Home Away From Home At Camp Firefly

by Lindsay Hardy, M. A., Pre-doctoral Psychology Intern

Camp Firefly has been my ‘happy place’ for three years…friends and family know I am busy every year at the end of July because I make it a point to clear my schedule and head up to camp.”  – Returning camp counselor, 2013.

This counselor’s very special experience of Camp Firefly is not uncommon. A majority of counselors return to work at Camp Firefly each year, placing careers, family, school, and social lives on hold to spend a magical two weeks in Wisconsin under the bright July sun. They help children and teens with diagnosed social disorders such as Social Anxiety, OCD, Asperger’s and others make friends and have an authentic summer camp experience.  Campers and their families arrange their schedules each year to make sure that they are able to participate in yet another summer with the Fireflies.

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Milt's Story: Subduing The Storm With Love And Support

by Susan Schulman, Vice-Chair, Jewish Child & Family Services Board of Directors

"My Dad did not know many people. He did not speak the language. He needed help and that help came from The Jewish Children’s Bureau.” (Now known as Jewish Child and Family Service.)

Zoltan Zimmerman could never have dreamed his son Milton would be where he is today when he handed the care of 11 month old Milt to JCB. Milton, married for 25 years and father to four children, is the Executive Vice President and Partner at Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence. A national company with over 400 employees that specializes in brokering environmentally conscious products. He is also on the executive board of Jewish Child and Family Service.

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Prevention, Help and Hope: We Are YOUR Jewish Center For Addiction

by Beth Fishman, Ph.D

Addiction is a disease that impacts our community and a disease that can be treated. The Jewish Center for Addiction (JCA) was created to assist those in the path of addiction’s immediate trauma and to help build caring communities that are aware of and responsive to the problem of addiction. Programs offered by the JCA address specific needs of Chicago’s Jewish community, and reflect best practices from across the country.

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Keys For Unlocking Successful Playdates

by Meredith White, M.S., Developmental Therapist

‘Tis the season for after-school playdates and fall weekend outings with friends.  The backdrop of cooler temperatures and falling leaves seems perfect for a myriad of play-date successes.  But what if you find hosting (or even attending) these playdates to be a daunting occasion for both you AND your child?  Well, you’re in good company.  Many families with typically developing children or children with social-skill deficits often find playdates to be a challenge.

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The Wealth From Mental Health

Abraham Lincoln. Gandhi. Winston Churchill.

All of these great leaders in history suffered from mental health issues at some point during their life. In America, nearly 30 million adults seek therapy a year for a mental health issue.   For the last 23 years, the first week of October has been designated by Congress and the National Alliance on Mental Health as “Mental Health Awareness Week.” People are encouraged to get screened for depression, learn about recovery and understanding and most importantly, increase awareness of the mental health issues in our community and erase any negative stigma attached to it.

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Time To Celebrate Sobriety

Dr. Beth Fishman, Manager, Jewish Center for Addiction

The Jewish new year 5774 has just begun.  Jews around the world have gone through the High Holy Day process of tshuvah/spiritual return.  This can also be a time to celebrate the return to a life free of addiction.  If you are Jewish and actively engaged in addictive behavior, or find yourself embroiled in the chaos that a loved one’s addiction creates, how can you return to a life of sanity this year?  Here are some suggestions to make the most of this opportunity to return to the life you were intended to live:

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Ask a Clinician: How Do I Make The Best Out Of An Empty Nest?

It’s been almost a month. Your child or loved one has been off at  college, making new friends, acclimating themselves to the campus and hitting the books hard (hopefully). Maybe they’ve already found a job and moved out.

But you, as their parent or guardian, may have noticed something different in the last four weeks. Something is off. Suddenly, you realize that the loud music that once shook your house has been replaced with silence. The laundry seems lighter. There’s one less person to talk to at the dinner table about their day.You may be living in an empty nest.

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New Beginnings: Jewish Teachings And 12-Steps To Recovery

by Beth Fishman, Ph.D

Addiction is a disease that impacts our community and a disease that can be treated. The Jewish Center for Addiction (JCA) was created to assist those in the path of addiction’s immediate trauma and to help build caring communities that are aware of and responsive to the problem of addiction. Programs offered by the JCA address specific needs of Chicago’s Jewish community, and reflect best practices from across the country.

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Adapting to Change at Any Age

As the old adage goes, the only constant in life is change.   Whether it’s trying something new, going to a new school, or adapting to life changes, change can be both feared and welcomed, anxiety producing and exhilarating.  As summer ends and the seasons change from summer to fall, JCFS clinicians share insights on change at different stages of life.

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Tween Girl Drama: 7 Ways to Support Your Daughter

Parents of 9 to 12 year-old girls know “Tween Girl Drama” even if they cannot define it.  They see it in the struggles their daughters have negotiating friendships, their changing bodies, and their growing desire for independence.  They experience it in the moodiness and seeming over-reactions to the littlest of things. Here are 7 tips for supporting your daughter (or even your son) as she navigates these challenging years:  

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