We’re Hiring! Per Diem Therapist

Per Diem Therapist

Responsibilities:

• Collect, assess and evaluate information about the client’s situation and presenting symptoms
• Provide therapeutic interventions that are evidenced based; crisis intervention and stabilization
• Make appropriate referrals and assist with linkage to services
• Coordinate the development and implementation of the treatment plan, comprehensive assessments, discharge plans within established time frames.
• Monitor progress towards treatment goals by evaluating and adjusting services provided
• Experience with the DSM5 and ICD10 for psychiatric diagnosis
• Facilitate individual, family and group counseling sessions
• Educate family members by advising on the most appropriate and helpful roles they can fulfill in the treatment process
• Complete clinical documentation in an accurate, timely manner
• Participate in weekly case conferences and scheduled clinical and staff meetings
• Ability to maintain confidential information within HIPAA guidelines and Agency policies

Qualifications:
• Master’s degree from an accredited college or university. Must have a current active clinical license to practice; LCSW or LPC
• Must have the ability to obtain clearances as defined by Agency policies
• Ability to communicate and effectively work with culturally diverse clients, stakeholders, referral sources, and community partners including school administration, teachers, parents, students, care management organization (CMO), hospitals, Mobile Response, DCP&P, FSO and other community organizations.

Part Time Position with flexible schedule
Please submit cover letter and resume to: ShirleyB@jfcsonline.org.

2022 JFCS Annual Meeting, What’s Next for JFCS

Last night, JFCS was thrilled to host our 85th Annual Meeting, open to the community. We thank those who joined us in person to reconnect with each other and the agency, while enjoying the lovely grounds of our host, the JCC Princeton Mercer Bucks & Abrams Camp.

As we shared at the meeting, JFCS services are more critical than ever:

Our Neighbors are Hungry… The annual inflation rate is at the highest it’s been in 40 years. The rising costs of basic necessities, including food, are impacting vulnerable families the hardest.

Our Seniors need Help… Home care is becoming increasingly difficult to secure due to rising costs and increasing need amongst an aging population still reeling from the isolation and impact of the pandemic.

Mental Health is in Crisis… The world is a stressful place and demand for mental health services remains high, especially amongst youth.

As JFCS works tirelessly to address these immediate needs in our community, we also see our costs rising…

The average price of pantry staples has risen by 12%, making it even more expensive to keep our shelves stocked while seeing higher demand. Similarly, the impact of rising costs across all facets of day-to-day operations means we’re striving to serve more people on limited resources.

We share these realities not to overwhelm you, but because we know you, our dedicated supporters, always want to know “What can I do? How can I help?”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

MAKE A DONATION TODAY– your gifts help us keep moving forward, together, and serving our community with Help, Hope & Healing.

GIVE THE GIFT OF YOUR TIME– volunteer, organize a food drive, learn how to become involved.

Thank you for being a part of the JFCS family.

2022 COMMUNITY AWARDS

Gemilut Chasadim Award Winners:
Jody & Michael Zelin

Tzedakah Award Winner:
Talia Black

Kehillah Award Winner:
Chesed Squad of the Yavneh Community & OU-JLIC at Princeton

Gil Gordon Leadership and Volunteerism Award:
Holli Elias

2022 ROSE & LOUIS H. LINOWITZ MENSCH AWARD WINNERS

8th Grade Mensch-in-Training:
Phoebe Dickler

12th Grade Mensch Award Winners:
Joshua Leeds

STAFF ANNIVERSARIES & MILESTONES

5 Year Anniversary
Eden Aaronson and Arlene Munoz, LSW

10 Year Anniversary
Val Wilson

15 Year Anniversary
Beth Englezos and Beth Hammer, LCSW

CONGRATS ON RETIREMENT!
Janice Baer, LCSW

Resources in the Aftermath of Tragedy

Resources in Response to the Robb Elementary School Shooting

In response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde Texas, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed resources to help children, families, educators, and communities navigate what they are seeing and hearing, acknowledge their feelings, and find ways to cope together. These resources include:

Psychological First Aid

The NCTSN also has resources for responders on Psychological First Aid (PFA; En Español). PFA is an early intervention to support children, adolescents, adults, and families impacted by these types of events. PFA Mobile and the PFA Wallet Card (En Español) provide a quick reminder of the core actions. The PFA online training course is also available on the NCTSN Learning Center.

Additional PFA resources for schools include:

From the National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center

 From the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University

Disaster Helpline

SAMHSA has a Disaster Distress Helpline – call or text 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press “2”) to be connected to a trained counselor 24/7/365.

Additional Resources

For those that are needing technical assistance or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Melissa Brymer at mbrymer@mednet.ucla.edu.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, We’re Together for Mental Health 

Each year, May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month to shine a light on the importance of mental health care – something we have all recognized over the past two difficult years. This year’s theme is “Together for Mental Health.” 

What does it mean to be together for mental health? 

At JFCS, we are united in the belief that mental health care has a place in all programs and services; and, with counseling being one of our core programs, our agency has a responsibility to promote mental healthcare to the community, provide resources, and join in the push to end the stigma surrounding mental healthcare and mental illness. 

In February, we shared a video that highlighted our specific mental health services – the counseling department as well as support groups. Yet we are tuned into the emotional and psychological needs of all we serve, from the families using our food pantry, to the seniors receiving geriatric care management, to the youth participating in our programs. 

Counseling Department

Is it helpful to have internal resources to refer your client, for more well-rounded mental health support?

Having internal access to agency resources to refer to clients, such as the food pantry, is an invaluable resource to offer to clients due to food insecurity rates that have significantly increased for many families due to the pandemic. Clients have provided great feedback and a sense of gratitude for having the ability to access nutritious foods in a dignified manner that normalizes the community’s need for the use of an agency food pantry.

Furthermore, being a part of agency that offers group workshops and marital counseling allows clients to gain access to these services without having to contact an outside agency and having to experience long waitlists elsewhere. Having accessibility for the aforementioned agency resources, allows me to meet client needs in an effortless manner and reduced time spent on case management services. 

~Arlene Munoz, LSW Bilingual Social Worker

It is helpful because once the client has built trust and rapport with their social worker, they will be comfortable utilizing another reputable JFCS service. Having the ability to access identified resources within the Agency removes barriers when coordinating services. 

~Shirley Bellardo, LCSW, LCADC Director of Clinical Services

  

How important is mental health sensitivity in your program? 

Each client reacts to situations in their own unique way. Our social workers have the required sensitivity and understanding to support a client with diverse interventions that best suit their needs.

~Shirley Bellardo, LCSW, LCADC Director of Clinical Services

Food Programs

How does mental health play a role in your program?

We know that food insecurity = stress and anxiety. Imagine not having enough food for you or your family? The JFCS Mobile Food Pantry truck and our onsite pantry offers a bit of mental health support by providing much needed nourishment – for the body and the soul.

~Beth Englezos, Manager of Hunger Prevention

Senior Services

How important is mental health sensitivity in your program?

Being aware of stressors and validating feelings is critical. Clients need to feel “heard” and not be embarrassed or judged when expressing feelings or describing circumstances that are challenging.

~Beth Hammer, LCSW Geriatric Care Manager

Is it helpful to have internal resources to refer your client, for more well-rounded mental health support?

It is essential to have both internal and external referral sources to give to clients. Knowing there are various agency and community resources available can ensure that individuals receive the appropriate assistance they may require.

~Beverly Mishkin, LCSW Director of Senior Services

Teen Programs

How does mental health play a role in your program?

Gesher LeKesher benefits the Mental Health of our Madrichim in a number of ways. We introduce many useful resources including JFCS and the Crisis Text Line if they or someone they know is struggling with Mental Health. Our teen leaders also lead a unit to the Talmidim on the topic of selfcare. Program participants also roleplay and discuss red flag mental health behaviors and ways to respond when a person you know is struggling with mental health.

~Celeste Albert, LCSW Coordinator of Teen Programs

Volunteering

What role does mental health sensitivity play in your program?

In order to be most effective, agency volunteers need to communicate with clients with an awareness and understanding that the client may be suffering from mental or emotional issues.  

How does your program benefit clients’ mental health?

From delivering food to making check-in phone calls, every service that JFCS volunteers offer serves to improve the mental health of the client. They are also trained to note any changes or issues that may be of concern and immediately report back to the appropriate JFCS team member.

How does your program benefit volunteers’ mental health?

Research has repeatedly shown tremendous benefits to volunteers who spend time helping others. Time after time, JFCS volunteers arrive with positive energy and a willingness to do whatever is needed. Helping others surely proves to help oneself.

~Eden Aaronson, Coordinator of Volunteers & Community Programs

What can you do personally to rally behind the call for “Together for Mental Health”? 

Visit the NAMI Mental Health Awareness Month Resource page to learn more. Help advocate for a better mental health care system, share your story to help inspire others and defeat the stigma around mental health care and mental illness, and learn more about mental health using their education resources. 

Teen Philanthropists Address the Needs of Local, National and International Communities

The Jewish Community Youth Foundation (JCYF) celebrated its 19th year at its annual Check Presentation Ceremony which was held online on February 27th.  More than $36,000 was distributed to 21 non-profit organizations by 121 teens representing 12 Synagogues and 29 area schools.

JCYF is a project of JFCS of Greater Mercer County and the Ricky and Andrew J. Shechtel Philanthropic Fund.  The program has disbursed $967,043 since its inception 19 years ago.

Highlights from the evening included a live trivia quiz about this year’s program.  The quiz winner designated one of the JCYF recipient agencies as the winner of an additional grant.  The Annual Alumni Award was presented to Robbinsville alumna Mandi Lichtenstein, class of 2020, for her outstanding work at Elon University.   Mandi designated Mazon – A Jewish Response to Hunger as the recipient of her $360 award prize.  Jonah Adler of Lawrenceville spoke about how wisdom, understanding and divine inspiration impact the important decisions we make.

This year, teens from all over Mercer and Bucks counties met to discuss ways to make a difference in local, national and international communities.  They enjoyed meeting again in person and on Zoom where they were exposed to a broader range of agencies and resources.  One participant commented that a highlight for them this year was “Being together in person again with my friends working on helping our Jewish community.”  Agency representatives from all over the world were interviewed and explained how their projects could help those in need.  Part of this year’s curriculum included Amplify Our Impact 2021, which provided an opportunity to increase giving by reaching out to family, friends and community contacts.  One participant said “I enjoyed reaching out to my family members and talking to them about JCYF and how it supports great causes.”

Harrison Fehn, class of 2022, of Bordentown explained “[JCYF’s] value is immeasurable on Jewish youth as it teaches us, from a young age, how to evaluate grants, allocate funds, and most important of all, collaborate.  JCYF is an organization that I would deem necessary for any aspiring Jewish leader to partake in before they have graduated.”

Sophie Berman, a member of the JCYF Senior Class and Hamilton resident mentioned, “I developed a passion for helping others and giving to those in need. JCYF taught me the importance of philanthropy and my Jewish identity. I have learned copious amounts of leadership skills that will aid me as I move into the next chapter of my life.”

Scott Nahoum, West Windsor resident and member of the graduating class said “JCYF strengthened my commitment to giving while maintaining my Jewish identity. I now have a passion for social justice and engaging volunteers to fight poverty in the Jewish community and beyond.”

For more information, contact Celeste Albert, Coordinator of Teen Programs at JFCS of Greater Mercer County, at 609-987-8100 x210 or celestea@jfcsonline.org, or visit the JCYF Web Page.

See this story on CentralJersey.com.

Watch our full VIRTUAL Check Ceremony, held on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Congratulations to 2022 JCYF Distinguished Alumni Award Winner, Mandi Lichtenstein

Resources for Supporting Ukraine & Coping with Crisis

How to Support

The Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks established a Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund to provide critical assistance to more than 200,000 Jews in Ukraine. Thank you to those who have already joined this effort. Please support the most vulnerable.

CLICK TO DONATE

The emergency campaign dollars will go to American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) to support on-the-ground humanitarian effort.

How to  Talk to About Crisis and Cope

The war in Ukraine has triggered strong emotions for many of us. If you are feeling anger, fear, anxiety, depression, or helplessness, you are not alone. For many, it is the first time watching such horrors unfold in their lifetime. For some, these images and videos can be triggers from past trauma.

It is in our physiological nature as human beings to feel some amount of empathy and sorrow for others dealing with a traumatic event. Even though we’re not physically present, we still feel the mental health effects of what’s going on. We may not be able to diminish these emotions, but there are ways to make them more manageable.

How to cope will depend entirely on what works best for you. Below are some suggestions that you may find helpful:

  • Limit your time watching/listening to the news.  Repeated exposure to this kind of content can be distressing or numbing. 
  • Relieve some of that anxiety and tension by gently moving your body. This could mean going for a walk, doing some light stretching, taking an online yoga class, or whatever it is that helps you feel good.
  • Self-compassion. Ask yourself: What are you feeling, both emotionally and physically? This may include a quick head-to-toe body scan. Try using words to identify and name these feelings, like “I​’m feeling helpless, and it feels like there is a pit in my stomach.” Try your best to just witness these feelings rather than talking yourself out of them or trying to change them.
  • Coloring can relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala. It induces the same state as meditating by reducing the thoughts of a restless mind. This generates mindfulness and quietness, which allows your mind to get some rest.

Additional Resources on how to talk about the crisis and cope:

As always, if you feel you are withdrawing from others, or feeling intense emotions that are affecting daily functioning, please reach out to talk to one of our professional staff at JFCS​ by calling 609-987-8100.

Addressing anxiety & fear in the face of threats of violence in schools

Today’s threat on TikTok for potential school violence has spurred widespread concern and anxiety. NJ Gov. Phil Murphy has stated, “While there are no known specific threats against New Jersey schools, the safety of our children is our highest priority and we will work closely with law enforcement to monitor the situation and remain prepared.” However, many of us are still facing feelings of unease and stress whether you are a parent, a student, an educator, a school staff member, a relative of anyone in a school setting, or simply concerned for your community.

Threats or acts of violence that occur in schools can cause a great deal of confusion and fear in our children who start to worry about their own safety and the safety of their friends and family. 

Knowing how to have a conversation with your child or teen about school safety is critical and can play an important role in easing fears and anxieties about their personal safety. How do you address these fears and keep them feeling safe in school and at home? Here are some helpful guidelines:

  • Talk honestly with your child or teen about your own feelings modeling that they are not dealing with their fears alone.
  • Validate your child’s feelings. “Validating” means giving your child or teen that all-important, and seemingly elusive, message that “your feelings make sense.”
  • Empower your child to take action regarding school safety. Encourage them to report incidents such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide. Encourage older children to actively participate in student-run anti-violence programs.
  • Support your child’s efforts to work out scary thoughts and feelings through play, drawing, or other activities

Lastly, watch for warning signs that your child may suffer from anxiety. Some common reactions to anxiety are:  

  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Frequent nightmares or not being able to sleep
  • Changes in eating habits which could include loss of appetite or overeating
  • Lack of focus or ability to pay attention
  • Separation anxiety or unusual clinginess.

If symptoms should persist for more than six weeks or disrupts your child or teen’s daily routine, it is recommended that you seek professional help. JFCS can provide you the necessary support; please call 609-987-8100 Ext 102.

Shirley Bellardo, LCSW, LCADC Director of Clinical Services

JFCS: Moving Forward into 2022 with Help, Hope and Healing

The end of year is always a time to reflect and set goals for the year ahead. JFCS is sharing inspiring stories of how our programs have helped the individuals, families and community we serve move forward after another challenging year for all.

Valerie’s Journey of Healing…

Valerie reached out to JFCS after recognizing the severity of the anxiety and depression she was experiencing. After making the commitment to counseling and putting new skills into action, Valerie felt empowered to address the root of her most severe symptoms – low self-esteem caused by lack of boundaries in challenging relationships. By tackling the causes of her anxiety and depression, Valerie soon felt confident to move forward from therapy.

“My counselor was exceptional and did an excellent job listening without judgment and providing professional support. I am extremely grateful for this experience and am looking forward to moving past my anxiety.”

Helping Arthur and Ruth Move Forward with Confidence…

The JFCS senior service team received a call from Arthur, who lives out of state, and was concerned about his 90 year-old mother who lives alone in the Princeton community. While the son was in town, one of our geriatric care managers scheduled an appointment to meet with both Arthur and his mother, Ruth. The care manager did a thorough assessment including home safety, social supports, meal shopping/preparation and transportation options. A plan of care was developed to address these issues. Arthur left for home feeling like a “weight had been lifted from his shoulders.”

He knew he was no longer alone to deal with the challenges that lie ahead. JFCS receives many calls like this and our expert team of geriatric care managers is available to provide guidance and support to those in similar situations.

Melinda Finds Hope at the Pantry…

Melinda is a grandmother who serves as the primary guardian to both grandsons. She lives on a fixed income and is the full-time caregiver to both children, one of whom has significant physical special needs, requiring in-home therapy and care. It is difficult for Melinda to get out of the house, but thankfully, she is in counseling with one of our JFCS therapists who referred her to the pantry team. Our pantry team was able to identify one of our local mobile food pantry stops where Melinda can easily and conveniently pick up groceries. Melinda was also able to receive gift cards through the LIGHTS program so she could purchase holiday gifts for her grandsons, something out of reach without this support.

“With a resource coming right to my neighborhood, it is a huge relief. I face serious financial challenges as the sole caregiver for my grandsons, and I am so appreciative of any help. Even the smallest gesture makes a big difference in our lives.”

Stories like those of Valerie, Arthur, Ruth and Melinda are just some examples of the impact we have made, together, over the past year. You can read further about how JFCS has served the community this year in our latest Annual Report.

We thank all of those who have supported us, especially in these ongoing, challenging times. We hope you can once again trust JFCS to care for those in need with an end of year gift. Help us move into the new year with help, hope & healing.

IN THE NEWS: Volunteering Can Have Positive Impacts on Recipients and Volunteers

Princeton Perspectives recently shared a feature about the positive impact of volunteering, not only for the community and those who benefit from social services, but for those who are providing volunteer service.

JFCS’s own Director of Clinical Services, Shirley Bellardo, LCSW, LCADC, and Volunteer Coordinator, Eden Aaronson provided their perspectives on how volunteer has added to the lives of those who support JFCS.

Read the full article here.