WILMINGTON, DEL. (May 14, 2018) –  The Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association held their 88th Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony on Friday, May 11, 2018.

Jewish Family Services of Delaware received the Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association’s Public Health Recognition Award for their multi-faceted social services.  The Academy/DPHA noted the work Jewish Family Services of Delaware does with case management, counseling, outpatient therapy, workforce development, prevention education, and refugee resettlement.  Refugee resettlement in particular led to Jewish Family Services’ nomination.

In response to receiving the award, Basha Silverman, CEO of Jewish Family Services of Delaware, said:

“We are especially humbled to be here tonight with all of you and honored to be accepting this esteemed award…We provide a network of support for families and individuals at times in their lives when they are vulnerable, regardless of their race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, or gender expression. At JFS, we believe we are all responsible for one another and we are committed to strengthening the lives of our most underserved populations…JFS believes that everyone has the right to raise their families in safety and we are committed to helping them [refugees] set up a life and a home here in Delaware.”

The keynote speaker was Darshak Sanghavi of OptumLabs.  Mr. Sanghavi is an award-winning medical educator who has published dozens of scientific papers on medical issues around the world.  In addition, Mr. Sanghavi often speaks on NBC’s Today, in addition to writing for Slate, the New York Times, Boston Globe, and the Washington Post.

Dr. Nicholas J. Pettrelli, MD, FACS of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center won the Lewis B. Flinn President’s Award for his 17 years of service developing the cancer center into a national leader of cancer research and treatment.


About the Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association:

Founded in 1930 as a resource for the medical and dental communities, the Academy became Delaware’s affiliate to the American Public Health Association in 2013. The Academy/DPHA is a service organization for the medical, dental, and public health communities to come together and focus their attention and resources on the shared vision of a healthy community here, and around the globe. The Academy/DPHA publishes the state’s only peer-reviewed journal focused on Delaware, and dedicated to the issues of public and population health.  The Delaware Journal of Public Health can be found at http://DJPH.delamed.org

Dear Sarah,

My 14 year-old daughter has informed me that she is sexually active and is not interested in how this will impact her life and health.  How do I open the lines of communication between us so that she’ll continue to confide in me while not showing my anger at how irresponsible she’s acting?

—Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned,

It makes sense that you are concerned about your daughter’s health and overall wellbeing. A lot of parents of teens struggle with the balance required to stay connected and involved while also allowing them to experience new things on their own. This is a very important time in her life when she is starting to figure out how to have more independence while also relying on you for guidance, support, safety and comfort. The most important thing that you can do right now is to talk openly, without judgement, and listen patiently, while she learns more about herself, her sexuality, and her relationships. If you get the sense that your daughter may be hesitant to talk openly with you, this may be an opportunity for you to communicate that you do “get it” by giving her access to outside resources like Planned Parenthood, school nurses, or wellness centers. Given your concern about her health and safety, it may also be time to consider having your daughter meet with a gynecologist to learn more about her options for taking control of her sexual health and safety. Remind her that you are always available if and when she has questions regarding sex, birth control, STDs, drugs, alcohol, dating, or personal safety. Explain to her that no matter what happens, you will not judge her decisions, you will always love her and support her and that she can always come to you when she needs to.



Dear Sarah,

My 11-year-old son has always been a terrible sleeper and had struggles with anxiety as a younger child.  Recently, he started having bad anxiety about school right at bedtime, especially on Sunday nights. He worries about his grades, if he will do poorly on a test, or if he completed an assignment incorrectly. He can’t fall asleep as he keeps worrying. We try to comfort him and tell him there is not much he can do at 10:30 pm and that his rest is the most important thing for having a good day at school.  My husband and I don’t want him to be so stressed about grades.  What can we do to help him feel relaxed, less anxious, and more confident?

—Bedtime Anxiety

Dear Bedtime Anxiety,

It is not uncommon for some children to have difficulties at specific times of the day if they are aware that the next task coming up is going to be stressful.  The issue at bedtime is an issue that can be addressed by helping your son try to relieve his anxiety by changing his habits around that time.  Some children enjoy creating a worry box to leave notes in, reading a book, playing nature music/music without words, or doing breathing exercises. The success of whichever relaxation techniques he uses is more likely if you have him involved in the idea and give him the ability to have several choices to pick from.  You want him to be calm before bed to increase the opportunity for a restful night’s sleep.

The second step is to address the concern with school.  Usually kids are stressed when they feel pressured in some way.  Have a conversation with him about what he is afraid of when it relates to school.  Find out what supports are in the school that he may have readily available if and when he finds himself needing additional guidance or an outlet.  It is also helpful to have a conversation with his teachers to see if they have any concerns or have input into his mood while in the classroom setting.  If the school has any additional social activities that he can be involved in, that may help build his self-esteem and feeling of acceptance. It may be that your child is concerned with making you proud or reaching goals that he envisions for himself.  Let your son know that you are available for him to talk and that you are proud of the mature thinking he has around being successful, but that you want him to enjoy her 5th grade experience and his friends without so much worry.



Dear Sarah is JFS’ advice column. Submit your questions, and receive answers and advice from one of our licensed therapists. Names and details will be altered in published letters to protect your privacy. All letters will be answered and can be viewed on our website.



Dear Sarah,

My daughter is a tenth grader this year and is yearning for more independence. I can’t figure out how to stay connected with her and communicate about things like personal safety, drugs, and dating without making her withdrawn and closed off. I want her to have opportunities to be more independent, while making sure she has the tools and knowledge to be safe. What can we, as her parents, do to keep her safe while letting her experience new things?

—Connected Mom

Dear Connected,

It makes sense that you want to stay connected to your daughter as she gets older and needs to experience new things on her own. This is a very important time in her life when she is starting to figure out how to have more independence while also continuing to rely on you, as her parent, for security, comfort, and safety. The most important thing you can do right now is be patient and open while she learns how to navigate her new independence. Remind her that you are always available if – and when – she has questions regarding drugs, alcohol, dating, or personal safety. Explain to her that, no matter what happens, you will not judge her decisions; reassure her that you will always love and support her and that she can always come to you when she needs you. Instead of talking with her directly about things that make her pull away, find new things that she wants to talk about – friends, school, hobbies, etc. By opening up new lines of communication, you will develop a stronger and more intimate connection with her. This deeper connection will allow her to feel more safe and comfortable opening up to you about other things like sex, drugs, and dating.



Dear Sarah,

I’ve always had a great relationship with my daughter, who is now 13, but I’m finding her teenage self very hard to deal with. It’s not that she’s a bad kid, she’s just much less pleasant to be around and is increasingly withdrawn. I’m having trouble connecting with her. There are still moments where we enjoy each other’s company, but more and more often, our interactions are tense, cut short, or full of conflict. I need some advice on how to keep our relationship strong.

—Teen Troubles

Dear Teen Troubles,

You are not alone. You are describing what many parents experience with their teenagers. Adolescence involves hormonal, physical and emotional changes that can be challenging for both teens and their families. One approach is to put time aside alone with her, allowing her to choose how that time is spent. During that time, share with her the changes you have noticed. For example, you could say, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been keeping to yourself lately. It feels different when we talk. I like when we get along and I miss that, so I want to check in and see how you’ve been doing. I’m here if you want to talk.” This will remind her that you care, want to understand her, and welcome her to be open with you.



Dear Sarah is JFS’ advice column. Submit your questions, and receive answers and advice from one of our licensed therapists. Names and details will be altered in published letters to protect your privacy. All letters will be answered and can be viewed on our website.


Seeking Furniture Donations!

Wilmington, DE
February 26, 2018

Since its founding, JFS has been working with refugee and immigrant populations, regardless of race or religion. JFS has historical experience responding to international refugee crises; during the last major refugee crisis in the late 1980s, JFS was instrumental in resettling hundreds of families from the Former Soviet Union in Delaware.  JFS has been providing émigré services since 1997. As of 2017, JFS is the only resettlement agency in Delaware welcoming people from all over the world

The new collaboration between Habitat for Humanity and JFS is an exciting example of organizations developing a collective mission “to provide newly arrived refugees a fully furnished and outfitted home” while remaining true to each organizations’ core competencies. Habitat for Humanity, with its ReStore store operations, has the capacity to schedule and pick up donations. JFS has supporters willing to donate furniture, household goods, etc. for our newly arrived refugees. Together we will be able to operate quickly and effectively to welcome these families. Our next refugee family arrives at the end of February; a 4-year-old little girl and her parents who have spent the last 3 years in a refugee camp.

Habitat for Humanity (HFH) and JFS are seeking donations of gently used furniture and household goods from the community. HFH will give JFS credit to spend at the ReStore that represents the value of the donations made in the name of this program. This makes it possible for JFS and the refugee families to shop for what they need and want to prepare the home.

All donations are tax deductible.

Currently, JFS is partnering with HIAS—one of nine national resettlement agencies—to meet refugee families the moment they step into the United States and assist them with everything they need to begin their new life in Delaware. JFS staff members provide transition services and case management to help families resettle, and volunteers assist with tasks from creating resource packets for local landlords and employers, to sourcing furniture for apartments, to providing transportation. JFS works with its coalition partners to host activities and offer educational opportunities including ESL classes to ensure that refugees feel welcome in their new home.

JFS currently leads a coalition of 27 faith-based groups and community organizations which help refugees adjust to their new lives in Delaware. The coalition, RISE: Refugee Integration Support Effort, unites synagogues, churches, mosques, and other organizations like Habitat for Humanity to help immigrants and refugees succeed in Delaware. Furthermore, RISE connects immigrants, refugees, and community members through “cultural exchange opportunities” – opportunities to connect and celebrate their shared strength and similarities, as well as to celebrate diversity. For example, the Islamic Society of Delaware and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Millcreek – both coalition members – recently brought their children’s faith groups together for a shared class, building empathy and the potential for lasting connections.

RISE also works to ensure newly arrived refugees feel fully connected to and embraced by their new community. Volunteers provide refugee families with support in the form of companionship, guidance, and a range of services. Some examples include: connecting with local landlords to help families find safe housing, providing transportation, teaching them to drive and grocery shop and linking families to state and local services.

ReStore Locations:

Prices Corner, 3312 Seminole Avenue
view on map

Middletown Shopping Center, 600 N. Broad Street
view on map

Store hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday & Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Partnership Contacts:

Basha Silverman
Chief Executive Officer
Jewish Family Services of Delaware
302-478-9411 #111

Kevin L. Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity of New Castle Co.
302-652-0365 x101