Barry & Evelyn Adler is one of the winners of a special judging of the Daily Point of Light Award being honored this May during Older Americans Month. Recognizing the contributions of older Americans, these awards celebrate 50+ volunteers who are making a difference by giving of their time, talent and experience to meet the critical needs of their communities.
Learn more about 50+ Volunteering.
Barry and Evelyn Adler are a dynamic team. Seniors themselves, as JFCS Case Aides they specialize in providing tangible, practical support to other seniors and to individuals struggling with chronic illness or disabilities. Whether it’s installing bookcases, repairing a broken stair, taking a client shopping for new shoes, arranging to have a care tuned-up, or sorting through 30 years of clutter in preparation for a client’s move to care facility, Barry and Evelyn are the pair JFCS turns to when loving hearts and helping hands are needed out in the field.
Because of their caring personalities, Barry and Evelyn are able to make immediate warm connections with clients (which is not always easy to do), while keeping them focused on the task to be accomplished. As a result, difficult clients who would normally refuse help will allow them to go through papers that have piled up, toss things not needed, and set up a filing system for important documents. Barry and Evelyn have also functioned as a “sounding board” for senior clients who are in transition; accompanying them to assisted living facilities and helping them see the advantages of living in such a place. And Barry has also brought his expertise with technology to the job, setting up computer systems for clients and teaching them how to use the equipment.
Many of our clients do not have anyone else to provide them with this kind of direct practical support since they are either childless or their children live far away. By doing these simple, but essential, tasks for our clients Barry and Evelyn greatly reduce the strain on the JFCS care managers while ensuring that our clients get the individualized help they need.
As if this gift of their time and talents wasn’t enough, several years ago Barry and Evelyn set up an endowment fund to underwrite the cost of providing specialized trainings for the JCFS volunteer corps on how to work effectively with “challenging” clients and stressful situations, like helping clients deal depression and isolation during the holiday season, or working with clients with serious mental illnesses.
In addition to their patience and generosity, a special sill of the Adler’s is the ability to sort through mounds of clutter and separate what is truly valuable from what should be discarded. This was indispensable when they were asked to handle the disposition of items in the storage locker of an elder Cantor. Sifting through each book, photo, tape and scrap of paper, they catalogued the items and arranged for them to be shipped to the Yiddish Repository. Thanks to their efforts, The Cantor’s treasures did not end up in the garbage, but in a Jewish museum for all to enjoy.