April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ Receives Funds for Second Generation Caregivers and Holocaust Survivor Care

(Courtesy of JFS MetroWest) Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ has announced it has received a grant from the Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Center on Aging and Trauma, a project of the Holocaust Survivor Initiative. When combined with matching funds, this award will enable $49,665 in continued programming for second-generation caregivers and the Holocaust survivors they care for over the next year. Programming is particularly needed to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, all staff who work with Holocaust survivors will receive ongoing training on Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) care.

JFS MetroWest NJ is grateful for this continued funding, which provides specialized caregiver support to the second generation, or the children of Holocaust survivors. To help second-generation caregivers feel less stress while taking care of themselves and the survivors they care for, JFS MetroWest NJ offers supportive counseling, a monthly meditation support group, and informative workshops on health, aging, and trauma.

“As the Holocaust survivors in our community age and decline, they depend more and more on their children for support. When we are able to meet the needs of their second-generation caregivers, the overall care for survivors is also improved,” said Liz Levy, LCSW, coordinator of Holocaust services for JFS MetroWest NJ.

“Holocaust survivors are our teachers and our heroes,” said Mark Wilf, chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees and past chair of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative. “With inspiring strength and conviction, they teach us about the past. Now, they are teaching us how to better serve all older adults who have survived trauma. We are honored to partner with the federal government to lead this initiative and call on all communities to come together to support Holocaust survivors in need.”

The grant is part of the Jewish Federations of North America’s partnership with the federal government to improve lives for Holocaust survivors and comes as the world observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Recognizing the value of the PCTI approach, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living has awarded a new grant of $5 million to JFNA’s Center on Aging and Trauma to serve Holocaust survivors, other older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers. Funds from private philanthropists complement the federal grant.

Reports suggest that one out of three Holocaust survivors in the U.S. lives in poverty, and as many as 90 percent of older adults in the U.S. have a history of trauma caused by events such as war, violence, accidents, domestic or sexual abuse, or discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the challenges experienced by Holocaust survivors and other older populations. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions.

PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength and empowerment of all individuals by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims’ lives into agency programs, policies and procedures. Spearheaded by JFNA, this approach acknowledges that survivors of trauma have distinct and extraordinary needs, and that service delivery must include an understanding of these needs to avoid re-traumatization.

As part of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative, the Center on Aging and Trauma promotes excellence in service delivery together with the expertise of partner organizations including the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. In addition to providing sub-grants for local services, the Center on Aging and Trauma offers robust technical consultations on the development and implementation of PCTI programming, as well as training open to all aging service providers to catalyze a nationwide culture shift toward PCTI care. The grant relies upon annual Congressional appropriations and private philanthropic contributions. JFNA is proud of the bipartisan Congressional support for this program championed by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Bill Johnson (R-OH).

The program is made possible by federal funds from a grant through The JFNA Center on Aging and Trauma. Approximately 75 percent of the project, or $37,249, comes from federal sources. Approximately 25 percent, or $12,416, comes from non-federal sources.

For more information, call (973) 765-9050 or visit www.jfsmetrowest.org.

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