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Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington (JCA)

Helping All Seniors Thrive!

Helping over 30,000 local elders of all faiths to thrive through award-winning programs that include adult day services, transportation, employment programs, caregiver support, information, outreach and diverse, intergenerational services.

Why should I support your work?

JCA – the Jewish Council for the Aging -- has been helping older men and women maintain independence, dignity, vitality and self-respect since 1973. We provide access, answers and opportunities for older adults and family caregivers throughout Greater D.C. We also connect the generations. The needs are greater every year, and your support will help maintain and grow proven programs that serve vulnerable seniors and help them stay connected to the communities they cherish. With your help, we can also develop new solutions and partnerships to respond the needs of a graying population.

 

Why does your charity exist?

In 1972, a multi-agency committee formed by the United Jewish Appeal (not yet a Federation) found that local families were scrambling to find social outlets, benefits programs and affordable rides for moms and dads. And many vulnerable elders, some of whom were once leaders of our community, were living solitary lives. They were isolated, lonely and all but forgotten, especially if they had outlived their friends or if loved ones lived far away. JCA was founded in 1973 to respond to these needs, with the central principal that older adults should be able to live in the homes of their choice as independently as possible for as long as possible. Today, more than four decades later, older adults and family caregivers continue to need a trustworthy advocate and guide. JCA is a trusted partner on issues of transportation, employment, eldercare and other top concerns that have been senior priorities for decades. However, today’s clients often ask far more complicated questions than clients of yesteryear. Many are overwhelmed by too much information rather than too little. Many, too, are dealing with multiple issues of aging. A 70-year-old could be trying to adjust to her retirement, control her chronic and acute health conditions, and make ends meet while helping her 90-year-old parents and 50-year-old son. JCA serves them all, sometimes with programs of its own, and often by making community connections.

What specifically do you do?

JCA offers adult day services, caregiver support groups, intergenerational programs, senior employment programs, SeniorTech computer training, and senior transportation programs. Our Senior Helpline and HomeCare Resource Center connect older adults and caregivers with senior services, including home care, housing, job training, transportation, and much more.

How will this make a difference?

Last year, because of generous friends like you, JCA served more than 30,000 older people of all faiths, ethnicities and walks of life. We helped them avoid isolation and live independently. We helped them thrive. JCA represents something different to each and every man and woman we proudly serve. To the isolated senior with no means of getting around, we are a smiling ElderBus driver who cheerfully helps with canes, walkers and wheelchairs and even carries packages with a smile. To the concerned family member suddenly faced with overwhelming health or home care issues, we are the confident voice of an information specialist who understands precisely the services needed to care for a beloved parent or spouse and can access our unique, comprehensive database to find needed resources close to home. For the senior who is frail or suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other challenges, we are a safe and caring place that provides dignified assistance at adult day centers that are second to none. To the older jobseeker, we are a friend, advocate, teacher and guide. JCA is all of this and so much more! We are vibrant intergenerational programs that build bridges and shatter stereotypes. We are volunteer-run computer training programs that have graduated 11,000 adults since 1992. We are different faces in various places, but united in our mission of helping local seniors experience the positive side of aging while making the National Capital Area a great place to age. 

How is your work different from that of other, similar charities?

JCA is a recognized expert on aging. We specialize in connecting older adults and family caregivers with services and community resources, enriching what we do by utilizing the talents of more than 800 volunteers. We also have an organization-wide focus on connecting the generations through our Heyman Interages® Center. The Jewish values of tzedakah (good deeds) and tikkun olam (repairing the world) guide all our programs, which serve people of all faiths and all walks of life.

 

What have you accomplished?

Here are just a few of JCA’s accomplishment for fiscal year 2015, by program area. TRANSPORTATION: 121,790 miles driven and 46,776 passenger trips provided by ElderBuses (a 30% increase over FY2014); Connect-A-Ride specialists made 8,633 referrals to help seniors find safe, affordable rides; 643 rides provided to 187 low-income, disabled seniors by the Escorted Transportation Project; 3,938 rides provided by volunteer drivers through NV Rides and VillageRides. SENIOR EMPLOYMENT: 72,384 hours of community service worth $608,045 provided by 174 on-the-job trainees at 54 host agencies; 3,421 jobseekers age 50+ connected with 135 exhibitors at two 50+ Employment Expos in Virginia and Maryland; 56 older adults received intensive job-search training and mentoring. ADULT DAY PROGRAMS: 7,897 days of care provided to 100 seniors at the Albert & Helen Misler Adult Day Center (participant days increased 16% from FY2014), which also became a certified Music & Memory program; 1,927 member days provided to 44 seniors at the Samuel Gorlitz Kensington Club, our social day program for older adults with early-stage memory loss (this program has since expanded to two more locations). INTERGENERATIONAL: 303 volunteers age 50+ donated 7,095 hours of volunteer service to Interages programs; 631 at-risk students received mentoring and tutoring; 365 youth volunteers befriended 308 vulnerable elders. INFORMATION AND OUTREACH: 1,622 hours of volunteer assistance provided through the Senior HelpLine and HomeCare Resource Center; 4,340 hours of service donated by SeniorTech volunteers at six training centers, where 532 older adults learned computer and technology skills.

How can I be sure you’ll use my money wisely?

At JCA, 88 cents of each dollar is directed into programs, not overhead.  We also leverage the support of more than 800 volunteers, and their work helps multiply the impact of every dollar. In addition, many of our programs are offered in collaboration with other nonprofits and government agencies that share our mission and goals, so that we can work as efficiently and effectively as possible.