Category Archives: latest post

The Magic of Making a Difference Gala

Thank you to all our Gala attendee’s sponsors and generous donors who helped make our 2017 Magic of Making a Difference Gala a success.

The evening began with a magic filled cocktail hour followed by a delectable dinner. The attendees were entertained by the Magical Voices of STAMM a Washington University A Capella Group. Our Honoree ceremony soon followed with wonderful videos honoring Dr. Mary Hoke JF&CS’s own Chief Operating Officer and Chief Program Officer, and a generous community philanthropist Sidney Guller who both received custom glass awards.

Special thank you to our 2017 Making A Difference Committee Co-Chairs: Jody Waldman & Stacy Sloas

Committee Members: Jan Abrams Aaron Levinson Freddie Steinbach Rena Abrams Alice Ludmer Karen Suroff Sarah Barbarash Marissa Rosen Sharon Tureen Steve Green Erin Schuver Janie Roodman Weiss Judy Kaplan Judi Scissors Judy Zafft


For more photos, visit our Facebook page.

CAPP and National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month

JF&CS’ Safe Surf Program Aims To Provide Cyberbullying Solution Before It Starts

(ST. LOUIS, MO /October XX, 2017) – October is Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month and although traditional face-to-face bullying has been gradually decreasing, a newer and more devastating trend has taken its place in full force: cyberbullying. In 2015, a study found that almost 35 percent of 11 to 15-year-olds in the Midwest experienced cyberbullying in their lifetime, according to Cyberbullying Research Center. Cyberbullying is a growing social problem if not stopped – can have lasting emotional and psychological effects on a victim’s mental health.

The Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) is taking a proactive step to combat these statistics. Recognizing that technological advances (the Internet, cell phones and social media) have led to the increase and prevalence of cyberbullying, JF&CS created a free program that teaches technology safety to our community.

Safe Surf presentations are offered to schools, daycare facilities, camps, community organizations and others. JF&CS is using their program to open the door for St. Louis organizations to communicate with their youth and educate them on the dangers of cyberworld, making it a safer place for all kids in our community. Doing so will enhance student’s safety at school, improve their ability to learn and focus in the classrooms, and help put a stop to cyberbullying.

The Safe Surf Program uses an interactive and entertaining presentation, fourth to 12 th grade students are taught safe and responsible internet skills, such as:

  • How to be a good cyber citizen
  • To recognize cyberbullying and help stop it
  • To understand the ramifications of inappropriate online behavior
  • To utilize social networking in an age-appropriate and respectful manner

“Unfortunately, cyberbullying is a modern trend that continues today. JF&CS is working to educate and put an end to it,” says Lou Albert, Chief Executive Officer at JF&CS. “Our value goes beyond speaking with the children; We offer our lessons and services to parents and teachers as well, to provide them a better grasp on how today’s children use technology, how to read the signs that a child is being bullied or bullying, and how to handle the situation effectively.”

Safe Surf is a branch of JF&CS’ much larger Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP), which has served over 300,000 children’s, parents, educators and other professionals throughout Saint Louis County. JF&CS visits schools and education centers and uses CAPP to spark engaging educational discussions on a variety of child safety topics. These discussions equip children with the knowledge necessary to assess dangerous situations and act accordingly.

For more information regarding JF&CS and their CAPP programs, please visit

About Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS): The Jewish Family & Children’s Service offers compassionate support and practical solutions to help people in the local community navigate life’s challenges. JF&CS and its licensed professional staff assist the elderly, protect children at risk, provide food and services for the needy, resolve family problems and enhance Jewish connections. JF&CS serves those in need, regardless of age, race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.


Susie Charak Dedication

Suzanne L. Charak recognized by JF&CS for her commitment to the agency

Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) dedicated the now Suzanne L. Charak Lobby on Tuesday, May 3. Susie, joined by family, friends and JF&CS staff members, was recognized for her vision and commitment to renovating the JF&CS lobby. Karen Suroff, JF&CS Board President, and Lou Albert, JF&CS Executive Director, thanked Susie and her family for their dedication to making the newly renovated lobby a welcoming place for clients, staff and volunteers.

“We are incredibly grateful for all the hard work and dedication Susie has demonstrated over the years,” says Lou Albert. “Her level of commitment to the agency and renovating the lobby will forever be appreciated.”


AJFCS – Save The Date

AJFCA Senior Services Midwest Meeting
September 25-26, 2016 at JF&CS St. Louis, MO

AJFCA Senior Resource Connect will offer a meeting for older adult services professionals this Fall in St. Louis! The conference will help AJFCA members network around all things senior services and share knowledge. The meeting will begin with an afternoon and evening of networking on Sunday, September 25th to be followed by a day of programming on Monday, September 26th. We are excited to host this year’s event!





10 Tips to Increase your Mental Health!

February “What’s On Your Mind” article published on Jewish In St. Louis website.

How can I increase my mental health?

Dear JF&CS Therapy Team,

My friends and I were talking about all of the focus in the media about mental illness and wondered…..rather than focusing on mental illness….what if the media focused on mental health. That discussion led us to a question….are there really ways for a person to increase their mental health?

Inquiring Minds

Dear Inquiring Minds –

You and your friends will be happy to know that there definitely are ways to enhance a person’s mental health. Of course, it is also important to know when it is time to seek professional help for a problem that is interfering with you going about your daily life.

Below are some “tips” for enhancing a person’s mental health….and Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s therapists are available by calling (314) 993-1000, if professional help is ever needed.

Try These 10 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health

 Treat yourself with kindness and respect:

Make time for your favorite hobby like doing a daily crossword puzzle or planting a garden; or try something new like playing an instrument or learning another language.

  1. Take care of your body physically:

Eat nutritious meals; drink plenty of water; avoid smoking; exercise; and, get enough sleep.

  1. Surround yourself with people who have strong family and social connections:

Make plans with family members and friends who are supportive and seek out activities where you can meet new people.

  1. Give of yourself:

Volunteer to help someone else. You will feel good about helping someone in need — and it is a good way to meet new people

  1. Learn how to handle stress:

Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Use good coping skills like taking a walk, writing in a journal or playing with a pet. Also, try to see the humor in life and smile. Research shows that laughter can reduce stress, strengthen your immune system and even ease pain.

  1. Learn to quiet your mind:

Try meditating. Relaxation exercises can help you to feel calm.

  1. Set realistic goals:

Make a decision about what you want to achieve in the next week, month or year and write down the steps you will take to realize your goals. Be realistic and remember that making progress toward your goals is part of the achievement.

  1. Break up monotony:

We all have routines that make us both more efficient and increase our feelings of security and safety but a little change can be energizing. Take a walk in a different park, or try a new restaurant.

  1. Avoid alcohol and other drugs:

Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people will use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but in reality alcohol and other drugs only result in increased problems.

  1. Seek help when you need it:

Getting help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. Remember that treatment is effective and people who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and substance abuse disorders.