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Shaping Futures     

 

Tributes to Connect to Care

WJCS' Connect to Care is helping people in the Jewish community get back on their feet during this economic crisis with funding from UJA-Federation, partnerships with FEGS, NYLAG and other local organizations. 

One appreciative Connect to Care participant recently wrote:
 
It's hard to imagine when you're flying high
Events can transpire to knock you from the sky. 
And though you may think there's a cushion to land
Sometimes things don't go exactly as planned.
 
And after awhile when the phone doesn't ring
You've called everyone and tried everything
You start to believe that you're all alone.
But someone's created a place
With stories much like your own
With programs to help and staffed with compassion
They take people who've stalled and bring them to
           action.
I've seen people's self-confidence put back in their 
           heads,
New resumes developed from those turned to shreds.
The importance of LinkedIn and a good cover letter
And that though things are bad, they will get better.
 
Providing someone to talk to when your marriage is
           frayed
And legal advice when collectors won't go away.
For some there's a loan or emergency cash
Just to get through this crisis.  Help 'til it's passed.
For the kids understand no vacation this year
But they wouldn't undertand why the car's
          disappeared. 
 
I've been a donor - though that seems far away
But now at this time I just want to say
Thank you for creating a place of hope
With people to help us and help us cope.
When the world doesn't seem especially fair,
I know I can lean on Connect to Care.

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The following "blog" was written by presenter Noah Alper, author of Business Mensch: Timeless Wisdom for Today’s Entrepreneur who spoke at a Connect to Care event on October 21 that was designed to increase business-networking opportunities given the current economic climate.

"While recently on tour with my book Business Mensch, I was invited to speak as part of

UJA-Federation of New York's CONNECT TO CARE Economic Response Initiative in Westchester County. Geographically situated between New York City and New England, Westchester has touches of both. It has the high energy and pace of New York City along with the leafy traditionalism of New England. While there are certainly pockets of poverty, it is rated as the #7 wealthiest county in the nation with an average per capita income of $74,878.

 

The event I went to was not a major donor event. There were no limousines parked outside. It was a “meet and greet” event for people out of work, about to be out of work, in transition, or underemployed. I was there to provide inspiration and some useful business tips. I hope I was able to provide both, but I believe I was given a lot more than they were. I was given a glimpse into how communities, in this case the New York Jewish Community, is handling the current economic crisis, by connecting with people, and trying to help each other out.

 

During the opening remarks the speakers talked about the Connect to Care Program. The audience heard how the Federation was making employment counselors, insurance consultants, financial planners, and psychological services available at no charge. They were told how 33 people had already been put back to work by this new program, and how this was the first in a series of get-togethers to help folks network with each other.

The energy in the room was high, fueled by a fabulous little buffet, complete with a wine tasting- -all donated by concerned and civic minded vendors.

 

As I looked out at the scene I was taken back 100 years to the gritty world of the Lower East Side, a mere 30 minute drive from where we were that night. At the turn of the 20th century, with hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants pouring into New York, what did the community do? Help the newcomers find jobs by what else: “Networking.” When Moshe got off the boat from Minsk, who was going to find him a job, he was a tailor in the old country? The Jewish Community. When Baruch just came from Vilna not speaking much English, but he had a head for numbers, who helped him out? The Jewish Community. And it was the same with the Italians, the Irish, etc., as their communities helped them find employment.

 

What the immigrants did for their own in 1909, they were doing again in 2009. Helping each other, and helping themselves at the same time. Is this the beginning of the new old days, or the end to the new breed of greed?  Let’s hope it’s both!"

 

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