Register for 7th Annual Build-A-Backpack!


You are Invited to…

Build-A-Backpack with JFS of Metrowest!

AxieBreen-JFS-Backpacks-2017-3347 (1)

YOU bring the backpack, JFS provides the supplies

We ALL build a backpack!

Click here to register for this year’s Build a Backpack events!

Why Build a Backpack?

While some school districts are able to give their students supplies, others provide parents a list of items to buy. This puts an added pressure on those in our community who are already struggling to get by.

It also offers a chance to support those in the Metrowest community while teaching children about the importance of service and giving back.

Who do they Benefit?

Filled backpacks will be distributed by JFS Staff to the students in JFS’ Reducing Achievement Gaps program and others throughout the Metrowest area.

Where can I Build a Backpack?

You can build a backpack in two different locations,

  • Monday, August 27th at the Framingham Public Library from 10:00am-12:00pm
    • 49 Lexington Street Framingham, MA 01702
  • Tuesday, August 28th at the Wellesley Public Library from 10:00 am-12:00 pm
    • 530 Washington Street Wellesley, MA 02482

The event is FREE and open to the public, but registration is required. 

These are drop-in events – registered attendees are invited to stop in any time between 10am and 12pm

Snacks will be provided!



Questions? Contact Kayla Hopkins at (508)-875-3100 x220 or

Download the flyer

Posted in Reducing Achievement Gaps, Upcoming Events, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged , , ,

WE NEED TO TALK: The 5 Things You Need To Know About Dementia – Lunch and Learn on August 29th

Join Malka Young at Temple Beth Am from 12-1:30pm on Wednesday August 29, 2018 and learn “The 5 Things You Need to Know about Dementia”:

HA L&L 82918

Space is limited – click here and register today!

Posted in Elder Services, Healthy Aging, Upcoming Events, We are JFS! | Tagged

An Unforgettable Mission  to San Antonio Texas: A debrief from Lino Covarrubias, COO, Jewish Family Service of Metrowest (JFS), MA

As you may know, last week I had the honor of joining CJP’s first U.S.-based crisis response mission to San Antonio to see firsthand the impact of CJP’s Fund to Aid Children and End Separation (FACES). Last count the fund has raised over $315k from 413 donors and has distributed $36k to the Interfaith Welcoming Coalition (IWC) and $150k to the Young Center, both in San Antonio TX. The 28-person mission was led by Sarah Abramson, CJP’s Vice President of Caring, Community Impact, and Strategic Partnerships and Dani Weinstein, CJP’s Associate Vice President Women’s Philanthropy & Young Adult Initiative.  I was joined by fellow Jewish agency professional leaders Jeremy Burton (Executive Director – JCRC), Kimberlee Shumacher (CEO – JBBBS), and Karin Blum (Chief Development Officer – JVS).  Also with us were several CJP donors, volunteers, and staff.


 The mission quickly became more than a trip to show our support of the FACES initiative. It became more than packing backpacks with food, water, toiletries, and children’s coloring materials. It became more than seeing how committed non-profits in the San Antonio area like the IWC (providers of basic needs and some case coordination) and the Young Center (providers of immigrant legal services) are fighting to stop the injustices occurring daily for asylum seekers. Most important, we were able to bear witness and meet some of the families at the San Antonio Greyhound bus station, the location that is the first stop after the asylum seekers are processed in U.S. detention centers south of San Antonio. When the individuals and families arrive at the bus station, they have no money, are tired, do not know what the future holds, and are hopeful that they can travel onward to stay with family in the U.S. while they await their asylum hearing. The hearings might not occur for months, or even years.

flip flopsDuring the trip, I met three families. My Spanish fluency proved to be crucial in communicating with them. First, I met a very young mother from Guatemala, who was traveling with two children and another adult. They had crossed the border illegally at the Rio Grande in McAllen, Texas five days earlier. She traveled to the United States to flee gang violence. She was very nervous when she saw policemen at the bus station, and told me that in Guatemala, the police helped the gangs.
It was upsetting to see her with the ankle bracelet, as she managed her children and toys and an unknown future.

dads with kidsThe two other families that I met were two adult men, each traveling with one child. They had crossed the Rio Grande four days earlier. They allowed me to photograph them. The man on the left was fleeing drug gang violence in Honduras. His son had just finished 4th grade. I was told that the child’s mother was killed by a stray bullet from gang cross-fire. The man on the right is from Ecuador. He is also fleeing gangs that had given him an ultimatum to either join them or be killed. He has family in the Boston area and is traveling here to await his asylum case. It was extremely emotional to hear their stories of survival, and there was not a dry eye in our group.

We also had the opportunity to meet leaders of the San Antonio Jewish Federation and local government. They were all very appreciative that the CJP’s community cares about the issues they are dealing with, and they are committed to continuing to find ways to help the asylum seekers.

The mission also provided a great opportunity to work alongside my fellow agency professionals, and discuss JFS’ own immigrant community work with CJP and community leaders on the mission. It was an emotionally charged mission. The amount of churches, community leaders, public involvement and our own commitment to help gives us all hope change can and will happen.  I’m so proud of JFS’ strong commitment to immigrants, refugees/asylees and I strongly believe it must remain a priority so that no immigrant child or family is mistreated, suffers, or is unsafe.  Our expanding Children’s Clothing Project is just one example of our ongoing call to action. Things you can do:

  1. Give to the FACES campaign which funds work the IWC and Young Center does.
  2. Get involved with many of JFS’ program which aid immigrants:
    2. Donate
  3. Get involved- call to action. Next meeting coming hosted by Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted in New American Services, Resettlement, We are JFS! | Tagged , ,

Health Affairs Recommends Funders Support Services like JFS Patient Navigator


In the August 2nd Health Affairs blog post titled “Another Social Determinant Of Health: How Philanthropy Can Help Rural Communities Use Technology To Improve Mobility And Health“, author John Feather describes the challenges faced by elders living in rural communities in accessing medical care and describes an array of solutions that philanthropists, foundations and other funders can support to improve the health outcomes of these isolated elders.

Among the many new and technologically advanced options, the experts agree that human contact remains vital and funders should consider complementary programs like JFS Patient Navigator that recruits volunteers to accompany patients to their medical appointments and uses specialized software that facilitates assignment and data tracking.  These volunteers encourage patient empowerment and reduce social isolation while also helping to keep the cost of services down.

Read John Feather’s blog post on Social Determinant Of Health and
learn the value of investing in programs like JFS Patient Navigator.



Posted in Elder Services, Healthy Aging, Volunteer Opportunities, We are JFS! | Tagged

JFS Celebrates Newly Naturalized Citizenship Clients!

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All photos courtesy of Sheldon Golder 

On July 19, 2018, as part of JFS’s New American program, JFS was proud to host a Citizenship Celebration to recognize and honor our clients who have become naturalized citizens within the last year. Over forty individuals, some with their families, attended the party, bringing with them excitement and fresh enthusiasm at officially becoming U.S. citizens!

Our party was a potluck event, and people were kind enough to bring along delicious foods and treats from a variety of home-countries, including Brazil, Mexico, and Haiti. Our guests talked with one another and shared their stories and experiences. The evening was full of laughter, good food, and the best kind of American pride.

Today immigrant families in the United States are facing many challenges. JFS works to develop innovative, thorough, and comprehensive resources to address the social, emotional, and financial needs of new Americans in the Metrowest community. JFS specialists and volunteers provide a wide range of services—from direct case management and employment support, citizenship assistance, adult ESOL and civics instruction—to help struggling families meet basic needs and move toward self-sufficiency. We honor our clients’ strength and resiliency.

Congratulations on becoming American citizens!



Posted in New American Services, We are JFS! | Tagged , ,

Are You Ready for Success?

Are you a Jewish Professional living in Metrowest? Are you in your mid to late career?Have you lost your job or had your hours cut short?

You may be eligible to participate in the Ready for Success employment program!

Complete the online screening, eligible applicants will be contacted by an RFS team member to schedule a more in depth conversation.newest

Posted in Family Assistance Network, Jewish Community, Job Opportunities

Meet the Staff: Jaquan Harris

Jaquan Harris better known as “Jay” is the most recent addition to the JFS of Metrowest team. He recently graduated in May of 2018 from Framingham State University with a B.A in Accounting. While in school Jay worked part time jobs, as well as, playing football and basketball for Framingham State University. As records show football seemed to be the sport that favored him after receiving honorable rewards such as 1st Team AFCA All-American, two time 1st team all-conference and the Golden Helmet Award.


Jay is originally from Boston, MA and comes from a big family, the youngest boy of eleven siblings. After graduating from Framingham State he accepted a full time position as an accounting associate and program specialist here at JFS of Metrowest.

Since arriving at JFS, Jay has been spending half his time as an accounting associate, “I love the accounting work because the numbers tell me a story and the work always keeps me busy” Jay says. The other half of his time is spent as a program specialist working with elderly and youth, participating in elder programs at Rose Kennedy Lane and other NORC sites and eventually working with the youth at the Woodrow Wilson Elementary School when school starts back up in the Fall. Jay loves the opportunity to contribute towards the JFS community, “…being able to give back to the community, being able to develop relationships between the little kids and the elderly. They need to know that they are loved and cared about” Jay says. He hopes his previous work as a volunteer at the YMCA’s summer programs in Boston will translate over and help with his work at Woodrow Wilson. “Overall it’s been a great experience here at JFS” says Jay.

When Jay’s not working he spends the majority of his time with family and close friends. Jay has a bunch of nieces and nephews he watches over and mentors as well. He likes playing sports and training kids participating in sports such as football, basketball, and baseball. He also likes to cook and read. Jay’s biggest fear is poisonous animals.


Posted in Elder Services, Reducing Achievement Gaps, We are JFS!