F.E.G.S. Long Island Division is a large, diversified human service organization with more than a dozen family service centers and residential services facilities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, serving people with mental illness, mental retardation and developmental disabilities as well as those in need of vocational, educational, career support and emergency services.
F.E.G.S. has been serving the people of Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk Counties in many capacities for the past 35 years. In addition to its services to the general community, F.E.G.S. Long Island Division is the Jewish Family Service Agency for Long Island’s 300,000 Jewish families and individuals.
The Division recruits individuals who work to meet a vast array of community needs. F.E.G.S. volunteers, which number more than 100, come from a variety of walks of life, from high school students seeking their first community service experience to retired senior citizens seeking to share their wisdom and energy with those in need.
Among the many programs where volunteers provide their services are the Breast Cancer Helping Hand Program where volunteers act as companions for a client with breast cancer, the Buddy Program where volunteers help an HIV/AIDS client with daily tasks, the Coach/Mentor Program where business volunteers help expose high school upperclassmen to the career world, the Teach Computer Skills program where volunteers teach basic technology skills to those in transient situations, the Companion Program where volunteers visit a client with disabilities in their home to provide friendship, the Help in Residential Program where volunteers socialize and run programs in residential home for the developmentally disabled and the Tutoring Program where volunteers tutor clients to help them pass G.E.D or prepare for entrance exams.
Volunteers commit to a minimum of three hours per week in one of F.E.G.S mental health centers and also assemble and deliver packages of food and gifts to low-income families throughout the holiday season. In addition, F.E.G.S. runs an Adopt-A-Family program to assist an individual or family that is experiencing financial difficulties by providing food, clothing and other basic necessities.
Through these and many more programs, the F.E.G.S. Long Island Division Volunteer Corps serve more than 5,000 individuals annually.
Additionally, F.E.G.S. Long Island Division mobilizes volunteers from the ranks of those in the programs. People in recovery from mental illness drive hundreds of miles to collect donated clothing and deliver items to families living in poverty. People in the HIV/AIDS Counseling program, who are experiencing periods of good health, are there to help others who are not as healthy, with errands, shopping and general emotional support. And, women in the Domestic Violence Program, who have left their abusive relationships and reestablished their self-sufficiency, help other women who are still experiencing the crisis of partner abuse.
The Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc., which is a beneficiary of F.E.G.S. volunteers, provides free legal services to low-income persons who are facing serious problems which include eviction, public benefits problems and disability issues. Jeffrey Seigel, Acting Executive Director, said about F.E.G.S. volunteers, “At a time of drastic funding losses and an even greater need for legal information among our low income neighbors, the volunteers that were recruited by F.E.G.S. have been among the most devoted, reliable and invaluable volunteers we have ever had in this agency.”