JFS MetroWest NJ gets grant to help survivors and second-generation caregivers
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JFS MetroWest NJ gets grant to help survivors and second-generation caregivers

The Jewish Family Service of Metro-West NJ has received a grant from the Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Aging and Trauma, a project of the Holocaust Survivor Initiative. When combined with matching funds, this award will bring $49,665 for continued programming for second generation caregivers and the Holocaust survivors they care for over the next year. That care is particularly necessary during the pandemic. In addition, all staff who work with Holocaust survivors will receive ongoing training in person-centered, trauma-informed care.

The continued funding will provide specialized caregiver support to the children of Holocaust survivors. To help second generation caregivers feel less stress, Jewish Family Service of 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,” Liz Levy, who coordinated Holocaust services for JFS MetroWest, said. “When we are able to meet the needs of their second generation caregivers, the overall care for survivors is also improved.”

“Holocaust survivors are our teachers and our heroes,” Mark Wilf, chair of JFNA’s Board of Trustees and past chair of JFNA’s Holocaust Survivor Initiative, added. “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.”

This 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 person-centered, trauma-informed 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 United States lives in poverty, and as many as 90 percent of older adults in the U.S. have a history of trauma, which can be caused by events such as war, violence, accidents, domestic or sexual abuse, or discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. The 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.

This 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 go to jfsmetrowest.org.

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