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Free summer programing for seniors

  • Category: JFCS News
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  • Written By: Nadine Bubeck
Free summer programing for seniors

Servicing all of Maricopa County, the Phoenix-based Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) is dedicated to strengthening the community by providing behavioral health, healthcare and social services to all ages and backgrounds.

While the JFCS’s approach to care is based on traditional Jewish values, they don’t only serve Jewish families; they provide quality services to all people to improve our community’s overall well-being, regardless of faith.

According to Jennifer Brauner, the JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment and Creative Aging director, a major focus of the JFCS is catering to senior citizens, providing them with love, assistance, guidance and programs that better enhance and improve their daily lives. By having access to the Center for Senior Enrichment (CSE) programs, our local senior community can tap into resources offering free educational and lifelong learning opportunities.

The CSE offers free virtual and in-person programming to the senior community, allowing participants to grow and build on skills they currently possess and would like to learn. Additionally, the CSE provides a sense of community support to families who seek social outlets for their parents as well as physical and mental stimulation.

“The Center for Senior Enrichment is a good source for seniors as it gives them an opportunity to learn new skills and continue to strengthen their mind, body and soul in the comfort and convenience of their own home. The program also provides a socialized outlet that is most needed during these isolated times,” said Brauner.

The CSE started its in-person programs in 2008 but has since evolved to offer virtual options as well. The free Zoom classes range from exercise and dance to art, music, history, theatre and more.

“I so enjoy the senior programs. With the pandemic restricting social activity, these programs are crucial in keeping us elderly folk (especially those who live alone) active, intellectually stimulated and involved with the community,” said participant Rod Fensom. “I especially loved the virtual Paris tour; wonderful for those of us who don’t travel much anymore.”

To occupy the upcoming summer months, they’re also offering weekly in-person programs at the CSE, located at The Palazzo in Phoenix. Such events are available at no charge and include classes and entertainment like singers, musicians, dance demonstrations and more.

“My children are so grateful for the JFCS classes. Whenever they call to check up on me, they express how happy they are that their mama is doing something that brings her such joy,” said participant Pearl Wolkis. “The programs have become a blessing for me to feel connected to others.”

Since the launch of their virtual senior center in November 2020, they have reached nearly 5,000 seniors throughout Maricopa County. And for those who aren’t quite tech-savvy, they are available to offer computer support for anyone who needs assistance accessing Zoom classes and registration.

Class registration is open year round; classes can run 3-6 months and typically last an hour in length. They are taught by professors, certified specialists and volunteers who are experts on the topic presented. JN

To learn more about the JFCS Center for Senior Enrichment, contact Jennifer Brauner at 602-343-0192, or visit