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  • Opening doors for James

    We love win win situations. At times, there is more than a “double win.” Hiring James Cartright for our KidsConnect Camp in the summer of 2016 was one of those situations. James worked as a “Mentor in Training” which we like to call, “MIT”. We’ll fill you in on the “wins” in a moment. Let […]

    Who am I anyway?

    I have tended to shy away from academic theory in this blog. While sitting at the Fourth Annual LGBTQIA+ Youth Conference, I could not help myself but remember one psychologist whose theories resonated with me. Erik Erikson looked at our life span in terms of how we navigate through “conflicts” that each developmental stage presents. The […]

    Celebrating Kindness

    What an honor it was to be at the opening reception of the “Student Creative Expression Exhibit of 2017”. It was the culmination of work of students throughout the Hudson Valley; they worked on pieces expressing “Celebrating Kindness”. For me, the event was both an education and a true celebration! I learned from Rob Conlon, […]

    Teens Connect Truly Sparkles!

    Among the many programs that JFS Orange offers is a program, “Teens Connect.” It is there that we partner with GSA’s throughout the county, supporting youth who identify as LGBTQ and their allies. What are GSA’s? They are after-school clubs; GSA stands for “Gay Straight Alliance.” We are proud to have the support of the […]

    Each day is better than the next!

    Who better to invite as a guest blogger than, Suzanne Schindler? Suzanne, along with other parents and guardians serve on the JFS KidsConnect Advisory Board. They helped to vision and create the program, from its inception, nine years ago. At that time, it was called, “Yeladeinu”, which is Hebrew for “Our Children”. Please join me […]

    Camp is a “go” this year!

    Great news! We learned a couple of weeks ago of a generous financial gift that will enable JFS to hold KidsConnect Camp again this year. The camp is open to children ages 5-18 with any type of disability. As many of you know, after nine years of programming, funding had been cut. Throughout 2015, we […]

    Leadership Skills and Learning among LGBTQIA+ and Allies

    The statistics are alarming. 34% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Of this population, 60.8% experience at least one type of victimization while homeless including being: threatened robbed assaulted sexually assaulted raped With an increase being victimized, there is an increase of depressive symptoms and Post Traumatic Stress symptoms. Thankfully, with all of this devastating […]

    A personal post from Elise and her husband, Mathew

    Dear Friends, Family and Community, When our daughter Maya took her life on October 2, our collective hearts shattered into enough pieces to fill the ocean. Each piece reflects memories and questions. Memories we will hold dear; questions that will remain unanswered.  We will never make sense of it all, yet while deep in our […]

    A box to help reduce stigmatization

    Elise Gold, JFS Orange; Nadia Allen, Mental Health Association in Orange County; Nolly Climes, Rehabilitation Support Services; Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther; Darcie Miller, Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services for Orange County; Peggy Spagnola, MHA Orange and NAMI; Glenn Liebman, Mental Health Association in New York State If you’ve ever heard Assemblymember Aileen Gunther talk, […]

    The magic of KidsConnect Camp

    How does one capture the magic of two amazing weeks of KidsConnect Camp in one short blog post? This is an impossible feat. Let me share a few snippets that have been shared with me or those that I have witnessed myself. Days begin with a group cheer, often led by a camper or MIT (Mentor […]