Jewish Community Services opens offices at JCC in Owings Mills

  • Executive Director Barbara Levy Gradet stands next to the reception area of the new Jewish Community Services offices located inside Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills.
Executive Director Barbara Levy Gradet stands next to the reception… (Submitted photo )
May 11, 2012|By Barbara Pash

The idea was to make career counseling, addiction services, individual and group counseling and parenting resources more accessible to the northwest Baltimore community.

And, so far, in the first week after the new Jewish Community Services office opened April 30 at the Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills, nearly 70 people inquired about services and hundreds more picked up brochures and other materials about the new facility.

"Being at the JCC makes us much more visible and accessible to the community," said Barbara Levy Gradet, executive director of JCS, about the Owings Mills facility at 3506 Gwynnbrook Ave. "On an average Sunday, 1,000 people use the JCC."

JCS has existing offices in Baltimore and Howard County. The city office is in a building next to the JCC Park Heights, at 5750 Park Heights Ave. Recognizing the need for an office in the Owings Mills/Reisterstown area, JCS rented space in the area before its move to this new site.

"When the recession hit four years ago, the economy went south but our numbers went north," Gradet said about a surge in clients that continues to this day. "People are still struggling with jobs, with rents and mortgages, with putting food on the table. We are still seeing big numbers" of clients.

Jewish Community Services is a "consolidated agency" — made up of four human service agencies: Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister, Jewish Addiction Services, Jewish Vocational Services and Jewish Family Services. And although some of its funding comes from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, a fundraising organization for the Jewish community, most of its offerings are non-sectarian. Gradet explained that JCS also receives funding from Baltimore County and United Way of Central Maryland in order to serve all of the Owings Mills area.

In anticipation of increased demand for its services, Gradet hired additional employees. The Owings Mills office has a permanent staff of 25, along with some JCS employees who will rotate between Park Heights and Owings Mills.

"We see a cross-section of the community at both locations. Both areas are religiously and economically diverse," Gradet said.

As people become familiar with the Owings Mills location, "we do expect demand will increase," she said. "We know from people coming by in droves (to ask about JCS) that people need help, they need services."

The JCS is located in a two-story addition that was built on top of a wing of the JCC. The addition totals 20,000 square feet, evenly divided between JCS on the first floor and future JCC use on the second floor. Private donors and a state bond bill paid for the $2.5 million project.

Jewish Community Services will host an open house of its new office on Sunday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Staffers will be on hand for tours and to answer questions.

For information, call 410-466-9200 or visit the website,http://www.jcsbaltimore.org

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