Barbara Abrams, the Director of Disability Services at Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) for more than 20 years, will be retiring this June. Under Barbara’s leadership, the Disability Services department has grown from a small but dedicated group of part-time staffers to a vibrant team of nearly 100 employees. The agency’s life-affirming offerings include the Weinberg Commons residential program, social and recreational programs, the Soups and Sweets Culinary Training Program, and the Supported Employment Program.
While it is almost impossible to truly honor a person’s life work, JFCS has decided to celebrate Barbara’s unwavering advocacy for individuals with disabilities by developing a new, annual staff award: the Barbara Abrams Supported Employment Award of Distinction. Each year, JFCS will honor an individual who represents Barbara’s legacy of leadership and commitment.
For many community members, their first or only face-to-face connection with JFCS is through the agency’s Supported Employment staff in the workplace. It takes a special person to be a job coach, and these talented individuals have been especially dedicated during the pandemic. The recipient of the first annual Barbara Abrams Supported Employment Award of Distinction is Rachel Coughenour.
Rachel has been a member of the Supported Employment team for almost three years, working five days a week support to support five clients with job coaching and follow-along services. A true ambassador for JFCS, Rachel cares for her clients both professionally and personally. She is a tireless advocate, fostering each client’s greatest level of independence and success. She is warm, outgoing, and personable—the very qualities that have enabled her to forge strong connections with our clients, their families, and their employers.
As an employee, Rachel embodies the JFCS core values, including empowerment, intention, resourcefulness, and expertise. She brings infectious positivity and compassion to every aspect of her work and has played a key role each client’s success in the workplace.
To learn more about the JFCS Supported Employment Program, click HERE.
Photo caption: JFCS Job Support Staff Rachel Coughenour, JFCS Director of Disability Services Barbara Abrams, JFCS Executive Director Marla Meyers