JFS Blog

Mentoring a Family: Giving the Gift of Time

By Kate Gullo, LSW JFS Family Mentor Program Coordinator

Sometime in life, everybody needs a helping hand, a listening ear, or assistance finding resources. Right now, stress levels are soaring as families seek relief from difficulties related to coping with a medical or mental health diagnosis, financial hardships, and helping children adapt to challenges at school.

At Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties (JFS), we train and support volunteer mentors who work directly with families to address a variety of life's challenges. Our Family Mentor Program helps overwhelmed families via the caring and encouraging relationship of a mentor. Through this connection, families receive information, modeling, support, and advocacy.

Mentors come from all walks of life – empty nesters, retirees, mid-career professionals, and even college students! Compassionate people collaborate with their matched family and JFS program staff to find activities supportive of the family’s growth and goals. Diverse in skill and experience, all mentors unilaterally offer two constants to their mentees: an active listening ear and their valuable time. One mentor recently said, “The best gift I ever received in my life was someone else's time to listen and be there for me so I know first-hand what a positive difference the gift of time can make. And now, I'm fortunate to be on the giving end.”

Mentors receive regular support and guidance from a social worker at JFS through training, peer meetings, and development opportunities. If you would like more information on becoming a mentor or to join our next training seminar, please contact JFS Family Mentor Program Coordinator Kate Gullo at 908-725-7799 or kateg@JewishFamilySvc.org. Anyone interested in referring a family should contact JFS.

JFS is nonprofit, nonsectarian social service agency serving the needs of individuals and families in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties since 1980. JFS is committed to serving the needs of the entire community and offers a continuum of programs and services. Licensed clinical social workers provide individual, couple and family counseling as well as geriatric assessments, supportive counseling, and case management services for homebound elderly. The Senior Friendly Visitor Program is designed to provide in-home support, information, and advocacy to isolated seniors. Good Deeds Corps volunteers assist seniors with medical transportation and telephone reassurance. The Family Mentor Program recruits, trains and matches volunteers with vulnerable young families for friendly, supportive, in-home visits. Families with children with special needs are assisted through social groups and parent support groups. Career Counseling helps individuals in many aspects of their job search. Ohr Tikvah-Light of Hope Jewish Healing Services offers presentations and supports the wellness of the community. The Somerset County Senior Shopper Program assists homebound seniors with grocery shopping (referral from the Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services is required). All information is confidential. Many programs are at no cost, on a sliding fee scale or payable through third party insurance. If you are interested in learning more about JFS' programs, please contact us at (908)725-7799 or Admin@JewishFamilySvc.org.