Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service and BubbieCare Embark on Collaborative Research Study

Community News, Jewish Family Service, Shalom Austin, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 23, 2020

By Rabbi Amy B. Cohen, Shalom Austin chief social service officer and executive director of Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service

Shalom Austin Jewish Family Service is thrilled to be joining Team Texas (including the JFS of Greater Dallas, JFS Houston and BubbieCare) in a monumental research study in collaboration with the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at Notre Dame University.

LEO aims to identify the effective, innovative and scalable programs and policies that reduce poverty and improve lives in the United States.

Shalom Austin JFS is eager to engage in the local, regional and national conversations surrounding the root causes of poverty, and through this collaboration, will actively participate in this research.

Following in the capable footsteps of JFS Houston, which spearheaded this project, Shalom Austin JFS staff and leadership recognize emerging research around social determinants of health, specifically that 80 percent of an individual’s health is determined outside of the healthcare system. As Team Texas gets to work this winter, the group aims to be a leader in establishing and measuring the success of programs that move the needle in improving the health and well-being of clients and the community.

It is in this spirit that Team Texas and BubbieCare will offer a new program that provides financial literacy classes and financial coaching for caregivers of the BubbieCare network. The treatment consists of individual financial coaching as well as group literacy classes. The curriculum is based on the United Way Thrive coaching model and Women’s Resource Center financial literacy classes, all based in Houston but offered remotely.

This program will be offered through all three JFS agencies, which will train staff and volunteers to provide coaching, which is not currently offered through the agencies. LEO, JFS and BubbieCare hope to measure outcomes such as amount of savings, amount of debt, credit score, mental health well-being, and usage of governmental assistance. Shalom Austin JFS leaders are especially excited about this opportunity as they will be training all of their staff in order to offer this resource to as many clients as possible in the months and years ahead.

Shalom Austin JFS is looking for community members to volunteer as financial coaches for this exciting initiative. Coach training will begin in early January and will consist of 16 hours of training, all completed remotely. After volunteers are trained, they will be asked to coach a BubbieCare caregiver for six months, which will include biweekly coaching sessions.

Please contact Arielle Levy, volunteer coordinator, at or Rabbi Amy B. Cohen, JFS executive director, at for more information and to become a volunteer. 

Those in need of a caregiver, please contact BubbieCare, which advocates for better care for the families they serve and fair wages for those who care for them. 

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