Longboat Key now plays host to more counseling programs for seniors and caregivers, thanks to the new Jewish Family and Children's Services campus in the Tidewell Building at 540 Bay Isles Road.
The Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting for JFCS's new facility in the Tidewell Building on May 2. The organization has been operating out of the office for several months but invited board members and supporters to Longboat Key to celebrate the expansion. A big portion of JFCS's services are geared toward seniors, and a lot of their clients live on the island. Being able to meet them where they are will be important and have a powerful impact, said Stacy Lang, the chief of behavioral health services.
"I really believe in proximity," interim CEO Nelle Miller said. "It's wonderful to be out here near so many people who have supported JFCS over the years. … We had a problem in the nonprofit community with feeling like everything is over there (in Sarasota). Now, here we are."
The JFCS portion of the building is named the Bradford and Temi Saivetz Center for Aging Services, after Longboat Key resident and JFCS supporter Ruthellen Rubin's parents. They lived on Longboat Key for several years and became entrenched in the community, and Rubin wanted to honor that legacy by committing to the community with JFCS. Rubin and husband, Marc were caregivers for Ruthellen's mother, Temi, and saw the challenges of the task. The Longboat Key campus will focus on providing mental health services, including those for caregivers.
"We were focused on physical health and stuff to get people together and out of their houses, but the big piece missing was mental health," Paradise Center Executive Director Suzy Brenner said. "JFCS was perfect for that."
One big part of the JFCS programming at the Longboat Key office has been the caregiver support group that happens every Friday, which offers training and support for those caring for others. Rabbi Jonathan Katz, who used to be the lead rabbi at Temple Beth Israel down the road, has been leading a bereavement support group since February as well. Lang, is also working to develop programs for education and enrichment.