Headlining the Jewish Family & Children’s Service annual meeting Thursday, May 21, will be family finance expert Neale Godfrey.
Nationally renowned, Godfrey has written 16 books on finance and has made appearances on numerous television shows, including the Today Show and Oprah Winfrey.
Her speech will focus on how families can get through these tough economic times.
“The biggest thing is to communicate with your loved ones and also communicate with the community,” Godfrey said. “How lucky you are to have the Jewish community and this is the time to all band together.”
“It’s the perfect time for us to come together as a community.”
JF&CS Executive Director Aryeh Sherman said that bringing in Godfrey would give families the opportunity to get help from someone with great experience in the field.
“She’s nationally known for addressing a very critical issue about community,” Sherman said. “She can give us some good advice to families who are facing or might face economic crises.”
Sherman noted that during the recession, JF&CS has seen an increase in people using its services.
“Some families that are not used to turning toward our agency have been turning to us more recently,” he said. “We’re trying to build in an outreach component into everything we do to increase awareness in our community to let them know there is an agency willing and ready to help them.”
Godfrey’s address will explain to adults how to talk to their children about the economic crisis and how to make them understand that their stuff they own shouldn’t overtake their lives.
“When you go back and talk to your grandparents they will tell you how everyone was together and everyone took people in for meals.
“I want people to go back to the concept of real sharing. We are not our stuff. We are our values. What a great opportunity for us to take a deep breath and re-evaluate who we are and what we want to stand for.”
Godfrey will give parents specific tips on how to deal with their children.
“I’m going to give people tools and tips on how to move forward; how to teach the value and life skills around money,” she said. “Everybody can leave with a plan in terms of engaging with the next generation. We are passing the baton to these kids. We want them to have a healthier attitude than we had.”
For JF&CS, an agency that is devoted to helping children and families, Sherman said that Godfrey’s address is timely and will be informational.
“This is a real opportunity for our community to hear someone with these credentials speak,” he said. “She has a lot of added value to offer us. She’s an expert in this field. We certainly hope that parents will come and leave better prepared to discuss these issues with their kids if they come up.”
While Godfrey noted that the economy has experienced a positive boost recently, she is both optimistic and cautious.
“I’m optimistic about the nation and the economy,” she said. “But I’m sensitive to people who have lost jobs and have to rebuild. One of the things we all have to learn is sensitivity. If you’re not affected, your neighbor is.”
Although the topic of a failing economy is normally a depressing subject, Godfrey’s address will focus on the positives.
“It’s just the perfect time for everyone to come and join us. It will be uplifting — not doom and gloom. It’s tough times, but certainly they will end. As Jews we have been through a lot worse.”
(Mike Zoller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)