Issue 97 | March 2023
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 Share Your ECHOage Celebration with JF&CS 

Birthdays come once a year, so why not celebrate another trip around the sun more meaningfully? ECHOage is an easy-to-use platform that turns your celebration into an opportunity to give back, all while having fun! ECHOage takes away the stress of shopping for gifts and replaces it with the joy of helping others. Half of the funds are donated to charities of your choice, and the other half gets put towards a gift for your child.

Hear from some of our past ECHOage hosts:

"We selected JF&CS because it is part of our culture to care a lot about children, to invest into them whatever best we might have in our souls, time, and resources. This is a great thing [to do], but it also is a very big undertaking that might require a lot of effort that not everyone can afford. [ECHOage is] letting people do the best of their souls despite all limits and modern life constraints and letting their children become someone who can sincerely and resourcefully support the next in need."

"We chose to do ECHOage because there is a big number of gifts that are given to kids like mine at birthday parties, much of which she doesn't need. I'm trying to teach (and show) my kids to be grateful for what they have but also to give back in the form of service and giving where we can. ECHOage is a great way to do this. I work for [Children's Aid Society], my mother was raised in foster care for some years, and our family is Jewish - so JF&CS was the best option for us to give to. We hope this small donation helps at the margins."

ECHOage makes it easy to plan, share, and host parties that support a charity of your choosing. If you are looking to host your own ECHOage party, please click here for more information. 

 Because YOU Matter: Mental Health Workshop Launch

Agencies throughout the GTA have witnessed an increase in demand for mental health services. In response, JF&CS, in partnership with UJA, has developed an information workshop centred around mental health. This two-hour training, titled Because YOU Matter, is designed to help community professionals and volunteers identify warning signs of mental illness and know where to refer people for help. Through this workshop, we hope to ensure that people experiencing a decline in their mental well-being are approached in a non-judgemental way and receive assistance in finding and accessing the help they need. We believe that early intervention and mitigation will build a more resilient local Jewish community by offering the community more education, empowerment and compassion.

Workshop facilitators will share necessary tools, strategies and resources needed with community professionals. The workshop will be customized as follows:
   • A focus on adult mental health – Checking in on Mental Health: Because YOU Matter 
   • A focus on youth mental health – Checking in on Mental Health: Because YOUth Matter 
   • A focus on supporting camp staff with child and youth mental health

JF&CS piloted the Because YOU Matter workshop on March 15 with a focus group initiated by UJA. From feedback collected through this focus group, we learned that participants left the session feeling more confident and personally empowered to take on conversations regarding mental health. The initiative launches officially on Monday, March 20, 2023. If you or someone you know might be interested in learning more about Because YOU Matter, don't hesitate to get in touch with Shawna Sidney - Family Life Education Coordinator, at 416-638-7800 X 6215 or

Celebrating JDAIM With Our Partners at the Toronto Jewish Disability Network

As part of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM), 14 Jewish organizations that support people with disabilities came together on February 5, 2023, for a community event. Many of the participating organizations are partners of the Toronto Jewish Disability Network. The JDAIM event was hosted at the Prosserman JCC and brought together over 250 people, including several community dignitaries, such as Orly Fruchter from the Azrieli Foundation, Deputy Consul General of Israel Shani Azulai, MPP Laura Smith, and many more.

The event attendees had the opportunity to browse participating organizations' booths, allowing them to speak to various agency professionals, engage with Teaching Awareness through Puppetry (TAP) amazing puppets, participate in inclusion-based activities such as sensory bags, browse the inclusion wall and enjoy treats provided by DANI (Developing and Nurturing Independence). Participants were then invited into the theatre, where they were entertained by Toronto's Special Voices Choir alongside Cantor Simon Spiro, the stars of the award-winning documentary, "Just as I am," and Montreal's Shira Choir, led by Reverend Hazan Daniel Benlolo.

Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month with us!

 Our Downtown Location is Now Open!

On March 6, 2023, we officially reopened our downtown branch! Come visit us at the Gordon S. Wolfe downtown location – 365 Bloor Street East, Suite #1904. Our doors are open to clients from Monday to Wednesday, 9 AM to 5 PM. For more information and instructions on how to get there, check out our social media accounts or call us at 416-638-7800.

 Last Month's Volunteer and Resource Families Conference

At JF&CS, it is important to us to support our dedicated and benevolent volunteers and resource families – just as they support our clients. One of the ways we do this is by providing our volunteers and resource families with valuable learning to equip them with necessary tools and expertise.

On February 1, 2023, we hosted an online conference for our volunteers and resource families to help them better understand post-traumatic growth in an era of COVID. Speaker Leanne Matlow, a cognitive behavioural therapy counsellor with a private practice specializing in anxiety for children and adolescents, joined us for the presentation. She shared insights on brain science, how COVID has caused severe cognitive defects in developing youth, and how we can reinforce family as a safe place for connection, belonging and contribution. Leanne also provided participants with strategies to help regulate emotions and to create a supportive environment for children.

This unique opportunity allowed attendees to learn about the importance of empathy and gain valuable knowledge about helpful ways to connect with children. Thank you to all who attended, and thank you to Leanne for sharing her knowledge.

 Volunteer with JF&CS!

JF&CS is immensely grateful to those who donate their time and efforts to assist our clients in a myriad of ways. From in-person to virtual spaces, community members of all ages offer companionship, connection, and learning for JF&CS clients across the GTA. There are many ways and opportunities to get involved with the agency, and here are a few of the roles we have available:

The Donations Drop-Off Driver will deliver donations, such as grief support kits, food boxes, gift cards and more, to JF&CS clients' homes.

FRC Drop-in Assistants provide support to the Family Resource Centre (FRC) staff and families by assisting with drop-in activities such as arts and crafts, music, cleaning toys, etc.

Our Conversation Café Facilitators at the FRC help adults and seniors in the community practice their conversational English in an informal and welcoming setting, where they also discuss Canadian culture and available community resources.

Volunteers in the Café Europa Program at the Bernard Betel Centre provide support at our monthly social and culture get-togethers for Holocaust survivors. Volunteers interact with Survivors and assist staff with registration.

These and other volunteer opportunities are open right now! If you are interested in any volunteering opportunities listed here or on our website, please contact Andrea Pines, Volunteer Coordinator, at 416.638.7800 x 6266 or to discuss your interests.


In-Person Appointment Resources

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Join the Monthly Mitzvah Makers! 
JF&CS' monthly giving program.
Click here for more information. 

Leave a Legacy 
Click here to learn about planned giving through the Gordon S. Wolfe Legacy Society at JF&CS.

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Jewish Family and Child Service | 4600 Bathurst St, 1st Floor, Toronto, ON   M2R 3V3
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