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Jewish Family Services of Western New York Supports Families

Jewish Family Services of Western New York (JFS) is committed to supporting families in their community, especially immigrants and refugees. They have been implementing Incredible Years parenting programs since 2014. JFS has shared with us outcomes data highlighting their success in providing culturally responsive parenting programs with families in their community.

Since 2014 JFS has served 350+ parents/caregivers using the Incredible Years parenting curriculum from:

  • Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Haiti, Iraq, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, USA, & more
  • 80% female
  • 66% Primary Language other than English
  • 45% Cannot read or write in primary language
  • 51% unemployed
  • 80% earning less than $20K/year
  • 14% single parent

Of 120 participants surveyed since 2017:

  • 97% agreed the program helped them connect with other people
  • 98% agreed the program helped them improve their parenting skills
  • 97% agreed the program helped them learn more about their child’s development
  • 95% agreed the program helped them reach their goals for their family and themselves
  • 99% agreed the program increased their knowledge of where to go when they need something for themselves or their family
  • 97% agreed the program helped them with stress           

Comments from families who have participated in the Incredible Years classes with Jewish Family Services

OMG I had a big change. We learned so many different strategies to try with our kids, so we could try one strategy and it if doesn’t work, we can try another one. I really really love it. Over the 14 weeks I saw big changes with my son. I felt I should have known this program before, but it’s not too late.“ -Burmese mother of one

“I see that when I spend more time with my daughter, she feels more confident. The more I communicate with my children, the better I know them. Even though I gave birth to them, I don’t necessarily know them unless I spend time with them.” It’s like with our plants, the more we water them, the better they grow. If a child doesn’t have nurturing to grow, their life is more likely to be destructive. We have to be aware of this.” -Burmese mother of 4

“I noticed that as soon as I tell my son I have time to play, he drops his iPad. That really surprised me. I didn’t expect that, I didn’t think he would drop his iPad suddenly just to play with me. He never asks me to play because he knows I’m busy. But when I said to him, ‘Let’s play for 15 minutes,’ he was so happy and immediately dropped his iPad and said let’s play. It taught me I really want to make more time to play with him. And now I see, if I want him to spend less time on screens, I just need to give him my time.” -Burmese mother of 1

“Just having this group and a space to talk about things going on in our lives helps relieve some stress” -Congolese father of 5

“I really appreciate this program, I’ve learned a lot. For me and for my family’ there is a big difference. I’m so happy. It’s a big difference in my house. In the morning we would fight to get them to get dressed, eat their breakfast. Now I say, which shoes do you want to wear today and they say ‘these ones’ with no fighting. It’s helping me a lot.“ -Eritrean mother of 3

“I have peace inside with my kids. Before I screamed, I raised my voice, they didn’t listen to me, I just pushed them. I didn’t know the tactics to encourage or model for them. But now with this program I learned a lot.” -Eritrean mother of 4

“Before I just gave my kids things to do and left them. Now they say to me, ‘Mommy turn off your phone, it’s time to play, let’s do a puzzle,’ and I’m making time for it. That time is really important for me. I didn’t realize before how important it is to spend that time with my kids.” -Eritrean mother of 4

“I was not close with my kids before. Instead of hanging out with them I was hanging out with my friends. But now I’m spending time with my kids, playing with my kids, taking them outside. I wasn’t giving them a lot of attention before, but now I’m seeing a big difference. They listen to me, I listen to them, we just have peace in our house.”  -Eritrean mother of 3

JFS commitment to supporting immigrant and refugee families in their community

From left to right:
-Merhawit “Rahwa” Abebe, Eritrean Community Liaison, Tigrinya-speakers
-Jill Gavin, JFS Community Education Manager and lead IY Group Leader
-Salima Panahzada, Afghan Community Liaison, Dari-speakers
-Nanlae Laewai, Burmese Community Liaison, Burmese-speakers
Also in photo, Alina, daughter of Salima.

Jewish Family Services of Western New York offers groups throughout the year based on community need. This spring, JFS Incredible Years groups are:

  • Toddler curriculum with Burmese moms
  • School Age curriculum with Dari-speaking moms from Afghanistan
  • Pre-School curriculum with Spanish, French, and English speaking parents from various countries
  • School-Age curriculum with English, Spanish, and Swahili speaking parents


  • Interpreter training for the following languages: Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Spanish, Somali, Swahili, Tamil, Urdu

To date, Jewish Family Services has trained Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, French, Karen, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, MaiMai, Swahili, Somali, and Tigrinya language-speaking interpreters.

Thanks to Jewish Family Services of Western New York for sharing their incredible work!

Learn more about Jewish Family Services of Western New York on their website:

The work of Jewish Family Services of Western New York is funded by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Read IY Program developer Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s article: Affirming Diversity and Achieving Cultural Sensitivity When Delivering IY Programs