Help Us Bid Our Clinical Director a Fond Adieu
-CJFS Social Worker Stu Jaffe, LCSW, to succeed Robin McMilin in leadership post
June 28 will be a bittersweet day for CJFS. At a 4 pm reception at the Levite Jewish Community Center, we’ll be celebrating the retirement of our longtime Clinical Director, Robin McMilin. We’ll be wishing Robin and husband Ken well as they move closer to their two daughters and grandchildren, as well as Robin’s 90-year-old mother on the West Coast.
While everyone at CJFS is thrilled for Robin as she begins an exciting chapter in life, we don’t say goodbye without a touch of wistfulness. “Robin has touched hundreds of lives, not just clients’ lives, but our volunteers’ and staff members’ lives,” CJFS Executive Director Lauren Schwartz said as she announced Robin’s retirement during our May 16 Hands Up Together event. “She has been our resident expert, the voice of the vulnerable people we serve, and the mom of our staff. With her retirement, she leaves an agency and a community that is ever transformed by her goodness.”
CJFS has, indeed, seen major changes since Robin arrived 17 years ago having worked at Jewish Family Service agencies in San Antonio and El Paso. Robin joined CJFS as one of two Licensed Clinical Social Workers on staff (the agency now has 6). At the time, the agency’s resources were largely focused on counseling, Buz-A-Bus transportation and financial assistance. Under Robin, the focus on older adult services has grown significantly.
“The addition of the Personal Care program was a big change,” Robin recalled. “We had always worked with older and disabled clients in Highland Manor and Episcopal Place, and the regular apartment hygiene inspections had always been an issue. Because these are subsidized apartments, if our low-income clients were evicted because they couldn’t pass the inspection, the only place they could go might be a Medicaid-funded nursing home bed.” Besides being unable to clean their apartments, these clients did not need that level of care, and they definitely didn’t want to move, she added.
During Robin’s tenure as Clinical Director, CJFS developed the Personal Care program to provide a few hours per week of cleaning, bathing and/or meal preparation assistance for an affordable fee. Subsidized by the Lucille Beeson Fund, donations and other sources, the Personal Care program’s overall costs are a small fraction of what the federal Medicaid program would spend providing nursing home care – and it helps seniors continue living the independent lives they want for longer.
Robin also played a significant role in launching the Just Like Family program, which provides escorted doctor visits, shopping and errands; family liaison services; personal affairs assistance; Medicare Part D consultation and related services. Along with professional Care Management, the Just Like Family and Personal Care programs comprise a comprehensive trio of services to assist older adults and their families. “One thing I really love about this agency is that if we see a need, there’s a good chance we can grow a program around it,” Robin said.
Needless to say, the goodbye process hasn’t been easy for Robin or her clients. “I’ve been working with some of my clients for almost my entire time here,” she said. “There have been a few tears, but they’ll be in very good hands with our clinical team, and they’re all happy for me.”
In the near future, Robin and Ken will be relocating to Oregon, where they hope to spend time hiking, cross-country skiing and enjoying family. “My main goal,” Robin said, “is to maintain my good health for as long as I can by exercising, eating and sleeping well and spending quality time with my children and grandchildren—following all the advice I so regularly give out."
Join CJFS to celebrate Robin’s retirement at 4 pm June 28 in the LJCC Senior Lounge. This will also be an opportunity to meet Robin’s successor as CJFS Clinical Director, CJFS Social Worker Stu Jaffe, LCSW. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 205.879.3438.
For more information about counseling or senior services from CJFS, call 205.879.3438.