WJCS 80th Anniversary Gala is A Huge Success!
WJCS Gala honorees Michele Brettschneider and William Shirley (right) with CEO Seth Diamond
Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) welcomed 250+ guests to their 80th Anniversary Gala on March 28th. WJCS Board members Michele Brettschneider, a Scarsdale resident, and William Shirley, a longtime Larchmont resident, were honored at the Brae Burn Country Club event. The evening was especially celebratory as WJCS, now one of the largest human services organizations in Westchester, is commemorating its 80th anniversary.
“We were founded in 1943 as a small organization that served a few families who were struggling in Westchester. WJCS now has over 80 programs and serves 20,000 individuals of all ages and backgrounds,” said WJCS CEO Seth Diamond.
The theme of the evening was on the long-term positive impact of WJCS services. Four videos emphasized this theme:
• Judith Watson, CEO of Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, shared how psychotherapy at WJCS when she was a teen helped her overcome the challenges of a tumultuous childhood and started her on the path to academic and career success.
• WJCS Board member Julian Gomez, general counsel at a large firm, told about being born into a non-English speaking home and attributed his participation in the WJCS ParentChild+ program as the turning point in his becoming literate and later enrolling in an Ivy League college and law school.
• Lois Steinberg, shared how living in a WJCS group home has given her adult disabled daughter “a full life” where she feels “everyone loves me.”
• Teddy Cooper, a high school student in Rye, explained how the WJCS Share Shabbat program, which paired him with Dora, an aging Holocaust survivor, whom he visits and brings a Shabbat meal monthly, has changed his life forever. The connection he has made with Dora ensures that her story and those of other Holocaust survivors will be passed on to the next generation.
WJCS-Westchester Jewish Community Services has been serving those most vulnerable in Westchester county since its founding in 1943. It is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit, trauma-informed human service agency and its mission is to help people of all ages and backgrounds cope with emotional, cognitive, environmental, physical, interpersonal, social, and educational challenges. Agency experts, using evidence-based practices, provide youth, mental health, trauma, disabilities, and senior services to approximately 20,000 people each year. It also offers privately-funded educational and spiritual programs for the Jewish community.