November is National Adoption Awareness Month

by Marsha Raynes, Manager, Project Esther: The Chicago Jewish Adoption Network

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. For over two decades, this month has been designated as a time to shine a light on adoption and to bring attention to the number of children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families. It is also a good opportunity to recognize the different options couples and individuals have to help build their families.

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Help Your Child Prepare for the Holidays

by Jennie Marble, M.A., CCC-SLP, Assistant Director of Integrated Pediatric Interventions at Jewish Child & Family Services

The holidays are often a time to gather with friends and family to share a special meal, but for children with eating challenges a change in routine and environment, along with the sights and smells of new foods can be overwhelming. 

Preparation for the holidays is helpful for any child, but is particularly important for children with feeding and swallowing disorders. Talking about what to expect during the family visit, and looking at pictures of food and exploring scents beforehand can go a long way.

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Stand with Refugees: Become a Congregational Co-Sponsor

by Jessica Schaffer, HIAS Chicago Director

Today, over 65 million people are displaced around the world – of those, more than 25 million are refugees. Various conflicts across the globe, including in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere, have created the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II.  In the face of this crisis, many countries and states and institutions have closed or threatened to close their doors to refugees, unable or unwilling to provide the critical support necessary to help them rebuild their lives.

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How Glick Family Camp Has Inspired Me

by Melissa (Mimi) Goldberg

At Jewish Child & Family Services’s Glick Family Camp, parents, their children with disabilities and siblings enjoy a family-oriented, nature-filled camp experience – together! The camp is offered once each spring at Jewish Community Youth Services Camp Henry Horner/Camp Red Leaf in Ingleside, Illinois. The weekend is filled with a variety of social, creative, recreational and supportive activities. A family camp worker is assigned to each family.

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Transitions in Jewish Community Services

by Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services

Shorter days, cooler temperatures, football and and the sweetness of apples dipped in honey.  All signs that we are in the midst of transitioning to a new season and a New Year.

Several of our programs at Jewish Child & Family Services are also transitioning to better serve the community. It's clear that the months ahead will be filled with energy!  Shanah Tovah - may this New Year be filled with health, happiness and peace.

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We're All in This Together: Six Phrases More Important Than 'I Love You'

by Marc Bermann, JCFS Foster Parent Recruiter and Support Specialist

1)  "I Appreciate You"......We often take friends and family for granted, especially when things are going well and we're not in a crisis. Where our children are concerned, both bio and foster, it's important to catch them doing something good and acknowledge how good we feel about that. Nothing makes children feel better than knowing they are appreciated by the people who are caring for them.

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September is National Recovery Month

by Dr. Beth Fishman PhD
Manager, Jewish Center for Addiction

September is National Recovery Month, therefore it seems a good time to ask “what is recovery?”  The Jewish Center for Addiction at JCFS serves Chicago’s Jewish community by raising awareness about addiction issues, educating on addiction, prevention and treatment, referring community members to recovery resources, and supporting Jews in recovery.  So it is equally fitting that JCA would bring this question to our community.

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JCARES Professional Training Institute

by Betsy Lazerow, JCARES & Community Services Professional Education Coordinator

JCFS Community Services is committed to offering cross-discipline professionals – mental health, social service, health care and addiction treatment professionals; Rabbis and synagogue leadership; law enforcement and legal advocates; administrators and educators – with a diversity of opportunities for learning, networking and dialoguing.  

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Handwriting Without Tears

In this technological age, it’s easy to overlook the importance of handwriting. Pen and paper are no longer the primary means by which most people write. Instead, we favor keyboards and touchpads to communicate. While these modes are certainly less messy and more convenient, studies show that children who do most of their reading and writing on the computer have a harder time retaining and processing information. (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2006). For this reason, educators and occupational therapists alike are encouraging children and their parents to make building handwriting skills a priority.

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