News & Events

JFCS Receives Major Grant from JFNA

Posted & filed under JFCS News, In the News, Healing Lives.

January 26, 2018 Tucson, AZ Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona (JFCS) is proud to announce it was selected to receive a grant from The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) through the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care. When combined with matching funds, this award will enable $94,227.00 in new programming for survivors.

JFNA launched the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care in the fall of 2015, following an award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over five years to advance innovations in person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) services for Holocaust survivors in the United States. PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength, and empowerment of trauma victims by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims’ lives into agency programs, policies and procedures.

Of the more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, nearly one-quarter are aged 85 or older, and one in four lives in poverty. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions stemming from periods of starvation, disease, and torture.

“JFCS of Southern Arizona will enhance its capacity to respond to the constellation of compelling needs to visit with, listen to, comfort, and advocate for Holocaust Survivors living here in Tucson. Through our new JFNA grant award, we will be able to provide a specialized behavioral health practitioner who will visit and offer a high level of person-centered care that addresses the emotional well-being of Survivors from the former Soviet Union in their own language,” said Carlos A. Hernández, President & CEO, JFCS of Southern Arizona.

“It is critical that we deliver these lifesaving and life-enhancing services to Holocaust survivors. The past two years of this federal grant program have shown the deep impact that person-centered, trauma-informed services can have on Holocaust survivors. We are grateful to partner with the government to augment this work,” said Mark Wilf, chair of JFNA’s National Holocaust Survivor Initiative.

The Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care promotes these innovative service delivery models together with the expertise of partner organizations including the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.  The grant money is a combination of federal dollars and philanthropic dollars raised by Jewish Federations as part of JFNA’s National Holocaust Survivor Initiative, which has raised $45 million to support the survivor community.

JFCS announces appointment of new Board Chairperson

Posted & filed under JFCS News, In the News, Healing Lives.

Barbara Befferman Danes

JFCS is proud to announce the appointment of Barbara Befferman Danes as the new Board Chair. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Barbara Befferman Danes came to Tucson six years ago with her husband Dr. Peter Danes to begin their retirement. Barbara’s career ranged from social work to business, and, most recently, she worked as the CEO of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

“With her personal triumphs and business acumen, Barbara has the leadership qualities we want in our Board Chair,” said Carlos A. Hernandez, JFCS President & CEO. “She has been committed to our mission for many years. I look forward to working with her as we continue to grow financially and programmatically,” he added. “Barbara is a strong advocate, and source of support to me and our staff.”

Jewish Family and Children’s Service in Pittsburgh was instrumental in helping Barbara establish herself as a single parent to her two children, now a physician and lawyer back East. Determined to “pay it forward,” Barbara began volunteering at JFCS of Southern Arizona shortly after her arrival in Tucson. She found that the warm welcome extended by Jewish Tucson made it easy for her to assume an active role in the community. A member of Congregation Anshei Israel and the Brandeis National Committee, Barbara also serves on the Arizona Jewish Post advisory board.

Barbara replaces Fred Fruchthendler whose 3-year term ended this October. “We are so grateful to Fred for his unwavering dedication to JFCS. We achieved financial stability, acquired new technology, and improved programs with Fred’s support and leadership,” commented Carlos. “Fred’s contributions will never be forgotten,” he added. “Thank you Fred, for your leadership, mentorship—and friendship.”

Fred will continue to serve as an officer of the JFCS Board of Directors as Immediate Past-Chair.

JFCS receives $5K Community Impact Award

Posted & filed under JFCS News, In the News, Healing Lives.

Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona (JFCS) is the proud recipient of the Connie Hillman Family Foundation Impact Award in the amount of $5,000 that was awarded at the Social Venture Partners (SVP) “Fast Pitch” competition held at the Leo Rich Theater on November 9, 2017.

After a competitive written application, a series of skill-building workshops and final juried-selection process, Liz Hernández, JFCS Director of Marketing & Development, was selected as one of the 7 finalists for the prestigious SVP “Fast Pitch” live competition held at the Leo Rich Theater. At the sold-out event which included SVP judges and 500 audience members, Ms. Hernández spoke about JFCS’ flagship program PROJECT SAFE PLACE that provides trauma-focused psychotherapy to children, adults and families who are victims or witnesses of crime, violence and abuse.

“The wounds from emotional trauma can be just as serious as those from physical injuries,” explained Ms. Liz Hernandez.  “Without proper treatment, children and adults with emotional trauma can face complex issues such as destructive behaviors, depression and even suicide.” JFCS is a trauma-informed counseling and social service agency with Master’s level, licensed therapists specifically trained to treat people who have experienced traumatic events, and suffer from PTSD or other trauma-related disorders. Last year, PROJECT SAFE PLACE served over 550 low-income people – mostly children.

“This generous gift from the Connie Hillman Family Foundation will go a long way to help expand our trauma-related services, including providing safe transportation for people to and from our clinical site,” said JFCS President & CEO, Carlos A. Hernandez. [*please note that despite the shared last name, he bears no relation to Ms. Hernandez].

The philanthropic mission of the Connie Hillman Family Foundation is to be a partner and connector among civic leaders and grantees who help improve the quality of life in our communities by adapting and growing in imaginative ways.

“We are very grateful for this gift because it makes sense to invest in childhood therapy rather than jails,” said Ms. Liz Hernandez. “Particularly since over 70,000 children in Arizona have lived through multiple traumatic events, and studies show that 70% of juvenile delinquents suffer from a mental health condition mostly resulting from emotional trauma.”

Each year in Tucson, SVP hosts a free communication skills workshop that trains nonprofit leaders to effectively communicate their stories, and compete for the chance to participate live on stage at the “Fast Pitch” event. This year JFCS of Southern Arizona joined a line-up of 6 other local nonprofits: The Abbie School, Literacy Connects, St. Luke’s Home Tucson, The Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, Watershed Management Group, and Youth On Their Own.

“I am truly humbled and proud to have participated in the SVP Fast Pitch program with such an amazing group of nonprofits who are committed to helping others, promoting social justice, and providing sustainable solutions for our community,” declared Ms. Hernandez.

Dr. Richard Carmona: “The Challenge of Brain Health in War and Peace”

Posted & filed under Events.

JFCS and the Mel Sherman Institute on Mental Health are proud to present a free public lecture featuring Dr. Richard Carmona, who will discuss the responsibility of caring for the physical and psychological well-being of our veterans and seniors. Dr. Carmona is the 17th Surgeon General of the United States, Chief of Health Innovations at Canyon Ranch, and Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona.

Date: Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 1:30pm

Place: Jewish Community Center,  3800 E. River Road., Tucson, 85718

Speaker: Richard Carmona, MD, 17th Surgeon General of the United States; Chief of Health Innovations, Canyon Ranch; and Distinguished Professor, The University of Arizona

Registration is required. CLICK HERE to register online or contact Kate: or (520) 209-2435

Seating is limited. Light refreshments will be served.

Dr. Carmona, an authentic hero and public health advocate, will discuss the responsibility of caring for our military service members with war related physical and psychological brain injuries as well as the challenges of dementia in an aging population. Born to a poor Hispanic family in New York City, Dr. Carmona experienced homelessness, hunger and health disparities during his youth. These experiences greatly sensitized him to the relationships among culture, health, education and economic status, and shaped his future. A combat-decorated U.S. Army Special Forces Vietnam veteran, Dr. Carmona trained in general and vascular surgery at the University of California, San Francisco where he was awarded the prestigious gold-headed cane as the top graduate.

Dr. Carmona’s service to Tucson is legendary, beginning with his joint recruitment by Tucson Medical Center and the University of Arizona to start and direct Arizona’s first regional trauma care system. In addition to serving as chairman of the State of Arizona Regional Emergency Medical System, professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department surgeon and deputy sheriff, Dr. Carmona is one of the most highly decorated police officers in Arizona, and a recognized SWAT expert. Dr. Carmona’s extraordinary leadership and service here in Arizona led to his nomination and unanimous confirmation as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. In 2006, after successfully completing his four-year term, Vice Admiral Carmona was named Vice Chairman for Canyon Ranch where he is now Chief of Health Innovations.

The Mel Sherman Institute on Mental Health lecture series is made possible by the generosity of Irving Silverman who established a fund at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona to honor his friend of blessed memory, Mel Sherman. Irving Silverman co-authored “Aging Wisely … Wisdom of Our Elders,” with his daughter, Ellen Beth Siegel, JD, PsyD, a treasured resource that provides a unique perspective on the physical, emotional, and social aspects of growing old from those who have made the journey.

JFCS is a non-profit, non-sectarian agency offering person-centered psychotherapeutic and community services to people from all walks of life. We strive to strengthen our community, and believe there is a path for healing and self-sufficiency for everyone who comes seeking help.

Shalom in Every Home: Let it Begin with Me

Posted & filed under Events.

Please join JFCS & the LEAH program

Shalom in Every Home 2-part Family Lecture Series

Speaker: Adena Bank Lees

Let It Begin With Me: Building & Strengthening Meaningful Connections with Those You Love

Free and Open to the Public. Join us for one or both talks.

Where: The Library at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Rd., Tucson, Arizona 85718

RSVP to Andrea Siemens via email or call 520-795-0300 ext. 2365

Part 1: Sunday, October 22, 2017  |  11am to 12:30pm

Taking responsibility for our part in clear and healthy communication is a necessary component of loving connection. Role-modeling this accountability for our children creates a safe and secure home for all. Being aware of our own feelings and reactions is a great first step. Come have fun and practice ways to achieve this awareness. You will be able to use your skills with your family as soon as you get home!

Part 2: Sunday, October 29, 2017  |  11am to 12:30pm

Take your self-awareness to the next level by practicing how to share your feelings and reactions in a way that is safe and respectful. Successful families employ the language of feelings. This IS what makes connections meaningful. Come have fun while applying what you have learned. Your family will thank you!

Speaker: Adena Bank Lees

Adena’s presence with audiences is transformative. Her authenticity and use of good humor create a unique mix that instills learning, and inspires hope. With a mission to teach, guide, and inspire individuals and organizations, she provides tools for change and growth in the most ethical and professional manner possible. Adena is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed and Internationally Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, and Certified Psychodramatist. She has presented keynote lectures, workshops, and seminars to thousands of professionals and lay audiences across the country since 1992.

LEAH is funded by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.

Project Safe Place: Making a Difference in Pima County

Posted & filed under JFCS News, Healing Lives.

JFCS was one of six agencies recognized in the Pima County Community Development Annual Impact Report for delivering outstanding services to underserved and disadvantaged people in our community. Our Project Safe Place program was highlighted for achieving positive outcomes in trauma-informed therapy for children ages 3 to 18 who are victims of crime or abuse. JFCS is thankful for our highly-skilled, licensed Master’s level therapists.
To read an abbreviated version of the report, click here.

Carlos A. Hernández Receives 1st Place Influential Health & Medical Leader Award

Posted & filed under JFCS News, Healing Lives.

JFCS President and CEO Carlos A. Hernández, MA, LCSW, CPHQ

Carlos A. Hernández, MA, LCSW, CPHQ

Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona (JFCS) is proud to announce that CEO & President, Carlos A. Hernández is the first place winner of the 2017 Influential Health and Medical Leader Award in the category of Mental Health & Psychiatric Services.

Every year, Tucson Local Media honors local medical and healthcare professionals who have made significant contributions and demonstrated outstanding dedication to their work.

At age 47, Hernández is considered a young CEO, and is the first Latino to serve as President and CEO of JFCS of Southern Arizona, a non-profit, non-sectarian specialty provider offering psycho-therapeutic counseling, patient-centered trauma-informed care (PCTI), and social services to thousands of vulnerable community members of all faiths, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations and economic circumstances.

“Under Carlos’ outstanding leadership, JFCS has seen program expansion, technological advancement, and improvement in the delivery of services,” said Fred Fruchthendler, JFCS Board Chair. “This is a significant and well-deserved honor.”

With a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago, Hernández’s professional experience runs the gamut from clinical work to compliance and Continuous Quality Improvement. Hernández is a licensed psychotherapist, Certified Professional for Healthcare Quality as well as Adjunct Faculty member at ASU School of Social Work, and Pima Community College, Social Services Department.

During his 25-year career, Hernández’s passion for helping the most vulnerable led him to experiences that include coordinating mental health programs for foster children, counseling for homeless teens, and promoting integrated health for migrant workers living on the border.

Previously, Hernández served as Director of Family and Community Partnerships, and successfully guided the implementation of disabilities services, mental health services, and parent engagement services for Head Start at Tucson-based Child-Parent Centers. Prior to this, he was in charge of compliance, quality management, and performance improvement for Pantano Behavioral Health Services in Tucson.

As an influential community health leader, Hernandez’s has devoted his life work to broad-based collaboration, quality improvement, de-stigmatization of mental illness, and achieving mental health parity for low-income and under-insured people. The 3rd Annual Influential Health and Medical Awards event will be held at Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson.

Kelly Burroughs Named JFCS Vice President of Clinical Services

Posted & filed under JFCS News, Healing Lives.

Kelly Burroughs

Kelly Burroughs

As the Vice President of Clinical Services for Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, Kelly Burroughs, MA, LAC, BHP, CCTP brings more than 20 years of experience in social services and behavioral health. She has extensive experience in the publicly funded behavioral health system and in social services for children and families.

Prior to JFCS, Kelly provided clinical and administrative supervision to advocacy and behavioral health programs serving thousands of people in Southern Arizona. She has a passion for program development, and hopes to help expand JFCS services to reach a larger segment of the Tucson community—both Jewish and non-Jewish.

“I am excited about the opportunities to influence change for people reaching out for help. JFCS offers exceptional therapeutic services, and is well-known for its work with people with histories of trauma. My hope is to be able to help JFCS grow and expand the scope of our services to reach more people,” said Kelly, who holds a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Arizona, post graduate certification in Positive Behavioral Support from Northern Arizona University, and is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.

Liz Hernández Named JFCS Director of Marketing & Development

Posted & filed under JFCS News, Healing Lives.

Liz Hernandez

Liz Hernandez

Prior to accepting her new Tucson-based position as Director of Marketing & Development for Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona, Liz Hernández served for three years as Marketing Manager, and then Director of Public Relations and Communications for Jewish Family & Children’s Service in Phoenix.

“Liz’s strong marketing and communications skills, innovative style, and dedication to the values and vision of JFCS will be a great asset to us,” said Carlos Hernández, CEO & President of JFCS of Southern Arizona. “And in case you were wondering,” he added with a smile. “We are not related.”

Liz left a long career in the arts & culture sector to transition into the nonprofit sector. “I love art and believe that artistic expression enriches our human experience,” she explains. “I also believe that it’s essential to live compassionately, care for others, and be a positive influence in our world.”

Born in New York City, and educated through high school in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Liz Hernández moved to Tucson where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and later completed graduate studies in Art History at The University of Arizona.

Having lived, worked and volunteered in Arizona for more than 35 years, Liz has demonstrated a strong commitment to various community and nonprofit organizations through leadership and fundraising endeavors. In Tucson, she served on the board of The Foundation for Creative Broadcasting, Girls Scouts of America, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (formerly called the Tucson Pima Arts Council). Liz was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Arizona Theater Company.