“Win-win” programming for seniors at The J


Prior to her recent move to Arizona from her native Philadelphia, Cheryl Blumenthal managed “Golden Slipper on the Main Line,” a lifelong learning program for Jewish seniors. So it appears that her position here, as the adult program director for the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, is indeed a perfect fit.

Much of Cheryl’s working history lends itself to her present post – with one interesting side note. While in high school she contributed to the cost of her college tuition by working at the Humanity Gifts Registry, a state program that coordinated the distribution of cadavers to area medical schools.

“That was a real challenge,” she says, “but it helped me to learn to deal with people under many different circumstances – and set me on a path of compassion and caring.” She eventually served as a top administrator within the organization.

Cheryl entered the world of Jewish nonprofits as a marketing manager at a program for seniors with disabilities before her Golden Slipper gig, helping adults with physical disabilities and seniors remain independent in their own homes. A frequent Valley visitor, because her father was a longtime resident, “When it was time for me to make a move, this is where my heart already was, and this is where I wanted to be. I knew I would end up here.”

She is exploring all options in her free time, “walking, hiking, traveling statewide, meeting people, networking.” She finds there are so many more newcomers here than in the older, traditional “Philly community.” People here are looking to connect, she finds, “So, in a good sense, this is a perfect storm for me – to provide resources to bring people together.”

She made the permanent move last January, accepting the job with the The J. With no formalized cultural programming for seniors in place, Cheryl met with professional and lay leadership to propose concepts under the umbrella of lifelong learning, “culturally Jewish but open to all.” Her vision has been enthusiastically adopted. “We are gearing programs to build a community of active 65-plus adults, to fill cultural and social needs, to provide intellectual and social stimulation,” she explains. “It’s a win-win situation. We are filling niches that presently aren’t being addressed, including cultural memberships and options.”

Now planning summer programs, Cheryl says that while “stuff for Snowbirds” will be a consideration, she emphasizes that she will “keep things going year ‘round,” with arrangements in place for trips and transportation statewide and beyond.

For additional information on classes, programs and the Cultural Speaker Series, contact Cheryl at 480-481-7024 or cherylb@vosjcc.org.

Speaker Series for April

The Cultural Speaker Series features local attorneys, authors, journalists and other professionals discussing a broad range of topics each week. Presented at the Valley of the Sun JCC at 12701 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale from 1 to 2 pm. Each event is $10 for guests and $5 for members of The J. For information and to register, contact Cheryl Blumenthal at 480-481-7024 or cherylb@vosjcc.org.

April 3: Justice for the Innocent
Lindsay Herf, executive director of The Arizona Justice Project, discusses seeking justice for the innocent, especially indigent individuals.

April 13: A Frank Memoir of Survival
Author of The Hooker’s Daughter, Dale Stanton, shares from her frank memoir of survival, the ability to extract positive qualities from a dysfunctional family life.

April 20: What’s News?
Former newspaper editor Leisah Woldoff shares how editors and readership opinion determine what is covered and the challenges of print news in a digital age.

April 27: Investigative Reporting
Jim Small, executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, shares the must-know stories happening in the state and local neighborhoods.

 

 

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