrs.I am one of many seniors that JCA
is helping to thrive.I am grateful for the intern program that JCA has for seniors.
I can use my skills and gain employment which is my hope an encouraged by the exceptional staff at JCA

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our Village, Potomac Community Village, has been using the services of JCA for about 2 years now. They provide us with a driver/rider management web application that we use for managing our Village rides program called VillageRides. The manager of the VillageRides program, Sara Fought, is very responsive to our needs. For example, she provides training for our driver volunteers. She also will try to locate a driver from another Village if one from our Village is not available. She has provided hands-on help for my backup ride manager when I am out of town - always happily! In addition she solicits requests from the VillageRides managers for additions and changes to the software and then she works with the software creator to add features that are helpful for the people actually using the application. It has been an excellent association with JCA for this purpose.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been working with JCA for over two years now in my capacity as Vice President of Potomac Community Village. Our village helps people age in place by offering services. JCA has played a major role in the support of our goals. They have helped to support and fund one of our most popular services for seniors which is providing rides when needed to medical and dental appointments and other necessary trips by car. The car ride scheduling website and associated training services have been invaluable!

Advisor

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with Gaithersburg HELP I have worked with JCA for over a year. One of the services provided by Gaithersburg HELP is free transportation for seniors and adults with disabilities to medical and social service appointments. JCA created the VillageRides collaboration to help support volunteer transportation in the greater Washington DC area. VillageRides has helped us and other similar organizations by providing access to cloud-based ride scheduling software, training classes for drivers and schedulers, and marketing and outreach efforts. Their staff is a group of top-notch caring individuals, and I continue to enjoy working with them!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my 20 year experience in an international Men's organization, I have see a LOT of great work toward a better tomorrow. In my opinion, JCA staff and volunteers are among the best and most dedicated to making the world a better place for our elders TODAY. A call to their Senior Helpline will get someone to resources they could never have found on their own. As I step into my role as an Elder in my own community, I am grateful that JCA is here for me and the men I serve.