Proactive for both the immediate and developing needs in the community, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services has opened a local Ohel community services office at 152B Spruce Street in Cedarhurst—in the Gourmet Glatt shopping center.
The storefront location provides a number of key services and provides a gateway to the world of Ohel care and programs. As David Mandel, CEO of Ohel and a Five Towns resident, conveys, “While Ohel is a pioneer in the provision of critical services to those with a disability, or those facing trauma or an acute crisis, Ohel is also a leader in the provision of services that help everyday individuals and families surmount everyday challenges.”
Jay Kestenbaum, Ohel vice-president and Five Towns resident adds, “We believe that Ohel’s new Spruce Street office will additionally help to reduce the stigma often associated with emotional and mental well-being.”
With an aging baby boom generation and many children now facing the challenges of caring for their elder parents, Ohel is providing a breadth of eldercare services to the Five Towns community. These services include geriatric assessment, care coordination, caregiver support, as well as information and referral. As Harriet Blank, Ohel’s director of geriatric services and resident of the Five Towns, remarks, “Being a caregiver is one of the hardest jobs we will ever have. We need to learn skills and what questions we need to ask.”
Camp Kaylie at Ohel, the groundbreaking integrated summer camp for kids of all abilities, in Wurtsboro, has already attracted many campers and senior staff from the Five Towns. These include Rabbi Yitzy Haber, program director, Ayelet Katz, girls’ head of sports, and Penina Ginsberg, girls’ head of teen program, as well as Rabbi Netanel Gralla, boys’ head counselor, who comments, “Bottom line, kids want to have fun, and that’s where Camp Kaylie excels. We encourage interested parents or kids to meet staff or visit Spruce Street for information or to register today!”
Spruce Street will also play host to a number of upcoming events. These include “Caregiving Tips and Coffee” which will provide general advice to both children of senior parents and seniors themselves. “Tantrums and Tea” will offer an informal and relaxed environment for mothers to exchange challenges and concerns, while benefiting from shared parenting tips.
Under the direction of Sarah Kahan, a seasoned Ohel social worker, Spruce Street will offer dynamic adult social groups for individuals with disabilities. The groups will help nurture communication and social skills in a relaxed and friendly environment. As Sarah comments, “Ohel has for many years conducted such social skills groups which have also facilitated dating—and which in some cases has led to marriage.”
Ohel’s community services at the Spruce Street office will additionally offer information and referral to both services and programs at The Elly and Brochie Kleinman Ohel regional family center in Far Rockaway, as well as all other services provided by Ohel’s other regional family centers. v