Using the theme of the JF&CS Journey — from hope to opportunity to a better quality of life and more self-sufficiency — the event raised a record $501,536 for JF&CS and kicked off the annual campaign, which has a goal of $1.6 million.
The event co-chairs, Cherie and Gary Aviv and Joel and Staci Libowsky, shared their JF&CS journeys.
Scott Tenenbaum, a former Little PAL in the JF&CS PAL Program, shared how his Big PAL, Joel Libowsky, affected his life and taught him so much — including how to tie his shoes — after Tenenbaum’s father died when he was young. The PAL Program is Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister program.
The Avivs said that caring for their aging parents inspired their involvement in the JF&CS older adults program, now named Aviv Older Adult Services.
Attendees also watched three videos about clients from three JF&CS programs that have made their lives better:
- IndependenceWORKS. Clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities are picked up at home by Alterman/JETS Transportation driver Calvin Matthews. At the IndependenceWORKS building in Dunwoody, they are greeted by caring staff and friends, then go to their activities and supported employment jobs, before returning home.
- Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home). The anti-abuse program is celebrating 25 years, and this video shares the journey of one client who received support.
- Holocaust Survivor Services. Leon Asner survived the Holocaust, immigrated to the United States and became a master tailor for some of the biggest names in Las Vegas, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley. When illness and rising bills threatened to bring him down, he turned to JF&CS Holocaust Survivor Services for help. In 2017, with the help of JF&CS and community partners, he achieved his dream of becoming a bar mitzvah.
Photos courtesy of JF&CS