At JBBBS, we understand that meeting the needs of the participants we serve often extends to supporting the whole family, understanding the nuances of relationships with parents, grandparents, siblings and friends who have been impacted, in their own right, by their loved one’s participation in our programs. In this special, two-part, “In Our Community,” we caught up with Adele (whose daughters, Miri and Elana, were enrolled in the Children’s Community Program) and Ann and Isael, (whose daughter, Gabi, age 24, is a participant in Friend 2 Friend’s Community and MAGIC Programs). Here’s what they had to say about the JBBBS difference!
The Children’s Program
I looked to JBBBS for what seemed like obvious reasons: a newly-single, working mother with a 10-year-old and a toddler that required extensive support services at that time. My oldest daughter’s life was turned on its head, and she needed support I was unable to provide. I was unaware of just how much this would positively affect our lives.
I was immediately impressed by the level of care and professionalism staff took in getting to know my older daughter and the challenges that shaped her life at that time. The agency made a perfect match for her; they remain close to this day. My second daughter, a very different child, was matched about seven years ago. The same process on the part of the JBBBS clinical team was equally on target. My second daughter was matched with someone wonderful, and their match remains in place today. My daughters’ matches are special people, uniquely their own, who provided friendship, support, and wonderful role modeling. Their routine outings gave me a much-needed break, too.
The agency provided opportunities my children would not have had otherwise: Chocolate seders, Chanukah celebrations, baseball games, Blue Man Group. I am very confident in the JBBBS staff. I was glad for “check ins” with the matches, and I loved my independence from this process. I did find both of our social workers very supportive when I needed guidance about circumstances that affected our lives.
I learned JBBBS had scholarship programs to assist with the expenses of camp and, in later years, college. This had a profound effect on the development of who my children grew to be as young ladies. They enjoyed time free of worry and stress and a whole new support system of friends through camp. Currently, one daughter is enjoying camp and one daughter – my oldest, now a senior in college pursuing pediatric nursing – is staffing a leadership tour in Israel for counselors-in-training for the same camp. It has provided them with the beginning of a legacy of their own as they both discuss sending their own children to camp together! Not possible without JBBBS.
The impact of JBBBS and our Bigs clearly has had a major impact on our lives. I am personally indebted for the silent partnership, if you will, of helping me raise my daughters, to help them grow and reach their fullest potential.
Friend 2 Friend
We feel very lucky that Gabi connected with two different volunteer friends: one in each Friend 2 Friend’s Community and MAGIC Program. They’re doing wonderful things for Gabi!
We’ve watched Gabi take initiative to make monthly plans with her Community Friend, Arielle. Gabi and Arielle have gone bowling, shopping, swimming, Swan boating. Gabi so anticipates and enjoys these get-togethers.
In MAGIC, Gabi is matched to Zahava. Similarly, she has so much anticipation around MAGIG group.
Having two new friends in her life make Gabi happy; she knows that they care about her as she cares about them. Gabi has told us she feels a little more like other adults her age when she has the opportunity to make and keep plans with friends.
We know, though, that these relationships have done more than simply enriched Gabi’s social life. In addition to having fun and feeling more positively about herself, Gabi has learned important social and life skills from Arielle and Zahava. As her parents, we’re so grateful.