Moving Forward Together

Coping During COVID-19

Community Conversations For You and Your Family

Jewish Family Service is hosting a series of free virtual Community Conversations to help San Diegans meet the many challenges of coping with the coronavirus pandemic. From maintaining your mental health, to caring for a parent with dementia, to supporting kids while schools are closed, these conversations will use our collective knowledge to learn techniques and tips to survive these challenging times. Together, we will make it through this.

Each conversation will feature panels of distinguished community leaders, doctors, clergy, educators, and therapists who will share their expertise. There will be time in each program for participants to submit questions.

If you would like to participate, please register for each Community Conversation and you will receive unique access information to enter the virtual meeting room.

Learn more about our upcoming Community Conversations and watch past Community Conversations below.

JFS Community Hunger Briefing

Date/Time: Wednesday, July 8  |  12:00 – 1:00pm

Michael Hopkins – CEO, Jewish Family Service
Anahid Brakke – Executive Director, San Diego Hunger Coalition
Sasha Escue – Director of Nutrition Services, Jewish Family Service

In San Diego County, 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 5 children don’t know where they will get their next meal. Food insecurity is a constant threat to our community, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated its impact.

Since mid-March, JFS has been inundated with requests for food assistance, which is now the number one reason people are contacting us for assistance.

Food banks and frontline nutrition assistance providers, including Jewish Family Service, have drastically changed the structure of food assistance services to respond to the public health crisis. To meet the significant increase in need for food assistance, JFS has implemented innovative new methods for sourcing nutritious food and safely distributing meals without physical contact.

Your generous support makes this possible. Please join us to learn about our response to the hunger crisis during COVID-19 and discover how you can take action to ensure that our neighbors are healthy during these difficult times.

Community Conversation
Understanding the Supreme Court Decision On DACA: What Happens Next?

Date/Time: Monday, June 22  |  3:00 – 4:30pm

Leah Chavarria, Esq., Director of Immigration Services Immigration Attorney, Jewish Family Service
Jairo Castañeda, Esq., Lead Attorney, Higher Education Legal Services, Jewish Family Service
Claudia Cuevas, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Cynthia Torres, Coordinator of Undocumented Resource Area (URA) at SDSU
Leticia A. Díaz, M.A., Director of EOPS and Special Programs, San Diego Mesa College
Daniel Alfaro, Program Manager of Undocumented Student Services, UCSD

Moderator: Vanessa Piñeda, Outreach Manager for Breaking Down Barriers, Jewish Family Service

In this Community Conversation, our panel of immigration experts and advocates will summarize the court ruling and the immediate effects it has on DACA recipients, discuss the emotional impact of the decision, and connect participants to helpful immigration resources. Join us to ask questions, share your feelings, and talk about what happens next for the 700,000+ DACA recipients who call the United States home.

DACA Community Conversation Resources

Dream and Promise Act


Resource for High School students

  • Students Without Limits
    • Services include scholarship opportunities, one-on-one assistance applying to college and for financial aid, mental health support, in-school support groups, and also pre-screening for DACA.


Community College System


California State University System


University of California System


San Diego State University System


Local Mental Health Resources


Jewish Family Service Services


San Diego Community Services

To contact, call (619) 389.8723 or email [email protected].

Community Conversation #7
Positive Parenting During Uncertain Times

Date/Time: Wednesday, June 24 |  5:30 – 6:30pm

Margo Gonzalez, Lead Parent Educator, Jewish Family Service
Julio Ramos, Parent Educator, Jewish Family Service
Jennifer Martin, Military Family Specialist, Jewish Family Service

Autumn Weidman, Director of Positive Parenting Program, Jewish Family Service

With schools closed, social distancing practices in place, and an order to stay at home, many children are left feeling confused during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents are also faced with new roles at home where they must balance the demands of working and parenting in close quarters. Finding support and effective techniques to manage stress is now more critical than ever for the wellbeing of families in our community.

This Community Conversation features our team of Positive Parenting educators and will focus on finding positive strategies for maintaining a healthy family life during quarantine, managing challenging behaviors, and helping our children cope during these difficult times.

About Positive Parenting Program (PPP): The Positive Parenting Program (PPP) is a children’s prevention and early intervention mental health program at Jewish Family Service, funded by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency. The Positive Parenting Program works with parents of young children throughout San Diego County to prevent behavioral and emotional concerns in their children, using Triple P, and evidence-based parenting curriculum that uses simple, practical, and powerful strategies to strengthen families.

Community Conversation #6
Supporting The Mental Health Of Asian/Pacific Islander Communities During COVID-19

Date/Time: Thursday, May 21 |  3:00 – 4:00pm

Amanda Lee, Division Dir. of Adult/Older Adult Mental Health, UPAC
Heeyoung Kim, Counseling & Treatment Ctr Program Manager, UPAC
Jashneel Singh, Doctoral Student, Alliant International University
Michelle Ly, Division Dir. of Children & Adolescent Mental Health, UPAC

Gabby Masuda, Outreach Coordinator for Asian Pacific Islander Community, Jewish Family Service

Cultural values, common misconceptions, and lack of resources in Asian/Pacific Islander (API) communities can often prevent individuals facing mental health challenges from seeking support. With an increase in hate crimes against API communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, existing mental health challenges can be exacerbated.

This Community Conversation will bring together mental health experts from across the API community to discuss common mental health issues, identify the social barriers that prevent API individuals from seeking help, and offer tips on coping during the increased stress and uncertainty of our current public health crisis.


Community Conversation #6 Resources


Stopping or Reporting Hate Resources


UPAC Section



Community Conversation #5
Teen Talk: Finding Connection, Coping Strategies, and Hope for the Future

This Community Conversation is open to all teens in grades 9-12.

Date/Time: Thursday, April 30  |  4:00 – 5:00pm

Sarah Greenstein, Guidance Counselor, San Diego Jewish Academy
Ashley McGuire, Professional Peacemaker and Restorative Justice Practitioner
Ali Shapiro and Ilana Goldklang, Teen Leaders, Jewish Family Service

Daria Tomsky, Teen Leadership Coordinator, Jewish Family Service
Matthew Ewing, Teen Leader, Jewish Family Service

Are you feeling isolated from your friends and classmates? Unmotivated in virtual school? Worried about the future or feeling anxious about college? It’s time for teens to talk about COVID-19. Join a panel of experts and local Teen Leaders for a Community Conversation that will focus on how to find connection, motivation, and a sense of belonging during these challenging times. From accessing mental health resources to creating daily routines, we’ll talk about our collective anxiety, find creative ways to stay connected, and learn how to navigate this crisis together.


Conversación Comunitaria #4
Prevención Durante la Pandemia: Una Conversación para Padres

Our fourth Community Conversation, “Prevention During a Pandemic: A Conversation For Parents,” will be held in Spanish.

Fecha/Horario: Viernes, 24 de Abril, 2020  |  2:00-3:00pm

Ariane Porras, Consultant & Trainer for Partner in Prevention, Strengthening Families Department, YMCA
Saribe Perez, Mental Health & Disabilities Manager, MAAC Child Development
Gisella Gomez, MSW, Family Developer, Casey Family Programs – San Diego

Moderadora: Margot González, Lead Parent Educator, Jewish Family Service

Descripción del evento:
Con el cierre de escuelas, las prácticas de distanciamiento social y la orden de quedarse en casa, los niños hacen preguntas y muchos se sienten confundidos durante la pandemia de COVID-19.

Los padres también se enfrentan a nuevos roles en el hogar donde tienen que equilibrar las demandas de trabajar y ser padres en lugares cerrados. Encontrar apoyo y técnicas efectivas para manejar el estrés ahora es más crítico que nunca para el bienestar de las familias en nuestra comunidad.

Esta conversación comunitaria, se centrará en encontrar estrategias positivas para mantener una vida familiar saludable durante la cuarentena, administrar nuestros nuevos roles como maestros y ayudar a nuestros hijos a sobrellevar estos tiempos difíciles.


Community Conversation #3
How Collective Trauma, Self-Care, and COVID-19 Varies Across Communities

Date: Friday, April 17, 2020 | 1:00 – 2:00pm

Panelists: JFS Breaking Down Barriers Team
Fernando Parra Chong, Outreach Coordinator for Latinx Community
Spshelle Rutledge, Outreach Coordinator for African American/Black Community
Gabriela Masuda, Outreach Coordinator for Asian Pacific Islander Community
Vanessa Pineda, Outreach Coordinator for LGBTQ+ Community
Lily Mojdehi, Outreach Coordinator for Middle Eastern Community

Moderator: Kim Lesnau, Director of Learning & Development at JFS

The COVID-19 crisis affects us all — but the challenges we face can look very different from person to person. Communities of color, working class communities, and other marginalized communities are often on the front lines of public health crises without the proper resources or support systems they need to weather the storm.

This Community Conversation, featuring the JFS Breaking Down Barriers team and moderated by Kim Lesnau, Director of Learning & Development at JFS, will focus on understanding the community impact of COVID-19 from a culturally sensitive and trauma-informed lens. We’ll provide techniques for maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing, tips on normalizing emotions that are often ignored, and advice on accessing helpful community resources.

About Breaking Down Barriers
Breaking Down Barriers is an outreach program at Jewish Family Service, funded by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, that works with underserved communities to talk about mental wellness. Through educational presentations and events, we discuss the stigma of mental health and connect participants to helpful resources so everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

To stay up to date on the latest events and community resources, follow Breaking Down Barriers on Facebook and Instagram.


Community Conversation #3 Resources


  • API Racism Incident Report
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233
  • Call Trevor Lifeline (for youth): (866) 488-7386
    • LGBTQ-sensitive trained counselors to contact during a mental health crisis and/or suicidal thoughts
  • LGBTQ National Senior Hotline: (888) 234-7243
    • Monday–Friday from 4pm-12am
    • Provides seniors the ability to talk with trained peer-support volunteers
  • Access Line: Text or Dial 2-1-1
    • Connects SD residents in need of food, shelter, healthcare, etc.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 and press 1
  • Suicide Prevention: (800) 273-8255
  • Substance Abuse/Mental Health Helpline: (800) 662-4357
  • Sexual Assault Hotline: (800) 799-7233




Mental Health

Community Conversation #2
Dementia Caregiving in the COVID-19 Outbreak

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 | 12:30 – 1:30pm

Tracey Truscott, Clinical Social Worker, Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at UCSD
Amy Abrams, Director of Education, Alzheimer’s San Diego
Colleen Cook, Dementia Specialist, Jewish Family Service

Moderator: Meredith Morgenroth, Sr. Director of Social & Wellness Services at Jewish Family Service

Community Co-Sponsors: Alzheimer’s San Diego, UCSD Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Live Well San Diego County, Southern Caregiver Resource Center, and The Behavioral Health Committee of Jewish Family Service

With Older Adult Centers closed and social distancing practices in place, care partners are experiencing new challenges that arise with being home 24/7. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia can be increasingly difficult when regular forms of respite aren’t available or routine schedules are interrupted – but with the right tools and support systems, we can make the transition easier.

This Community Conversation, featuring panelists Tracey Truscott, Amy Abrams, and Colleen Cook and moderated by Meredith Morgenroth, will focus on finding emotional support and stress management for care partners, staying connected to isolated loved ones, creating a safety plan, and accessing local resources for additional support.


Community Conversation #1
Self-Care Strategies for Adjusting to a New Normal 

Date/time: Friday, April 3 | 12:00 – 1:00pm

Ken Druck, Ph.D., Resilience Expert, founder of Jenna Druck Center
Dr. Bruce Sachs, Clinician, Jewish Family Service
Rabbi Yael Ridbeg, Congregation Dor Hadash

Moderator: Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service

Community Co-Sponsors: Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jewish Community Foundation, The Hive – A Leichtag Foundation Initiative, The Behavioral Health Committee of Jewish Family Service

We’re all going through an unprecedented time in modern history. How could we not be turned upside down and inside out knowing we’re all a droplet away from getting infected? Self-care, disciplining ourselves to do the things that are necessary to our health and well-being, not to mention our immune system, is essential.  And for many of us, the challenges of caregiving a sick or aging family member are as complicated and confounding as we could have ever imagined.

This program, moderated by Michael Hopkins, CEO of Jewish Family Service, and featuring panelists Ken Druck, Ph.D., Rabbi Yael Ridberg, and Dr. Bruce Sachs, will focus on how to meet these challenges by upgrading, innovating and putting our self-care and caregiving skills and abilities to work.


If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call (858) 637-3210.

To see all updates to JFS programs and events, visit

Donate to the JFS Emergency Response Fund

If you are able to support our efforts, please make a contribution so we can provide much-needed relief and vital necessities to San Diegans during this crisis.