About Us

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston (JBBBS) believes that everyone deserves to have a friend or mentor in their lives that can have a long-lasting and transformative impact.

JBBBS offers two main programs that deliver on this life-changing impact - its Children’s Program and Friend 2 Friend Program. Children’s Programs pair children with Bigs who provide role-modeling, encouragement, and friendship. These programs extend to the whole family by providing financial support and referrals to other social services agencies and holiday programming. Each year, the agency awards more than $300,000 in scholarships for both camp and college. JBBBS also serves adults with disabilities in the Friend 2 Friend Program with volunteer Friends who provide connection and friendship.

JBBBS currently has more than 400 matches across both programs. It could not be successful at the work of the more than 400 volunteers who generously give their time. All matches are supported by Master’s level JBBBS clinical match specialists who are experienced in supporting the whole family and making sure their collective needs are met.

Our Mission

JBBBS seeks to support and empower individuals and families to engage, to participate actively in the life of their communities, to live inspired and to inspire others. Through a holistic approach to supporting clients and families, we provide mentorship to children, teens and adults as well as financial support, holiday programming and referrals to other social service agencies. For this reason, we actively engage and serve children and adults across religion, race, gender, sexual identity and orientation, and ability.

Our Vision

JBBBS is an innovative mentoring agency, driven by Jewish values, to serve and empower children and adults of all abilities throughout Greater Boston.

OUR HISTORY

Founded in 1919, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston (then the “Jewish Big Brother Association”), is New England’s oldest youth mentoring organization and one of the 12 founding members of the national Big Brothers Big Sisters movement. Today, JBBBS is among over 400 independent Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in operation throughout the United States.

What began as a War-era initiative to serve Jewish immigrant boys and their families at a time when Jews lacked access to or were actively excluded from receipt of social services, has expanded its reach from an inaugural program serving a few children to one that, today, and with financial support from CJP, The United Way, the Rodman Ride for Kids and various foundation grants, matches over 250 Jewish and non-Jewish children from a variety of life circumstances and over 90 towns in eastern Massachusetts.

In 1992, the agency expanded further to include a first-of-its-kind friendship program for adults who have mild to moderate disabilities called Friend 2 Friend. The Friend 2 Friend program annually serves roughly 175 adults who benefit from the social interaction that the the program affords. JBBBS also serves as a co-sponsor of Yom Sport, a preeminent athletic event for adults of all abilities in Greater Boston’s Jewish community.

While much has changed for us in our over nine-decade history, the same values of family and community that inspired our beginnings sustain us to the present. For more information, contact us.

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OUR 2020 IMPACT

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Students recieved $244,000 - College Scholarships

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Staff hand-delivered prsonalized summer packages to our Littles

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Supported matches in Children's and Friend 2 Friend programs

“[JBBBS] reminds us that while this time may seem isolating and strange, that people who care are out there."

- Parent of Little

OUR STAFF

JBBBS staff are here to support our participants and their families through every step of their participation with us. Our staff are deeply involved in selecting the best matches for our participants and volunteers so that everyone will have a meaningful and impactful experience. JBBBS caseworkers are there throughout the process through monthly phone and e-mail check-ins and are always available to address any questions or concerns that may pop up. Our caseworkers remain available to help volunteers brainstorm activities and to field questions and concerns as they arise.

JBBBS clinical match specialists are all Master’s level clinicians who are experienced in supporting not only our participants, but also their families - making sure their collective needs are met.

Whether you are a volunteer or a participant, you are in good hands with the JBBBS staff.

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Jeffrey Savit

(He, Him) BA, JD, MSW - President and CEO

Jeffrey is so proud and honored to return to JBBBS as the CEO and President of our beloved agency. Jeffrey attended Phillips Academy, Andover, in 1978. He holds a BA in American History from Harvard College, a JD from Boston College School of Law, and an MSW from Boston College School of Social Work. While working as a trust and estates attorney for almost two decades, Jeffrey immersed himself as a volunteer in the Boston Jewish Community, first having served as both Board and Endowment Chair of JBBBS, and as Board Chair of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston. During the last decade, Jeffrey has served as the CEO and President of the Jewish Alliance (Federation and JCC) of Greater Rhode Island, and the Chief Development Officer of Prizmah, Center for Jewish Day Schools. Jeffrey is a champion of children and the vulnerable members of our community. In his spare time, Jeffrey loves theater, movies, reading, walking, eating and our Boston professional sports teams. The three apples of Jeffrey’s eyes are Lori, his wife of 28 years, his daughter Mollie, a hair stylist in NYC, and his daughter Chloe, a Junior at the Steinhardt School at New York University studying vocal performance, et al.

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Program Staff

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 Laura Shulman Brochstein (She/Her) , MA, LICSW – Clinical Program Director

Laura is a social worker and Jewish communal professional with over 15 years’ experience working with children and families. She has worked both in program development at CJP on the Families with Young Children initiatives as well as in clinical roles at Aspire Early Intervention, Children’s Friend and Family Services and Jewish Family and Children’s Service in the Center for Early Relationship Support and CHAI Services with adults with disabilities. Laura has a BA from Bates College, an MA from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University and MSW from Salem State University.

Laura is a Newton native whose past times include early morning walks around Marblehead Neck, boxing classes, compulsively cleaning up after her kids and reading the latest Brene Brown books.

Jenny George (She, Her), MSW, LICSW - Director of College Mentoring & Senior Clinical Match Specialist

Jenny holds a BA from Brown University and an MSW from Simmons School of Social Work. Jenny has worked as a researcher in the field of behavioral medicine, specifically studying smoking cessation; as a clinician in Inpatient Psychiatry at Children’s Hospital Boston, providing family-centered services to children and families in crisis; and as a school social worker, supporting children in a Boston public elementary school. Jenny completed post-graduate training at the Family Institute of Cambridge in Narrative Family Therapy, and has been significantly influenced by a strengths-based approach to the field of social work. Jenny enjoys spending time with her family and her large household of pets, reading, hiking, playing tennis and singing.

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Tania Gutman Gray (She, Her), BS, JD – Director of Community Engagement & Outreach

Tania has a diverse background as a program manager, as a business consultant, as an attorney, and as an active volunteer in Jewish school based programs. For over twenty years, she organized, led, and promoted impactful programs and projects that have greatly enhanced the lives of Jewish young people and their families. She has a BS in Psychology from Union College and a JD from New England Law. She loves traveling (especially to Israel), hiking, practicing yoga, and reading. Her favorite pastime is spending time with her husband and four children.

Lorraine Helfand-Garcia (She, Her), MSW, LICSW – Director of LGBTQ+ Program and Team Lead, Children’s Program

Lorraine has happily joined the JBBBS Team after a varied professional life. She has been a Big Sister with the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston since 1994 and won the Big Sister of the Year award in 1998. The experience with her Little Sister continues to be mutually rewarding to them both as they now grow older together as friends.

Lorraine graduated from Boston College School of Social Work in the 90’s and quickly found her passion delving into family, community and social justice concerns. Over those 20 years, Lorraine was a director of home-based family therapy programs which allowed her to empower youth and families all throughout Massachusetts. Additionally, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Simmons College, a consultant, and the director of a foster care program. As a group leader she led a 2 1/2yr group for LGBTQ+ teens and Latino clinicians and parents. When she is not working, she is restoring her soul and energies with loving friends and family. Yoga, meditation, indoor gardening, reading, kayaking, attending concerts, plus traveling far and wide, all inspire much adventure, self-discovery & awe. All these experiences while living in Chicago, New York, Ecuador and now MA have all steered her focus towards doing her part to foster diversity and inclusivity wherever she goes.

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 Stacey Schneiderman (She, Her), MSEd – Team Lead / Clinical Match Specialist 

Stacey has always had a passion to support people with different abilities. She focused her studies in the field of Special Education earning degrees from Lesley University and Simmons College. Her professional adventures brought her to teaching in a variety of settings ranging in grade levels from the urban public schools, behavioral health hospitals, and specialized programs for students with mild to moderate as well as more intensive special needs. Her experiences in the mentoring field began as a volunteer for the Friend 2 Friend program in 2007. She has also worked as a mentoring specialist at Partners for Youth with Disabilities, with a focus on youth involved in the juvenile justice system. She loves to go running with her dog and spend time outdoors with her husband and kids.

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Giselle Silberman (She, Her), MSW, LICSW – Clinical Match Specialist

Giselle holds a B.A from Brandeis University and an MSW from the Boston College School of Social Work. Prior to starting at JBBBS, she worked for Riverside Community Care as a program coordinator for their online behavioral health screening program. While pursuing her MSW, she also worked at Brighton High School as a school social worker and at the Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern University as a social work intern, specializing in BASICS and Motivational Interviewing. In her free time, Giselle loves spending time with her husband, visiting her family in New York and Israel and spending too much time at the Brookline Booksmith.

Caitlin White (She, Her), MSW, LCSW – Clinical Match Specialist

Caitlin worked in Corporate Finance for many years before making a career change into the field of Social Work. A lifelong volunteer, Caitlin discovered her passion for helping children and families through volunteering. In 2013, she left the financial sector and accepted a position at The Boston Ronald McDonald House as the Day Manager and Volunteer Coordinator while attending Simmons School of Social Work. At Simmons, Caitlin interned at an elementary school where she provided counseling to students, support for families, and facilitated groups. Caitlin has also interned, and was hired part-time, as a Clinician with Needham Youth & Family Services where she provided outpatient therapy services for youth and families, substance abuse counseling, school-based workshops and groups, and community-based work. In addition to an MSW from Simmons School of Social Work, Caitlin holds a BA in Voice from New Jersey City University.

In her free time, Caitlin, a New Jersey native, loves exploring all of what New England has to offer, as well as crafting, and spending time with friends and family. Caitlin was a Big Sister herself with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City and is excited to be a part of such a wonderful agency!

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Kelsey Romaniak (She/Her), MSW - Clinical Match Specialist

Kelsey holds a B.A. in psychology from Marist College in New York. While there, she worked In The Office of Special Services, supporting students with varying abilities and also interned with multiple Juvenile Probation programs. After college she moved to Chicago and began her career in retail, working for Calvin Klein, and that is from where she most recently joins JBBBS.
Kelsey then returned to MA in 2015, where she attended Simmons College’s School of Social Work, completing her MSW. She has experience at The Home for Little Wanderers, supporting children and families through a trauma focused lens doing In-home therapy. She also interned at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital as a medical and surgical social worker. Kelsey also has experience working at Berkshire County ARC, supporting adult clients in both residential and day programs.

In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, gardening, spending time with her two French Bulldogs and most recently has begun golf lessons.

Erin Walker (She, Her), MSW LCSW - Clinical Match Specialist 

Erin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with minors in History and Elementary Education from West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania and an MSW with a concentration in Policy and Management from Rutgers University in New Brunswick New Jersey. Erin was also a Fellow in Rutgers School of Social Work’s Aging and Health Certificate program. Prior to joining JBBBS, Erin worked with the older adult population in a skilled rehab/long-term care facility in Denver, Colorado where she worked on discharging planning for residents as well as conducting psychosocial assessments with residents. Erin has interned for the Division of Aging Services in Trenton, New Jersey working with New Jersey’s Task Force on the Abuse Against Older Adults and People with Disabilities on helping identify policy and procedure problems within New Jersey and finding better ways to service both communities. Erin has also interned with Yachad in Manhattan, New York providing outpatient therapy services for adults with disabilities, facilitating social skill groups, conducting intakes with new potential clients, and working on a self-advocacy class for adults with disabilities. Erin also works for a domestic violence and sexual violence agency where she speaks to students in high school about teen dating violence.

In her free time, Erin enjoys hiking with her husband and their dogs Maggie and Tucker, spending time with friends and family, cooking, and traveling.

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Marisa Tuncali (She, Her), MSW LCSW - Clinical Match Specialist 

Marisa holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Simmons College and a MSW from Simmons School of Social Work. She is also currently pursuing her LCSW licensure. Prior to joining JBBBS, she worked as a pre-k assistant teacher at Waltham Creative Start. Marisa enjoys working with children and has provided play therapy, social-emotional skills training and group therapy to children grades k-12 in various school-based settings. She is especially passionate about child safety and served as a Newton CAP (child assault prevention specialist) volunteer providing education and skills-oriented workshops focused on anti-bullying, stranger safety and assault prevention techniques for children in the Newton public schools. Marisa is a passionate LGBTQ+ ally and enjoys art, traveling, drinking coffee and spending time with her family and her two rescue dogs.

Sharon Rosen Katz (She, Her), EdM - Clinical Match Specialist

A self-avowed people person, Sharon holds a BA in East Asian Studies and Japanese language from Brown University as well as a Masters in Elementary Education from Boston University. For the last several years, Sharon has worked as a private consultant providing students individualized academic instruction as well as coaching parents. Prior to being self-employed, Sharon worked for Gateways Access to Jewish Education as a Learning Specialist for seven years at the Jewish Community Day School and Maimonides. Earlier in her teaching career, Sharon taught secular studies (grades 1,4,5 & 6) at The Alperin Schechter Day School in RI, The Solomon Schechter Academy in CT and The Rashi School in Dedham. A mah jongg enthusiast, Sharon has taught more than 150 participants (school aged to seniors) how to play the game over the last three years. In addition to her professional associations, Sharon has actively participated in Jewish life for decades, volunteering for Hadassah and serving on synagogue and day school boards. Passionate about voter engagement and food insecurity, Sharon recently has spent more time advancing these issues. To recharge her batteries, Sharon enjoys gardening, arranging flowers, doing yoga, spending time at the beach and taking long walks. Sharon has been married for 30 years and has two grown children. 

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Tricia Sherman, (she, hers) MBA, CCLS Clinical Match Specialist T1D Program

Tricia holds a BS from (Boston University) Wheelock College and an MBA from Brandeis University. She began her career at Boston Medical Center working as a child life specialist with both children that had chronic illnesses and those that had been through traumatic experiences. She helped to formulate multidisciplinary committees that worked to meet the ever-changing psychosocial needs of children and families throughout their hospital stay as well as in their home life.  After her time at Boston Medical Center, she went on to work for Weight Watchers leading community-based meetings and managing its at work programming. While this work was rewarding, she realized she truly missed her passion of working with children and families. Tricia is so excited to be at JBBBS and to be part of a new program that allows her to combine her past work in the hospital and her new work with the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Program both such compelling causes, truly a perfect match.

Tricia lives in Needham with her husband, 2 daughters and her dog! In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking, coaching cheer, driving to dance competitions, knitting, walking and the Peloton!

Development and Operations Staff

Zack Malenfant (He, Him), BS – Director of Operations

Zack first joined JBBBS in early 2017 to manage the annual gala. He comes from a background in interpretive education, teaching children of all ages. He’s also truly passionate about conservation and spends much of his free time in the outdoors. Zack is currently matched in the Friend 2 Friend program.

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Lauren Korn (She, Her), BA, JD – Director of Philanthropy

Lauren holds a JD from Boston University School of Law. After working in litigation for several years, Lauren began volunteering at various non-profits in Boston which focused on the needs of parents and children. Lauren also taught Legal Writing and Research at Boston University School of Law for nine years to international students receiving their LLM. Lauren worked at Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh helping with the new National Mikveh Network. Most recently, Lauren worked at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton on a multi-million dollar capital campaign. In her free time, Lauren loves spending time with her husband and three sons. She also is a mahjong teacher and avid tennis player.

Joan Blackman (She, Her), BA – Administrative & Scholarship Specialist

Joan’s career began in Retail Management, on both the Merchandising and Finance sides. In recent years, her involvement with causes joined to at-needs children led to her transition from the corporate to non-profit sector, and to an opportunity to serve the JBBBS team in their mission. Joan holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Brandeis University, where she also discovered a love for writing. That continues to this day, as does a passion for reading and political discourse. She cherishes her family, not only her husband and daughter, but her three siblings, one of whom provides an excuse for travel to Israel.

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Nicole Beede (She, Her), BA- Development Associate

Nicole holds a BS in Psychology & Business from Northeastern University. After working various clinical psychology, sales/marketing and administrative roles, Nicole discovered her love of advocacy within both the adoptee and disability community. After gaining development and fundraising skills in various nonprofits, Nicole decided that mentorship was something that aligned with her passion of creating chosen family and supports. Her interest in JBBBS seemed like a perfect next step for her career. Nicole is an ex-competitive swimmer who is currently hosting BIPOC events through out Boston, with a startup organization called skip the small talk. She spends her time exploring new restaurants, visiting her hometown of Newport, RI, and swimming as much as possible.

Julia Rodda (She, Her), BA - Marketing and Events Associate

Julia recently graduated from Endicott College with a bachelor's degree in Communications and a minor in Graphic Design. Originally from Long Island, NY, she is a new resident of the Greater Boston area. Prior to working at JBBBS, Julia interned at the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce, helping them create visual aids for the various events they held for the community. Julia felt JBBBS was the perfect place to expand her knowledge as well as contribute to helping the community. Her interests include spending time with her friends and family, going to the beach, and finding new books to read.

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OUR BOARD

JBBBS Board of Directors play a critical role in defining vision and acting as the governing body for policy. Additionally, and most importantly, our Board is the pivotal driver behind our fundraising efforts. For more information about the JBBBS Board of Directors, including how you might contribute, contact our President and CEO.

Judy Shankman

Chair of the Board of Directors
Nurse, Newton-Wellesley Hospital

Steven Sisselman

Treasurer of the Board of Directors
COO and Co-Founder, Itera International Energy, Chair of Finance Committee-Retired

Adam Eisenberg

Secretary of the Board of Directors
Research Analyst, Real Estate Group, Fidelity Investments

Members at Large

Jeffrey Maimon
(Immediate Past Chair)

Jake Bronstein

Project Manager, Elaine Construction

Cindy Blotner

Attorney

Annika Bockius-Suwyn

Estate Planning Attorney

Dean Cohen

Arieh Coll

Equity Portfolio Manager, Coll Capital

Andy Friedman
Attorney, Outside GC, LLC

Josh Jick

Retail Strategy and Analytics Manager, Everett Bank

Jeff Karp

President, LAZ Parking

Jody Kipnis

Co-founder & President, Holocaust Legacy Foundation

Daniel Klein
Partner, Labor & Employment Department, Seyfarth Shaw

Corey Prachniak-Rinon

Jake Rubin

Lead Product Owner, Medidata

Stephen Silk
Owner, A.G. Silk Inc.

Jonathan Soyt
Operations Project Manager, Automation Engineering, Inc.

 

Harris Wallack

MBA Candidate at D'Amore-McKim School of Business

Eric Yale

Principal Strategy Consultant, Forrester

Susan Yorks

Judith Young

 

JBBBS Endowment Board Members

Joe Morgart, Board Chair

Peter Antoszyk

David Bamel

Larry Green

Bob Haber

Betsy Jacobs

Jack Kadis

Carolynn Levy

Allen Sheldon

Karen Sisselman

Stephen Rosen