Give2017: Klara’s story

By Angie Podvin • Donor Services & Annual Campaign Manager


At Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis, our mission is to provide essential services to people of all ages and backgrounds to sustain healthy relationships, ease suffering and offer support in times of need. JFCS staff see each interaction with their clients as a unique opportunity to carry out this mission day after day, year after year. While our menu of services has changed over time to meet the changing needs of our community, consistent since our inception in 1910 has been the level of care and compassion through which all services are delivered. Thousands of individuals and families continue to look to JFCS as a source of help and hope. With the support and generosity of our donors, JFCS continues to provide assistance in the spirit of tikkun olam—repairing the world. The client story that appears below is one of many examples of how JFCS has helped to create a sense of community for thousands in the Jewish and broader communities and was shared by Amy Taswell, a Care Coordinator in our Senior Services department. JFCS is home to those seeking to enhance and improve their lives and for those seeking to make this possible. JFCS is Here For All. Always!


Klara and Aleksander

Klara and her husband, Aleksander, came to the U.S. in 1995 from Yakutsk in northeastern Siberia and were originally resettled in Teaneck, NJ. When their daughter relocated to Minneapolis, they followed several months later, in June 2010.  In January 2011, Klara self-referred to JFCS Senior Services (known then as L’Chaim Senior Services). 


Her original request was for an English tutor. However, JFCS was no longer offering this service to Russian-speaking refugees. After conducting an assessment though, Klara and Aleksander learned that JFCS could help them in other meaningful ways, so they decided to become clients. Through the years, JFCS was able to match Klara with several friendly home visitors, a household financial manager volunteer and a quick fix volunteer. In addition, JFCS was able to provide holiday gifts and holistic ongoing care coordination.


Over time, when Aleksander’s health declined and the stresses of caregiving increased, he and Klara moved into an assisted living facility in March 2016 and their case with JFCS was closed.


Fast forward to November 2016. I came into work on Monday, Nov. 28, to find a message from Klara that she had left on Thursday, Nov. 24, which happened to be Thanksgiving Day. This a translation of her message:


“Hello Amy (in English), Hello Amy (in Russian). (Continued in Russian) this is Klara. Today is Thanksgiving Day and my first thought and the first person in America that I want to thank is you, Amy. Thank you for everything.


For me today is your personal day. I recall you with such a tenderness in my soul, with so much love. I have such good memories about you. I wish you all the best in what life has to give; wish you much happiness and good health. Thank you on behalf of my husband, my daughter and myself. I wish you the very best. Thank you very much (in English).”


Thank you to Klara and Aleksander for being part of the JFCS family and for allowing us to share your story. To ensure that stories such as this will continue to be woven and told, please consider a gift today to Give2017, JFCS’ Annual Campaign.