Surround SpotlightCommunity Partnership Spotlight:

MEET OUR FRIENDS AT JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE OF SAN ANTONIO

In Joel Drake Johnson’s play FOUR PLACES, The Surround Project is exploring the connection between family dynamics and individual mental wellness. One of our partner agencies is Jewish Family Service. CEO Talli Dolge, MS, will join us at the performance on Friday, June 21st at 8pm and will join a post-show talk about the role of stress, trauma, and mental wellness in the family dynamic.

What is the mission of your Jewish Family Service and why is it critical to San Antonio?

Jewish Family Service of San Antonio improves the quality of life of individuals and families of all ages, races, faiths, and backgrounds through mental health counseling, social services, and educational programs. The services we provide are critical not only to residents of San Antonio but to every human regardless of where they live. Too often, mental health challenges are ignored or shamed, which causes additional harm to the person’s current mental state. This in a nutshell is how the mental health stigma began – too much shaming. For the past couple years, our society has placed a focus on ending the stigma associated with having a mental health challenge, and we couldn’t be more pleased. JFS is known in around the United States to be a premier mental health facility, and we are honored to provide the residents of San Antonio an outlet.

It’s a little unusual for a mental health agency to partner with a theatre company! Why did JFS agree to participate and what are your hopes for the partnership?

Part of ending the stigma associated with mental health challenges is finding different outlets to spread the message. To be able to use an outlet like live theatre to promote the message of how important it is to take care of your mental health is tremendous. If only one person who sees your show reaches out to our agency to schedule an appointment, we would call that a successful and worthwhile partnership.

How does the role of narrative or storytelling inform the work of your agency? Is it useful in a clinical setting? Is it useful in your community messaging?

Storytelling for our agency is a necessity! Sometimes it’s not enough to tell people we offer counseling and psychiatry services; the picture has to be painted differently for each individual considering whether or not they need our services. As for storytelling in our outreach, it is 100% vital. It is only through storytelling that we are able to reach people on an emotional level in order to convey what we need as a non-profit organization.

When audiences leave the theatre, what do you want them to know about JFS and its resources?

We want them to know that JFS has two office locations – on the northside on NW Military Highway and on the southside on Mission Road. We want them to know that there are many payment options including private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and most importantly, a sliding-fee scale for those who can’t afford to receive services. And we want them to know they are welcome – JFS serves all residents of Bexar County and surrounding areas.

Learn more about the resources available at Jewish Family Service of San Antonio at http://www.jfs-sa.org or call 210.302.6920

To make a reservation for Friday night’s performance and talkback, visit www.thesurroundproject.com

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Talli Goldman Dolge, MS, CEO of Jewish Family Service of San Antonio (pictured here with husband Steve Dolge) will lead a post-show discussion Friday, June 21st.

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