Supporting organizations that support the community
The Community Connections program of WellCare Health Plans of New Jersey, Inc. awarded five community organizations with grants to support their work in promoting health and wellness in our community. The Regesh Network received a grant for the exemplary services they provide to teens, families, and educational professionals.
Rabbi Yechiel Elbaz, the dynamic founder and director of Regesh, took a few minutes from his hectic schedule to share an inside glimpse of this exceptional organization.
Changing times, changing needs
It is common knowledge that teenagers today face vastly greater and more complex challenges than their parents did a generation ago – or, for that matter, even more than kids faced fifteen years ago.
“So much has evolved in the landscape of chinuch over the last ten to fifteen years,” says Rabbi Elbaz. “The erosion of authority, the infiltration of negative outside influences, the higher scholastic expectations, the social pressures – these can have a huge effect on vulnerable teens, especially as they have also become increasingly fragile.”
Indeed, it is interesting to note that when children act out or are seemingly rebellious, it is almost always the result of an insecurity about themselves or a level of unhappiness with their situation or social standing. As a result, says Rabbi Elbaz, we sometimes need to open our minds to take a different approach than we would have taken not so long ago, even if the old way may seem more correct to us. This is not in any way to suggest any laxity or deviation of religious values; rather to place a greater emphasis on accepting children, more overt expressions of love, an appreciation of their perspective and empathy with the challenges they face.
Meeting the challenge
The Regesh Network’s flagship program is the famously advertised anonymous helpline which has become a legendary preventative mental health safety net of its own.
“The variety and scope of calls and callers that we receive on a regular day is astonishing,” says Rabbi Elbaz. The calls range from a young adult whose peers are pressuring her towards a path of substance abuse to a rebbe struggling with a defiant student in his 7th grade class to a successful 11th grade ben Torah who is facing a personal challenge.
“Many callers just need a listening ear,” notes Rabbi Elbaz. “Our line can provide a reassurance that the problem they’re facing is common, and the opportunity to call back anonymously at any time – and that’s the first step towards building a relationship.” Follow-up mentorship plays a central role in the Regesh Network’s success.
Of course, each situation is handled with professionalism and genuine interest. When the circumstance warrants professional intervention, callers are encouraged and guided to an appropriate professional.
WellCare: Welcome partners who understand
Well beyond the parameters of its modest description as a healthcare insurance carrier for individuals and families with NJ Family Care coverage, WellCare Health Plans of New Jersey has assumed a proactive role in promoting the non-profit organizations who form the almost invisible social safety net of health and wellness in our community. WellCare has their finger on the pulse of the organizations and individuals who make our community a healthier and safer place to live and thrive.
Aviva Woog, WellCare’s Community Connections Manager sums it up succinctly: “Wonderful and capable organizations are already doing a great job servicing the community. Our mission is to promote a healthier community; supporting the entities that help achieve that goal is a fulfillment of that mission.”
With that kind of caring attitude, it makes you think that WellCare Health Plans may be a great solution for your health plan needs as well.