May 10, 2024

Dear JFCS Family,

Today, we hosted the 18th Annual Dubrow Vocational Breakfast. We honored the hard work and dedication of five participants in our JFCS Supported Employment Program: Ryan Doyle, Faris Ghananime, Clint Lowe, Larry Pham, and Jill Tender. We also honored the leadership and tremendous contributions of one of our employers, Walgreens of Evesham and recognized our very own staff member, Karen Alaimo, with the Barbara Abrams Supported Employment Award of Distinction. You can learn more about the tremendous work of our honorees here.

All throughout the event, the power of our community was so very apparent. Each year, we bring together almost 200 people to celebrate the work of the Supported Employment Program and the JFCS Disability Services Department. We know that our clients’ successes are born out of their hard work, resilience, perseverance, and the belief that they can accomplish their dreams. The partnerships we create with our clients and their employers are based on mutual respect. We understand that they are the owners of their own destiny, and it is our job to escort them on this journey – providing unwavering support, guidance, and advocacy along the way.

According to Faris, who works for Rowan University Gourmet Dining, we helped him make his dreams come true. He said, “I had a wish to become a baker and you all helped my wish to come true. I love coming to work every day. And it doesn’t feel like work because I love it.” His supervisor, Jeff Dilks, shared how proud he was of Faris. He said, “every day he comes to work- he is happy and helpful. The other staff are relieved because they know that they’ll get the support they need to do their job. We are so grateful that Faris is part of our Rowan family.”

Faris’ words ring out so beautifully – they speak to my soul and remind me of my own dreams. When I chose to work in social services, it was because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. I chose to work in our community to help others help themselves. Engrained in my soul and my ethos was a desire to live my dream of Tikkun Olam, the value of repairing our world.

When I think about the importance of the social service landscape and the impact of our philanthropy, today’s event encapsulates its importance. Did you know that the word philanthropy means “the love of people?” While many people consider philanthropy a financial contribution, the history of this important concept is actually rooted in the value of service to those in need.

The Vocational Celebration was named in loving memory of Ellen and Ron Dubrow, two South Jersey community members who could not have loved people more. Their vision was to ensure that individuals with disabilities living in our community could live meaningful and productive lives. Sponsored by the Dubrow and Gelman Families, this annual event allows JFCS to celebrate our clients’ achievements while recognizing Ellen and Ron’s legacy – one that is carried forward through their family. I want to thank the Dubrow and Gelman families for sponsoring today’s event and for their support throughout the year.

Now an event like this truly takes a village!  I want to thank the team of staff who organized today’s event- Oriel Weinberg, Karen Marks, Terry Howell, Janie Abesh, Ronnie Trainor, Pam Litwack, and of course our entire development and marketing team. I also want to our producer Mike Kelberg and the countless volunteers who made sure that today was so special!.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” Thank you for continuing to believe in JFCS and for helping make the miracles and dreams of our clients possible.

Wishing you peace and love on this shabbat and every day,

 

All my best,

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Raechel