Maxine Myers z”l Volunteer Award Recipient
Stephanie Gerstein has been a volunteer with JFS since 2015. She is a committed, warm, and devoted volunteer who actively serves in many JFS volunteer initiatives from children’s programming like Reading Buddies and Listen to Children to older adult programming such as Friendly Visiting and Tessie’s Touch. She brings joy, connection, and warmth to all her clients, particularly those who are isolated and in need of a supportive companion. She profoundly impacts the clients she serves by always going above and beyond, often adding personal touches that foster deep, meaningful relationships with JFS clients.
COVID-19 Response Programs Award Recipient
During the pandemic, JFS started a meal delivery program for Holocaust survivors and other vulnerable older adults who would benefit from a socially distant weekly hot meal and check-in. Gary immediately stepped up as a volunteer. He delivers meals to clients across Morris, Essex, and Union counties. In addition to delivering meals, Gary delivered care packages of necessities to survivors when supermarket staples were most difficult to get. He is also a part of the virtual Reading Buddies program and reads weekly to students in West Orange.
Reading Buddies Award Recipient
Susan Rueda joined Reading Buddies in 2020, one of our most challenging years for the program. Engaging students via Zoom can be difficult, but Susan is energetic, flexible, and great with children from Pre-K up to second grade. With her dogs Leela and Odie and a variety of hats for humans and canines alike, she has been an instant hit with her classrooms. In addition to two regular classes, Susan has been a last-minute substitute on multiple occasions.
Older Adult Programs Award Recipient
Paul Brownstein is a dedicated Money Management volunteer who has served several clients over his five-year tenure in the program. He is a kind, patient, and dedicated volunteer who devotes his time and expertise to helping his senior clients remain financially independent. Paul is always willing to go above and beyond for his clients and the agency, often seeking out new ways to give back to his community.
Medicare Counseling (SHIP) Program Award Recipient
In the almost 2 years Ayne Klein-Chasid has been a SHIP counselor, she has demonstrated patience and efficiency in counseling clients in the Essex County community. Ayne has received positive feedback from clients who feel more confident and reassured in navigating the complicated Medicare process. Ayne has also taken on the new responsibility of monitoring JFS’s SHIP Helpline to assign referrals of new clients to our roughly 20 SHIP counselors. Ayne has become a great addition to the Essex County SHIP helping clients to navigate the “twists and turns of Medicare” as expressed by one of Aynes’s former clients.