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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jewish Family Service of San Diego

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Mental Health, Mental Health & Crisis Intervention

Mission: Our Purpose: Jewish Family Service is a client-centered, impact-driven organization working to build a stronger, healthier, more resilient San Diego.

Geographic areas served: San Diego, Coachella Valley

Programs: Self-sufficiency: jewish family service of san diego seeks to build a san diego where every individual and family is self-sufficient, socially connected, and ages with dignity. Self-sufficiency services provided include counseling, case management, financial services/workforce development, hunger alleviation and food security, housing and homeless services, refugee resettlement & immigration, and positive parenting program. Breast cancer case management - breast cancer case management (bccm) works with clients to increase access to resources to support the physical, mental, financial, and social wellbeing during all stages of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. The only program of its kind in san diego county, bccm utilizes an intensive medical case management model. The case manager meets with women in the comfort of their own homes to provide emotional support, resource coordination, financial assistance, and help navigating the healthcare system throughout the course of treatment. Women with adequate support services already in place are able to access financial support services to help address the economic impact of a breast cancer diagnosis, and to ensure that they and their families can weather the financial impact of treatment and recovery. In 2014-2015, 75 patients received a home visit from a breast cancer case manager. $50,000 in financial assistance was provided to patients to maintain shelter, food, transportation, and other basic or treatment-related needs. 95% of women who enrolled in the program received assistance through direct service, referrals, and/or advocacy that decreased barriers to crucial services such as housing, food, medical/mental healthcare, social support, financial assistance, and financial education. Community case management - for more than 15 years, community case management (ccm) has provided critical assistance to individuals and families in crisis to help them improve their standard of living, prevent reoccurring crises, and increase self-sufficiency. Ccm case managers work in partnership with clients to strengthen their skills for financial stability as well as their emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health by developing personalized action plans to address financial challenges, mental health and medical issues, lack of support systems, and other basic needs. Ccm provides emergency food, financial assistance, and referrals for housing, legal, and health resources, if needed, and works closely with other jfs services, including hand up youth food pantry, counseling, employment and career services, ways to work, and aging & wellness services. In 2014-2015, ccm served 239 adults and families. The typical client was a woman in her early fifties, living alone, with annual income of approximately $14,500. Clients ranged in age from their mid-twenties to their early eighties; included families with one to five children, military personnel, and people who were unemployed as well as those employed. Last fiscal year, 98% of clients had incomes below the federal poverty level; 19% were age 18-35, 52% were 35-60, and 29% were over 60. Clinical counseling - jfs provides individual and group counseling for children, teens, adults, couples, and families. Our therapists specialize in working with people suffering from mood and anxiety disorders, survivors of violence, and older adults with issues related to the aging process. Therapists work in partnership with clients to strengthen coping skills, build strategies to overcome disorders such as depression and anxiety, and increase self-sufficiency. Clinical counseling at jfs increases psychological well-being and supports individual resilience throughout the lifespan. Clinical counseling works closely with other jfs programs, such as community case management, employment and career services, and aging &wellness services, to remove practical barriers to treatment and to increase independence. In 2014-2015, clinical counseling served 384 individuals through 2,162 psychotherapy sessions and 132 group sessions. Follow-up assessments indicate that 73% of clinical counseling clients have improved their mental health functioning since beginning therapy at jfs. Desert vista permanent supportive housing - desert vista permanent supportive housing is the only program of its kind in the coachella valley specifically targeting chronically homeless and individuals with disabilities and provides both housing and intensive support to permanently disabled, homeless individuals in riverside county. Clients go directly from the streets and emergency shelters into jfs desert vista and desert horizon apartments located in the western coachella valley. The desert vista and desert horizon sites have a combined capacity to serve up to 58 chronically homeless men and women. The program's purpose is to provide permanent housing and comprehensive services to men and women whose homelessness is exacerbated by a range of barriers to remaining in independent housing. In the last fiscal year, 85% of desert vista and desert horizon clients maintained or increased their incomes, far exceeding the program goal of 55%. Additionally, 91% of our clients remained in permanent housing for a minimum of 180 days, surpassing our housing stability goal of 80%. Employment & career services - employment & career services (ecs) assists unemployed and underemployed individuals in san diego county through its newly developed career kick-start program. Career kick-start provides comprehensive job search assistance, including employment case management, job referrals, and access to networking opportunities. Career kick-start provides the tools to find meaningful and fulfilling employment that leads to self-sufficiency. Ecs also operates the federally funded senior community service employment program (scsep) in san diego county, providing community training placements and support to older workers with barriers to employment. Scsep serves men and women 55 years old or older who have a family income at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. These clients have low employment prospects due to significant barriers in their lives, such as homelessness, intergenerational poverty, medical conditions, and disabilities. In 2014-2015, 19 ecs-hosted workshops and educational programs assisted 270 individuals in improving their job search skills. These workshops included instruction on using linkedin, and specialized skills trainings for older adults seeking to return to the workforce. The senior community service employment program (scsep) placed 68 older adult clients in paid community service training positions with employers in public and nonprofit sectors throughout san diego county. Family connections - family connections combines the services of supporting jewish single parents (sjsp), jewish bigpals, and pachie's place. Sjsp parents connect to other jewish single parents and learn how to access vital community resources through networking, emotional and financial support, and advocacy. Sjsp strengthens participants' sense of belonging to the jewish community. Big pals are caring adults who mentor children ages 6-16 from non-traditional or single-parent families. Big pals help their little pals develop self-esteem, jewish identity, and build lasting relationships that can change their perspective on the world. Pachie's place supports parents by offering high-quality educational workshops and access to online parenting resources. Parents become more confident, knowledgeable, and connected to other parents. In 2014-2015, sjsp supported and connected more than 300 jewish single parents and their children to the jewish community. Jewish bigpals served 55 jewish children from single-parent and/or non-traditional homes, and the majority (87%) of children in the program had parents that participated in sjsp. Pachie's place served 60 parents involved in sjsp and bigpals, as well as others from the community. Girls give back - teenage girls who participate in the girls give back (ggb) program increase their leadership skills, resilience, self-confidence, and connection to the jewish community by planning service projects that give back to san diego in a positive way. Girls give back teens participate in leadership development training over the summer, a daylong team-building retreat in the fall, and monthly meetings throughout the academic year. They learn about women's issues, meet with local leaders, and engage in advocacy, community outreach, event planning, and mentorship of younger girls to create positive social change for women and girls across san diego. In 2014-2015, girls give back engaged 35 jewish high school teens and 15 jewish middle school teens and "tweens" annually from local high schools and middle schools. One-fourth of girls give back teens receive financial assistance to help offset the cost of participating in the program. Participants represent diverse denominations of judaism, includ

aging with dignity: jewish family service is the premier provider of services to older adults in san diego. Jewish family service senior programs include geriatric care management, transportation-on the go, serving older holocaust survivors (sos), social and wellness centers, fix it service and food mobile. Geriatric care management - the geriatric care management (gcm) program provides older adults and their caregivers with a better quality of life through improved management of their health needs, and enhanced support systems. To maximize independence and enhance clients' ability to age with dignity, gcm's trained geriatric specialists coordinate medical care, provide transportation, assist with paperwork, advocate, and link clients to community and agency resources. In 2014-2015, geriatric care management staff provided 5,103 hours of assistance to 107 older adults, coordinating care, providing advocacy, and connecting them to resources. Financial assistance helped 184 clients meet essential expenses they could not afford, including eye glasses, dental care, co-payments for chemotherapy, a refrigerator, and an appraisal for a reverse mortgage. Gcm staff provided 1,327 rides to clients, helping them to medical appointments, to the social security office, and to health & human services to secure medical benefits. Jfs fix-it service - for 15 years, the jfs fix-it service has helped older adults in san diego county age with dignity by enabling them to live independently and safely in their homes. The program significantly eases the burden for unpaid caregivers, spouses, family members, and friends who all want to help their loved ones continue to live in familiar environments as they age. Services are provided by dedicated, screened, and trained volunteers who conduct free four-point safety checks, minor home-safety repair, and modifications. Jfs fix-it service provides all labor and repairs free of charge through the work of volunteers, and a grant from the county of san diego aging & independence services. The program's service region covers most of southern san diego county, spanning the area from highway 56 south to the international border, west to the ocean and east to pine valley. In 2014-2015, 29 volunteers donated 1,577 hours, drove nearly 15,300 miles, and helped 298 clients with 1,347 repairs. Fix-it volunteers: made 533 minor home repairs and safety modifications that included electrical and plumbing work, installing or fixing doorbells and providing bathtub mats; made 147 home security and safety modifications including grab bars, security lights, railing repairs, locks/deadbolts, and window/door screens; provided 65 assistive devices such as shower chairs, toilet seat risers, and bedside commodes; and, completed 602 repairs and installations using client-provided material, including smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Nutrition services - jfs nutrition services produce and deliver kosher meals throughout san diego county. The meals help older adults, and younger adults with disabilities (aged 18 and over), to age with dignity, maintain their independence, and continue living in their own homes. Meals are served at the jfs social & wellness centers, and are delivered to clients' homes through jfs foodmobile. Trained drivers and volunteers conduct a wellness check and report any concerns to the foodmobile coordinator. Supplemental groceries supplied by the jfs hand up youth food pantry, and pet food, are also available on a monthly basis. With nutrition services support, older adults and younger adults with disabilities not only increase their access to nutritious foods, they also improve their independence and experience reduced isolation. Nutrition services prepare and deliver kosher meals to adults over age 60, as well as younger adults with disabilities. Foodmobile is the only service in san diego providing home-delivered meals to younger adults with disabilities. In 2014-2015, nutrition services provided 6,989 meals per month, and served 772 individuals. Two thirds were women, and 4% were younger adults with disabilities. Over half (53%) of nutrition services clients reported that they have low incomes, and used the sliding scale fee option to afford meals. On the go: transportation solutions for older adults offers shuttle service, excursions, rides & smiles , on the go silver, and taxi scrip. Shuttles provide group transportation to jfs's social & wellness centers, shopping, errands, cultural events and religious services. Excursions provide group transportation to destinations such as the theater, museums, and tours of san diego. Rides & smiles , an award-winning and internationally-recognized service, offers individual rides provided primarily by volunteers using their own cars. On the go silver is a premium fee-based service that accommodates individual riders' door-to-door needs and group transportation. The taxi scrip program fills gaps in service not met by other on the go offerings. On the go meets seniors' basic transportation needs, decreases isolation, and increases community connections. A total of 1,796 individuals over the age of 60 are enrolled in on the go. In 2014-2015, on the go provided 37,055 rides to seniors. Volunteers are the backbone of on the go. In 2014-2015, 236 volunteers donated 16,857 hours of their time, representing an in-kind savings of $452,948. Social & wellness centers - the jfs social & wellness centers --at college avenue, north county inland and the jfs coastal club at temple solel --provide drop-in programming for active older adults in northern and central san diego. They offer learning opportunities, exercise, judaic programming, nutritious meals, and socialization. The centers offer information and support about the aging process, assistance accessing social services, and companionship, recreation, and community connection all of which are proven to prevent isolation, maintain health, and support independent living at home. In 2014-2015, the social & wellness centers enjoyed 53,208 visits. Clients attending the centers range in age from 60 to over 95 years; their average age is 70, and they are mostly female. Nearly half of the current regular participants are jewish, and 40% are widowed. The majority of attendees (72%) are still able to drive to the centers. Many participant live on small pensions and/or social security; the most recent client survey revealed that nearly half (46%) of participants are living below the federal poverty level. Serving older survivors - since the 1990s, serving older survivors (sos) has been addressing the needs of san diegans who suffered so much during the holocaust. The goals of sos are to decrease survivors' emotional distress, maximize their independence, and increase their community connections. Sos provides geriatric care management services, including assessments, care plans, consultations, advocacy, coordination, emotional support, help with care in the home, as well as direct financial assistance. In 2014-2015, 138 holocaust survivors were enrolled in the sos program. Additionally, 38 survivors and their families who contacted jfs received information that helped them apply for the polish benefits and child survivor funds. Sos matched 14 local agencies and schools with survivors who spoke at their holocaust remembrance and educational events. Through 10,346 contacts with, and on behalf of survivors, their caregivers, and their family members, in 2014-2015, sos staff: disbursed $264,348 in reimbursement for homecare costs for 63 clients; distributed $83,684 in emergency funds through grants from the claims conference, and other institutional and individual donors, to 61 survivors; provided clients with 853 rides along with advocacy and translation to doctor visits, shopping and other errands; and, organized seven socialization programs for european survivors, attended by 29 survivors. University city older adult center - the university city older adult center (ucoac) is located at congregation beth israel. Three days per week, the center offers a variety of activities designed to provide support to frail older adults, their caregivers, and their families. Ucoac is a haven for those who have been diagnosed with alzheimer's disease or dementia, are recently widowed, or have become socially isolated. Older adults who attend ucoac are able to age in the community with the maximum level of independence and social interaction possible. Their caregivers also experience less isolation and greater connection to the community. In 2014-2015 at the university city older adult center: clients made 3,148 visits and caregivers made 406 visits; 3,919 hot kosher meals were served; and, a team of volunteers donated, on average, 190 hours per month, serving meals and engaging with clients.

community connection: jewish family service believes that to be truly self-sufficient, one must be connected to a community, achieve emotional health, and spiritual wellbeing. In times of crisis, when individuals and families face the greatest challenges, economic security alone does not provide the support required to overcome the obstacle at hand. Community connection and engagement programs include adoption services, leadership programs, big pals, serving jewish single parents, pachie's place and north county jewish connections. Embrace-a-family - each year individuals, families, service and faith-based community groups and businesses donate new holiday gifts to the embrace-a-family program to help ensure that families unable to purchase them have gifts for the holidays. This program offers the community a meaningful way to make the holiday season a little brighter for families struggling to make ends meet. In 2014-2015, 262 generous embracers provided holiday gifts to 501 families (1,436 individuals); 70 businesses, schools, professional groups, service organizations, contributed to brighten the holidays for hundreds of families. San diego jewish academy alone embraced 40 families, and scripps memorial hospital la jolla more than 60; 26 volunteers helped sort gifts in preparation for delivery; volunteers gave 182 hours of their time; and, clients who were embraced also received support services from jfs programs. Hunger advocacy network - the hunger advocacy network (han) is a collaborative comprised of organizations that work together to achieve a long-term, systemic reduction in food insecurity in san diego by shaping state policy. With ongoing technical support from jewish family service, the network has become a strong, well-respected coalition of more than 20 organizations who increase access to vital food assistance programs. In 2014-2015, network partner organizations actively advocated for the passage of 12 state bills and two state budget requests that address the connection between food security and specific nutrition, housing, and anti-poverty programs. Han partner organizations advocated for these key food security policies via in-district meetings, and han's annual sacramento advocacy day. Partners also built relationships with legislators and community leaders, and educated them about local food security issues at han's annual legislative reception and elected officials breakfast in january and april 2015, respectively. Volunteer engagement - newly certified as a service enterprise for it effective and strategic engagement of volunteers, jfs is committed to leveraging volunteer talents at all levels of the agency. The volunteer engagement department supports the agency by recruiting and retaining volunteer skills and talent. With more than 1,000 volunteers, we are dedicated to creating meaningful volunteer opportunities for people in search of better lives and for those seeking to make better lives possible. Last fiscal year, 847 volunteers chose jfs beneficiaries as the recipients of their time and talent with jfs. Collectively, 59,553 hours were donated to the agency which represent an in-kind savings of $1,568,645 and 30. 5 full-time equivalent staff members. Ten new volunteer positions were created including administrative support, photographers, child activity helpers, receptionists, and client choice food pantry assistance. The average volunteer works with jfs for approximately two years.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Lorna6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member and volunteer for over 15 years and can say that Jewish Family Service of San Diego has given me much more of a reward than I could have ever expected. I'm involved as a volunteer with one of the JFS Senior Centers and I derive a lot of satisfaction from seeing the benefits that it provides to our seniors during their difficult aging process. The organization is very efficiently run - proof of which is their 4 Star Charity Navigator rating which is given to less than 5% of all non-profits in the country.


Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been so impressed with the directors and staff of JFS (San Diego) for ten years now. One director calls hundreds of people a year to help raise money for seniors, and he helped start a senior center. Another director had a passion to build the top fundraising gala in San Diego, and the Gala nets almost $1 mm per year now. Another director is a busy partner at a top law firm, with young kids, who still spends hundreds of hours a year helping the agency. A past director first volunteered to help people when he volunteered to serve in WWII at age 18, and when I started serving, he was always in the room as a voice of wisdom and care for the clients. Heroes abound, at JFS. The client letters touch your heart, and the staff really care about clients. One has JFSSD on his license plate, another told us how he feels the responsibility to be sure all emails to the information line get a good, timely, caring answer, and other staffers have built so many innovative programs, ranging from a food pantry staffed by teenagers, to a "Rides and Smiles" program for volunteers to take seniors to the doctor or the market. You have to love what the people here have done, many of them giving THOUSANDS of hours and without asking for anything in return. Just coming together at one unifying agency where clients, caring people, dollars, and skilled professionals converge. Restores your faith!


Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for JFSSD for many years. Their range of services is so comprehensive that it is truly "one source for a lifetime of help". From a food pantry to support for victims of domestic violence, from a home delivered meal system to homebound seniors to private counseling, to a program that aids unemployed workers, to a support program for single parents, JFSSD helps so many people in both the Jewish and general community that my affiliation with this wonderful human service agency is a source of pride for me and my family. This agency is truly a San Diego gem. Nadja Kauder