WEST HARTFORD — The Connecticut Council of Family Services recently held its “Celebration of Family Champions,” a program promoting the mission of the Council through the recognition of the efforts and dedication of agencies staff members and volunteer board members from each Council member agency.
This year, West Hartford-based Jewish Family Services nominated staff member Joan Margolis and two exceptional board members Robin Fierston and Melissa Weinstock for their extraordinary dedication to the organization.
“The champions selected by Jewish Family Services work with perseverance and thoughtfulness in their areas of responsibility to strengthen families,” said JFS Chief Executive Officer, Anne Danaher. “They consistently go above-and-beyond the call of duty to support our mission and we would not be where we are without their exceptional contributions.”
Joan Margolis has been a staff members at JFS for 27 years. She spent her career exemplifying the Council’s mission of “strengthening Connecticut families.” In addition to her operational responsibilities for JFS licensing, accreditation and grant writing, Joan served for 20 years as the statewide coordinator for Services to Holocaust Survivors. In this capacity, she works with lower income survivors and coordinates access to needed services, including basic human needs. She facilitates an advisory committee for this program, consisting of survivors and second generation survivors. Joan is a strong advocate for the survivor community and reminds us all that “we must never forget” the atrocities of the Holocaust. Through her career at JFS, Joan has taken many leadership roles and is committed to helping all families that face challenges to self-sufficiency. Above all, her sense of social justice and inclusion in her efforts to provide meaningful services and support to JFS clients is what makes her an agency champion.
Robin Fierston and Melissa Weinstock as a team both live every day with the CCFSA mission of strengthening Connecticut’s families, while enacting the JFS tagline of “embracing possibility.” Robin and Melissa are chairpersons for the JFS PossibiliTeam which is a group of board members, volunteers and donors that create impactful social action programs that directly help JFS clients and families. Examples of these programs include JFS annual Back to School Drive where supplies are collected throughout the community and volunteers fill backpacks for all of young clients in need and Giving Tuesday which provides gifts for children and teens whose parents are unable to provide such gifts. Robin and Melissa have a commanding ability to mobilize the community for social action and social justice. They are the co-founders of Deeds for Needs, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the community by providing goods and services to fulfill specific client needs. Deeds for Needs works closely with JFS to identify unmet client needs that the agency doesn’t typically support and resources that make a significant difference in people’s lives.
“Joan has had a tremendous impact on our JFS family. As she plans to retire on November 2019 we are thrilled that she is recognized with this Family Champion Award for her exceptional service and commitment,” said Danaher. “As for Robin and Melissa they are true Family Champions. Their dedication, concern for others and desire to repair our world is an inspiration to all of us at JFS.”
For more information visit www.jfshartford.org.