Last year, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts collaborated with Temple Beth El, Sinai Temple and the Springfield JCC on series of programs for caregivers – people charged with the care of loved ones and the stress that that entails.
This year, the focus has switched to teens and the stressful issues they must deal with in their daily lives.
“Today’s Teens: Growing Towards Tomorrow” – also a program of JFS, Beth El, Sinai and the JCC – began Oct. 10 with the screening of “Race to Nowhere,” a documentary that has gotten the attention of parents and educators around the nation. “Race to Nowhere” tells the story of teens today who are overscheduled, over-tested, and over-pressured to get good grades and into good colleges – sometimes at the cost of their health and what might really be best for them.
“’Race to Nowhere’ examines assumptions we have on how to best prepare our youth to be healthy contributing members of our society. It is a call to action!” said Robert Marmor, executive director of JFS.
Marmor said he had been meeting with the rabbis of the two temples to discuss the needs of the community, and that parenting teens has been something that community members have been asking for.
At JFS, Marmor said, they have counseled parents with an assortment of parenting issues.
“We talk with parents who are dealing with kids with eating disorder issues, bullying, depression, all of the range of issues that both teens and parents are trying to figure out. We want to be a resource for those families,” Marmor said.
As with last year’s caregivers programs, which resulted in a series of support groups for those dealing with that topic, the plan is for there to be parenting support groups to deal with the topics raised.
“What we want to do is raise these topic areas and let people know we are paying attention and that they are not alone. With the thought that once the topics are brought up, we will be able to provide more services.” Marmor said.