JFS Orlando receives $50,000 for FSP!

Check presentationJFS Orlando recently received a $50,000 grant from the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund. The grant will support JFS Orlando’s Family Stabilization Program.

The Family Stabilization Program is designed to help family’s improve overall stability and self-sufficiency. This program assists clients with budgeting, individual financial counseling, mental health counseling and providing case management to help improve their educational and/or employment status. 

“We are more than grateful for the generous support that the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund has provided JFS Orlando over the past 15 years,” says JFS Orlando Executive Director Eric Geboff. “The Family Stabilization Program continues to grow every year, and the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund has helped expand our services to assist more families in need.”

In 2016, JFS Orlando assisted 101 families through the Family Stabilization Program and had a 96% success rate. The success rate is determined by the completion of the 6-month program and improvement to their overall stability and self-sufficiency.

$585,000 was distributed to 13 nonprofit organizations in Central Florida through the Orlando Sentinel Family Fund in this grant cycle.

JFS Orlando welcomes new Clinical Supervisor

Douglass-Barnes, AshlynJFS Orlando welcomes Ashlyn Douglas-Barnes, a licensed clinical social worker and qualified clinical supervisor, to the Counseling, Growth and Development Program as a clinical therapist supervisor. Douglas-Barnes has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient community based mental health, inpatient/admission psychiatric hospital, substance abuse/DUI, dialysis/medical, and in home/office outpatient therapy.

Douglas-Barnes specializes in adults and couples, with a range of concerns from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma, chronic illness, and relationship issues with a focus on improving communication, self-esteem, and self-confidence. She is certified by Postpartum International for specialized care of perinatal mood disorders (postpartum depression). Douglas-Barnes is also certified to complete pre-surgical mental health clearance for bariatric surgery, as well as counseling before and after bariatric surgery for individuals and couples.

Read more about Ashlyn and the Counseling, Growth and Development Program in our article featured in THE HERITAGE.

Niki Wilkerson, Summit Church Community Engagement Coordinator

Niki Wilkerson, Community Engagement Coordinator with Summit Church, talks about why she refers clients to JFS Orlando. Niki’s team at Summit strives to care for those in need and build relationships with organizations worldwide that share a vision for ending injustices brought about by poverty. JFS Orlando is proud to be one of those partners.


New Computer Lab helps neighbors in need

IMG_1888Angelique, a Family Stabilization Program client, is an ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constricted Employed person). Since losing her job last year, she has been working day labor jobs as a temporary worker. In some ways this has been great, she has been able to spend time with her children and have flexibility in her schedule, on the other hand she still has many bills to pay. The day labor company pays using a local shopping store’s money card system. Her paycheck goes into an account which she draws funds from similar to a bank’s debit card system. When she recently went to use the card, she noticed her balance was lower than what she recalled. Further investigation led to the discovery that someone had used her card number for fraudulent charges. After contacting the card company and the police, she was directed to file a claim on line. Angelique does not have access to a computer at home, but knew she could come to JFS Orlando’s new computer lab for assistance because she had previously utilized the computer lab during her search for employment. Angelique immediately contacted her FSP case manager who was there to assist Angelique in filing the claim with the help of JFS Orlando’s new technology.

Family Stabilization Program’s Lasting Impact

As found in the January, 2017 edition of The Park Press.























Click here to see the online version.

Family Stabilization Program’s Lasting Impact

The premise of the Family Stabilization Program is based on the adage “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day—teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.”

The Family Stabilization Program (FSP) is an intensive six-month case management program that uses a holistic approach to help low-income individuals and families achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency. This goal is accomplished byproviding participants with supportive services to mitigate immediate crises; and teaching them critical skills and tools to build a stable future.

Throughout their participation in the program, FSP clients receive a unique combination of services tailored to meet their individual needs, all of which are provided at no cost to participants: case management, financial education, individual financial counseling, financial assistance for basic needs (such as rent or utilities), employability skills training, mental health counseling, and food assistance.

The target population for the Family Stabilization Program is low-income individuals and families in Orange and Seminole Counties who are financially insecure and/or at risk of homelessness. In the most recently completed program year, concluded on September 30, 2015, FSP served 33 households, composed of 109 individuals, 58 of whom were children. Approximately 48% of these households were headed by single mothers. These 33 households experienced the following results:

  • 85% successfully completed the six-month program and improved their overall stability and self-sufficiency
  • 100% of clients who participated in the financial components of the program improved money management skills
  • 94% of clients maintained or improved employment status
  • 94% of clients maintained or improved housing

The Family Stabilization Program (FSP) clients receive services such as food assistance, financial counseling and employability skills training.

  • 9 clients participated in mental health counseling to improve functioning
  • 19 clients received food assistance to alleviate hunger
  • 23 clients received financial assistance to support basic needs

Since its inception in 2005, the Family Stabilization Program has served more than 550 at risk families, positively impacting more than 1,600 individuals in Central Florida. To date, outcomes have shown significant improvements in participants’ overall income, financial management skills, employability skills, housing stability, food security, emotional well-being and day-to-day functioning.

FSP is an outreach of the Jewish Family Services of Orlando. JFS Orlando provides social services and emergency assistance to struggling individuals and families throughout Central Florida. People

interested in learning more about the program can call 407-644-7593 or go to the JFS Orlando website – http://www.jfsorlando.org/family-stabilization-program-fsp/.

JFS Orlando Open House

Mary Lee and David

Check out Christine DeSouza’s wonderful article highlighting JFS Orlando’s NEW LOOK in the Heritage!

JFS accepts new insurance!

TreeBehavioral health insurance is vitally important to those with occasional mental health or emotional needs and for those with more chronic mental health concerns. People most often need assistance with adjusting to life transitions such as job stressors, family concerns, grieving a loss, or managing changing relationships. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are often triggered due to these transitions. Having behavioral health insurance can assist with getting the help that is needed to learn coping skills and relieve symptoms associated with negative feelings. Unfortunately, some have behavioral health insurance that is underutilized because they do not know or understand that is included in their insurance plan.

Another important plan that is underutilized is Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). EAP can effectively reduce the adverse effects of depression, workplace stress and other mental health issues, but research has shown that most EAP-based mental health services are underutilized by employees.

Many people are not aware that their employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that often provides 3 to 8 counseling sessions at no charge to them. We often encourage potential clients to inquire with their employer or insurance company to verify if EAP is offered to them.

JFS Orlando’s Counseling, Growth and Development Program is excited to share the new insurance panels we are able to accept. The list below states the various companies JFS Orlando accepts:

  • Cigna
  • Aetna
  • Humana
  • Tricare
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
    • Magellan
    • Cenpatico
      • Sunshine Health
    • Wellcare
      • Staywell
    • Beacon Health (Psychcare and Prestige)

In an effort to provide mental health services to the entire community, JFS Orlando also has a sliding scale fee for the uninsured or underinsured in need of counseling services. Please contact our Clinical Therapist Supervisor, Teresa Brown, LCSW  for additional information regarding our counseling services and insurance questions at 407-644-7593 x247.

NOW & LATER: Supporting JFS – sweet as candy!

Do you remember the candy called “NOW and LATER”? It was a combination of Laffy Taffy and Starburst and their slogan was “Eat some NOW and save some for LATER.” This is a great concept for candy, but you might be asking yourself, what does this have to do with Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando?

We all think about the future of the Jewish community. When speaking with JFS supporters and community members I reflect often on what JFS needs today – and what it will need three, five, and ten years from now. I always try to look at the big picture. While the Annual Campaign is what supports us today and will provide JFS with our operating funds in 2017, bequests and legacy gifts are what will sustain JFS in the future.LIFE-LEGACY-LOGO

I recently spoke with a member of our community regarding our Life & Legacy Program. She wanted to know the best way to leave a gift to sustain JFS into the future. We discussed the simplest method which is a notation in her will designating funds, life insurance, an IRA or some other asset to JFS upon her passing. We also discussed a Charitable Gift Annuity, which would provide her income now, with the remainder of her donation being left to JFS upon her death. To accomplish this, all she has to do is consult with me and her attorney and fill out a declaration of intent form advising us that she has left a legacy gift.  

Please consider speaking with your estate attorney, financial planner or me about the many ways you can leave a legacy to Jewish Family Services. We would love to add your name to those of our other Life & Legacy donors, and know that your legacy gift can be at any amount that is meaningful to you…there is no amount that is too small or too large when it comes to sustaining JFS. Speaking from experience, participating in the Life & Legacy Program is a positive and uplifting thing to do, for you, your family and JFS. It’s as sweet as candy to support JFS, NOW and LATER.

-Eric Geboff, MSW, Executive Director

For more information on the JFS Orlando Life & Legacy Program, please contact Eric Geboff, Executive Director, 2100 Lee Rd. Winter Park, FL 32789 or eric.geboff@jfsorlando.org. or 407-644-7593 x 238.

Meet Linda, A Family Stabilization Program Success Story

Linda BrownLinda’s family depends on her, including a 7 month old grandchild that she has custody of while her son is incarcerated. Linda suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. She went on disability when she was first diagnosed, but with the illness could only find temporary work. She came to JFS Orlando on the brink of eviction. Linda found hope when she enrolled in the Family Stabilization Program.

“Doors were closing. I didn’t know what to do. At JFS Orlando, I found positive people who wanted to help me out of my situation. They helped me catch up on my rent so our family could stay together. The classes showed me the road to recovery. They taught me how to write a resume, and how to get my credit back. I also learned about different schooling opportunities. I recently got my forklift operators certification and am working full-time at a warehouse. I am planning on getting my GED in the spring, and, as soon as my credit score improves, I plan on buying a house. Thank you, JFS.”

Meet Yolanda

“There is so much positive energy at JFS Orlando. Everyone here is so nice and wants me to succeed. They taught me that I was worthy of having people around me that wanted me to be myself. They see me as having value”, says Yolanda. “Life’s been hard. I’m a single mom. I have a job as a school crossing guard. I love what I do. I love waving at the children each morning, but I know I need to do more. JFS taught me that I can be more. The classes here have taught me different ways of looking at opportunities. They have taught me how to be more natural with networking and therefore, be more productive. I’m also getting my credit back on track. Thank you, JFS Orlando.”

Yolanda is one of many enrolled in the Family Stabilization Program, a six-month case management program for low-income families designed to improve financial stability and self-sufficiency.

The people who come to JFS Orlando are struggling. They are facing poverty, hunger, homelessness and other significant issues. Regardless of the circumstances that bring people to our doors, JFS Orlando is here to lend a helping hand. JFS Orlando takes a holistic approach to helping individuals and families, like Yolanda, improve their situation with an eye on the long-term solution.

Your donation allows us to continue to help repair the world, one person at a time.

We ask for your generosity to allow us the honor to serve those in need.