We have just completed our 11th year of existence and as well my ninth year of being president. As I am handing the reigns of JSA to our new nominated president it is incumbent upon me to report to you where JSA stands in its programming at the end of our fiscal year 2014.
We are intensely involved in two areas:
1. Outreach & Advocacy and 2. Peer Support Programs.
OUTREACH. The 2013-2014 fiscal year was one of solid accomplishments:
1.Fall Symposium: November, 2013
Title:“Live to 120: Thriving” was probably one of the best with attendance: over 200.
2.Spring Forum: May 2014
co-chaired:by Gyda Chud and Bev Cooper,
3.JSA-Snider Foundation Empowerment series
title:The 3 E’s: Elders Empowering Elders
4 sessions,each coordinated and chaired by different volunteers
attendance:to be extremely successful with 25% increase in the attendance: well over 300. Thank you Shanie
4.Senior Line magazine: the only written connection to the seniors in the Jewish Community continues to receive rave reviews as the best of the best. Edith Shier, editor–in-chief and the editorial committee deserve our thanks.
We have to acknowledge the wonderful work that is being done for the Senior Line magazine by Dolores Hannah Luber through the new “Ask Hannah” column, as well as the many well-written articles that she provides. Binny Goldman through her photography and event reviews also deserves a special mention. Karon’s work in coordination & production for the magazine as always is just wonderful.
5.JSA Website: has been declared by individuals in the know as being the best in town – however, we are not satisfied, and we are putting great efforts to improve it further – to make it even easier to access and to provide more valuable information to seniors and their families.
A unique feature of the website is the calendar of events featuring every possible event of interest to seniors in the Greater Vancouver area. It is thanks to Dolores Hannah Luber that this calendar is always up-to-date. If you are not making use of this calendar, I suggest you do.
The website would not exist if it were not for Karon’s guidance and maintenance.
Everything that we do relates to prevention and advocacy. We are not only playing a role in the community and making sure that services are available but we are also establishing a wonderful relationship with many agencies in the Greater Vancouver area through a network of organizations that deal with seniors.
Through cooperation between them and us we are working hard to point out to the governments what is needed and where their attention should be in order to help the seniors.
Organizations such as:
BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support [BCCEAS] BC Coalition of People with disabilities [BCCPD] BC Health Coalition [BCHC] BC Seniors Advocacy Network [BC SAN] Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives [CCPA] Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of British Columbia [COSCO
Integrated Care Advocacy [ICA] – JSA initiated this with the help of Gloria Levi.
Vancouver Cross Cultural Seniors Network [VCCSN] Simon Fraser University Gerontology Research Centre
Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver
J Hub – Richmond
Jewish Family Services Association
Jewish Community Centre
They are all our partners in trying to help seniors.
PEER SUPPORT SERVICES:
It is now very clear to us that we have established and developed a most important service for seniors through our peer support programs.
Peer Counselling volunteers, shalom again weekly phone calls, weekly home visits, information and referral, the driving to medical appointments and the newest program started Sept 9 of Bereavement Support group are wonderful stories of success and pride of the Seniors Alliance involvement in all these programs.
The committee chaired by Pamela Ottem, who’s report you have just heard, The role of Charles Liebovitch, Senior Peer Support Services Coordinator, and Grace Hann, Senior Peer Support Services Trainer and Supervisor. Grace and Charles, are wonderful examples how people can exert such a great positive influence and wellbeing through their sincerity and honest wish to help seniors.
The financial assistance we have received from many foundations, The Jewish Federation, Provincial Government’s Gaming Grant, The Federal Government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, and the support that we receive through individuals are all examples of the kind of support we get.
More than 150 people (families and individuals) to date are being provided care and help through the Peer Support Programs. This is a win-win situation because it helps not only the individual that receives the help but also the individual that gives the help.
The result is phenomenal because these programs prolong healthy life and turn pain into joy for many people that we are so proudly helping out.
Thank you to Regina Boxer, Bernice Dorfman, and the many volunteers for organizing the social part of our Annual General Meeting. This year the attendance to the AGM has increased from 114 to 150 individuals.
Thank you also to Binny Goldman for being at all the important meetings, taking pictures, writing article reviews, donating your beautiful homemade tribute cards and for being here with all your heart.
Thank you to the all round volunteers. Without their help we could not accomplish very much.
We want you to know that volunteers contribute more than 4000 hours to JSA per year.
Thank you to our Executive and Board of directors and thanks to all the wonderful individuals who have served on our board over the passed years.
Thank you to the community for putting your trust with us by financially supporting JSA, and attending our programming.
Above everything else may I categorically state that none of the above would have been possible without my right hand – Karon. Her sacrifice, dedication and good will are without precedent. The rest of our staff Rita, Charles and Grace have given enormous guidance and sincere help through the year. Thank you and God bless you with strength and good health.
To our incoming president Marilyn Berger, our new Executive and Board –Mazeltov! I am with you all the way and you can count on me.
1.After so many years I think that I have developed a kind of sixth sense that I can foresee many things happening in the future.
The senior population will double in ten years and like it or not the community has to adapt a policy that will have to deal with the seniors of the future. Serious consideration will have to be given to a Jewish seniors’ center, and deal with this issue now – not five years from now when it will be too late.
2.Both federally and provincially the governments are under tremendous financial pressure. Youth, Education, Medicare, are all demanding billions of dollars for more financial support. It seems to me that seniors’ issues do not play an important enough role in the governments attitude. Perhaps this is because we have not been clever enough to assert that grey power into the politics both provincially and federally. Therefore the money to senior programs is going to decrease tremendously. This is where an organization like JSA is of prime importance in the role that it plays to help the seniors. Forty billion dollars in this country is given to the provincial and federal governments through volunteering. The agencies that provide help with professional staff will be in dire need of funds in the future because of government restrictions and lack of funds.
I foresee the growth of organizations like the JSA doubling and tripling their activities because of the low cost. The cost to JSA to provide help to families is anywhere between $500 to $1000 per year. Whereas organizations using professional help are spending $10,000 to $15,000 for each family that they help. You can easily see why JSA could grow enormously in the not too distant future.
JSA has a great future in this community provided that it has the foresight and creativity to recognize and seize opportunities that present themselves, and be there to provide for the growing need of seniors in our community.
In 2003 JSA started in areas that nobody wanted to venture. Through patience, hard work, courage, vision and perseverance JSA today has proven that things can be done, that seniors are not worthless members of society, and that we as seniors can provide a unique contribution to society.
“Only those that attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”
– Albert Einstein
God Bless You All