News, People

Jewish Community Partners Pilots School Counselor Collaboration

by JCPConnect-

Once again, Jewish Community Partners (JCP) has served as the central organization to facilitate a collaborative community effort that will benefit Jewish Memphis.

In October, Vanessa Akeredolu will begin her post as the first joint school counselor serving students at Bornblum Jewish Community School (Bornblum) and Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South (MHA). Ms. Akeredolu will divide her time between both schools and receive clinical supervision and support from Jewish Family Service at the MJCC (JFS) where she is a staff member and where her office will be assigned.

This position was made possible by a grant from the Memphis Jewish Federation Annual Community Campaign, a generous anonymous donor, and with additional funding by the schools.

“Jewish Community Partners serves as a community convener and facilitator to support the needs of our Jewish agencies, synagogues and schools,” said Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, JCP’s Chief Strategy Officer. “This unprecedented collaboration began with both schools identifying and communicating a service gap in their schools. Working together with the MJCC, JFS and the day schools, we developed the concept and implemented a unique model for a shared day school counselor who is also a full time JFS professional staff member. We want to express our gratitude to all community members who support MJF’s Annual Community Campaign who together with an anonymous donor enabled this community partnership to move from concept to reality. We also want to thank Bornblum, MHA, JFS and the MJCC for their flexibility and openness to creating a shared position. We hope this model will serve as a paradigm for future collaborations in our community.”

“We are excited to partner with MHA, JCP and JFS to bring in a school counselor,” said Bornblum Head of School Daniel Weiss. “This joint effort will allow us to enhance our Social Emotional Growth program as well as strengthen the work that we do to meet all of our students’ and families’ needs.”

Ms. Akeredolu brings a wealth of experience as a school social worker and therapeutic respite provider having worked with special needs students and their families in addition to many other education-related social service areas.

“I am so excited to be joining in the great work that is happening in the Memphis Jewish Community,” she said. “I’m passionate about the social emotional success of students and I will be a great asset to the Jewish community in Memphis. I am relocating from Denver, Colorado with my family and look forward to the many great new experiences that await us.  This is such a great honor being part of the educational community in Memphis, and I’m looking forward to getting started.” 

“We are thrilled that Ms. Akeredolu will be serving as our school’s new school counselor. Besides her training and experience, Ms. Akeredolu will bring a unique positivity to her work at Margolin Hebrew Academy-Feinstone Yeshiva of the South” said Head of School at MHA Rabbi Benjy Owen. “We appreciate Laura Linder, Bluma Zuckerbrot-Finkelstein, and Jewish Community Partners for their work in advancing this new partnership between our school, Jewish Family Service, and Bornblum Jewish Community School.”

Ms. Akeredolu comes to JFS from Colorado where she has been working in the Denver Public School System as a school counselor,” remarked Mary Elizabeth Jones, JFS Director of Social Services. “She has lots of great ideas to build a strong and effective support system for the students, parents and staff of both schools in partnership with Jewish Family Service and Jewish Community Partners.”

Ms. Akeredolu received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Iowa and Master of Social Work from Colorado State University School of Social Work.

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