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Local Foundation Makes First Major Gift

PITTSBURGH, PA--July 30, 1998--In her lifetime, Lois Kaplan cared deeply about children. She felt that it is every community's responsibility to nurture and strengthen families in order to reduce the potential for child abuse and neglect.  As a volunteer with Family Resources, Lois worked with children who had experienced abuse and neglect, helping them to heal.

Upon her death in 1996, Lois' husband Ivan, and her son Jason Samreny began discussing the idea of a charitable foundation to honor her memory. The Lois Kaplan Charitable Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse began operations in April of 1997.

"Helping these children was so important to my mother," says Samreny. "When she died, we wanted to be able to keep her work alive. We knew that it would make her happy if we could do something which would help others to serve these children to whom she felt such an attachment." The first major grant from this foundation was awarded to Jewish Family & Children's Service for a collaborative program the agency runs with Family Resources.

This program, called "Reach Out to Families," is designed to lessen the impact of risk factors associated with child abuse and neglect by reducing isolation, promoting positive parenting, and linking families with community resources, social services, and family support.

"Family Resources provides a comprehensive set of services to prevent child abuse and overcome the damaging effects on its victims," says Andi Fischhoff, Director of Development at Family Resources. "With "Reach Out to Families," Family Resources and Jewish Family & Children's Service are working together in efforts to alleviate the stresses that many families experience and which are associated with all forms of child abuse.  Using a home-based approach, Family Resources home visitor Kelly Labelle provides emotional and practical support to new parents and parents of young children living in  Squirrel Hill.

"JF&CS' therapists," Fischhoff continues, "are an integral part of this project, increasing the project's ability to provide home and community based treatment to address families unmet mental health needs."

"What people need to recognize," adds Paul Needle, Director of Clinical Services at Jewish Family & Children's Service and co-coordinator of the program along with Family Resources' Director of Prevention Services, Nancy Seibel, "is that most parents do not intend to harm their children.  A combination of psychological, social, situational, and economic factors which contribute to an overload of stress may lead to abuse and neglect. Most adults who neglect or abuse their children have the capacity to change their abusive or neglectful behavior, give sufficient help and resources to do so.  That's the goal of the program--to help families protect their children and meet their basic needs and to do so in a non critical manner which is sensitive to culture, values, religion, and other differences."

Funding from the Lois Kaplan Charitable Foundation for the Prevention of Child Abuse will enable JF&CS and Family Resources to continue this valuable program.  For more information about the program, contact Paul Needle at JF&CS (412) 422-8934 ext. 215 or Nancy Seibel at Family Resources, (412) 363-1702.

 


 
 
 

 

Citation: Gottlieb, Laurie."Local Foundation Makes First Major Gift." The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh.  July 1998.

 
 
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