COVID-19: WJCS Services for the Whole Family
WJCS wants to ensure that Westchester residents who are struggling emotionally during the COVID-19 crisis don't feel alone. Our multi-disciplinary team of professionals, composed of social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, peer counselors, and rabbis, offer a comprehensive range of services and have pivoted to ensure that all WJCS programs continue virtually via Zoom and other technology, when in-person contact is not possible.
WJCS welcomes new clients. Services available during COVID-19 to Westchester residents include:
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
WJCS clinicians offer individual, family, and group therapy as well as psychiatric evaluation and ongoing medication management through video chat and telephone sessions. Telehealth services are provided for those with Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare, and limited commercial insurance plans. If you are interested in learning more about WJCS’ telehealth services, please contact an admitting specialist at one of the following numbers, based on where you live:
Yonkers: (914) 423-4433
Hartsdale: (914) 949-7699
Mt. Vernon (914) 668-8938
Peekskill: (914) 737-7338
Learn more at: https://www.wjcs.com/mental-health/
During the COVID-19 pandemic, youth and adults who have experienced trauma may may find themselves with a lack of safety, control and predictability that are remindful of their traumatic past. Social workers, psychologists, and prescribing staff are available to help promote safety and healing using telehealth sessions (either video or phone) in all four clinics. Our staff also conduct trainings on trauma and vicarious trauma in the community. Please contact June McKenley at 914-949-7699 x2428
AUTISM SUPPORT SERVICES
During COVID-19, the WJCS Autism Center is providing information, guidance, parent and grandparent support and education, and advocacy to families who have a child on
the autism spectrum via Zoom. For information, contact: Lee Englander, Autism Center Coordinator at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2228. Learn more at: https://www.wjcs.com/wjcs-autism-center/
Project Lifesaver is a program designed to provide an extra level of security for individuals affected with autism and other developmental disabilities who may wander or get lost. For information about how to apply for bracelets with advanced technology to help locate wandering youth, contact Isabel M. Pettersen at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2230. Learn more at: https://www.wjcs.com/project-lifesaver/
LGBTQ YOUTH SUPPORT
LGBTQ+ youth are uniquely impacted by isolation and anxiety during COVID-19. WJCS Center Lane, the only center for LGBTQ+ youth, ages 13-21 in Westchester County, is here to provide community and connection. For information about Center Lane Groups, social activities like game nights and open mics, and TransParentcy, a support group in which Trans and gender expansive youth and their parents/caregivers discuss topics of concern with their peers, call (914) 423-0610 or email [email protected] You can also join Virtually Center Lane Groups by signing up here. Learn more about WJCS Center Lane events at: https://www.wjcs.com/center-lane-events/
BUILDING BETTER BEGINNINGS HOTLINE FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN
WJCS has created a hotline for parents of young children who feel overwhelmed or need advice and someone to talk to. The hotline number is: (845) 533-6813. A bilingual WJCS early childhood professional will answer or return your call. Learn more about Building Better Beginnings at: https://www.wjcs.com/building-better-beginnings-early-step-forward/
FAMILY SUPPORT FOR PARENTS AND ADOLESCENTS
For six weeks after the start of COVID-19, WJCS professionals, in collaboration with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, conducted support groups via Zoom for families--four groups for parents and two groups for adolescents--struggling with social isolation and other challenges during the pandemic. Recordings of these presentations and discussions can be viewed at: https://www.wjcs.com/news/2020/05/19/feature/family-advice-for-covid-19/.
WJCS Geriatric Care Managers are available by phone to provide guidance, support, and information regarding resources and referrals for seniors. They are also conducting assessments for eligibility for home-delivered meals. For information, contact Judy Fink: [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 ext. 2340. Learn more about WJCS Geriatric Care Management at: https://www.wjcs.com/geriatric-care-management/
Consultations for families of seniors include individualized planning for senior care, individual and group counseling, discussion and completion of advanced directives, and referrals to home care and respite services. For information, contact Gillian Rittmaster at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2142. Learn more at: https://www.wjcs.com/pathways-to-care/
The NNORC (Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) in northeast Yonkers, overseen by WJCS and Yonkers Office for the Aging, ensures seniors living in the designated area have the information and resources they need. New members and community partners are welcome. For information, contact Sally Pinto (914) 391-1323 or Judy Fink at [email protected] Learn more about the Yonkers NNORC at: https://www.wjcs.com/yonkers-nnorc
Locator bracelets that use state-of-the-art technology, with registered transmitters to locate wandering or lost seniors, are available free-of-charge for seniors 60 years of age or older who reside in Westchester County. Caregivers, who must also reside in Westchester County. For information, contact Isabel M. Pettersen at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2230.
Support for families who are caring for individuals with profound memory deficits, loss of ambulatory abilities, and an inability to perform activities of daily living is available through our Dementia Palliative Care Program. The Dementia Family Support Group, designed for relatives of individuals with a dementia diagnosis, offers self-care strategies and social support. For information, contact Heidi Weiss at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2144.
The Dementia Caregiver Support Group provides emotional, educational, and social support for caregivers at meetings on the first Tuesday of every month from 9:15-10:15 am. For information, contact Sarah Lieberman at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2141.
Learn more about WJCS programs for individuals with Alzheimer's or related dementias and for their caregivers at: https://www.wjcs.com/addressing-alzheimer-s/
A COVID-19 virtual support group for individuals who have recovered or are recovering from COVID-19 is taking place on June 10, June 17, and July 1st from 2-3:30 pm. To register, contact Rabbi Pamela Wax, WJCS Spiritual Care Coordinator at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2149.
Mindfulness Meditation groups, in which participants learn the essential skills of mindfulness meditation within a Jewish context, are being led via Zoom. For details, contact Ruth Rosenblum at [email protected]
Home-delivered kosher meals are available for Holocaust Survivors. Support groups for Survivors and children of Survivors are taking place via Zoom. For information, contact Sherry Birnbaum at [email protected]; (914) 761-0600 x2140.
Memory Minyan, a Jewish prayer service for people with dementia and their loved ones, takes place every Friday in May and June from 2-3 pm. For information, contact Rabbi Michael Goldman at (914) 419-7219,
VIRTUAL VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES
Many Westchester residents are seeking ways to help their neighbors during COVID-19. Virtual volunteers are in high demand! The following are opportunities to support individuals in need during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Contribute to our virtual library by sending us content! We’re looking for simple no-shopping-required tutorials or DIY projects as well as videos of storybook reading, joke telling, or sharing an inspiring family or cultural story. All content should be family friendly.
- Care calls have become a major tool in combating feelings of intense isolation for clients in our community residences and many of the seniors in our programs.
- Our Compeer program is functioning remotely! Compeer creates one-to-one matches with volunteers and individuals going through a tough time. Volunteers provide supportive friendship, advocacy, increased social interaction, serve as positive role models and help with access to educational and recreational activities in the community.
- Center Lane, Westchester’s only LGBTQ+ youth community center is looking for volunteers with skills they would like to share with clients. Skills like resume building, interviewing, nutrition, and fitness are especially appreciated.
- Shop our Target registry and send basic necessities to our headquarters. Our staff will get these items to families in need. CLICK HERE FOR TARGET REGISTRY.
- Homemade face masks are needed throughout WJCS! While these masks are not medical grade, they offer some degree of protection and are less intimidating for kids and others wary of face coverings. Try one of these easy tutorials: https://www.nytimes.com/video/well/100000007078467/homemade-face-mask-tutorial.html or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRfhuRNua_E
- Send some joy to seniors in our programs! Pictures, poems, or happy messages… Whatever you are inspired to create to spread joy. We will put your message of joy with the seniors home delivered meal.
For masks and senior joys, please mail directly to the WJCS Headquarters, Attn Charlotte Cobbs, 845 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603
In-person (but socially distanced) Volunteer Opportunities:
- Grocery pick-up from a designated store and delivering to a location to pack for clients in need in Yonkers, NY.
- Grocery packing & delivery for our senior program in Mount Vernon. Volunteers will be packing grocery deliveries at our headquarters in White Plains and delivering these packages and Kosher meals seniors’ doorsteps throughout Westchester.
TO FILL OUT A WJCS VOLUNTEER APPLICATION, GO TO: