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JCC Association, BBYO Partner to Address Adolescent Mental, Emotional and Social Health

Media contact: Alissa Kaplan Michaels
West End Strategy Team, [email protected], 917.363.5037

Pilot initiative supported by Jim Joseph Foundation comes as adolescents struggle with well-being

NEW YORK, April 28 – In a first-of-its kind-partnership, JCC Association of North America and the BBYO Center for Adolescent Wellness (BBYO-CAW), with support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, will collaborate to assess and support mental, emotional and social health among adolescents.

The pilot initiative comes as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have surged among adolescents who have been isolated from their peer groups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initial pilot will use resources from BBYO-CAW to assess and address the preparedness and ability of five Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) to support the needs of the youth they serve. JCC Association has selected five JCCs to participate in the pilot, and all costs will be covered by the Jim Joseph Foundation.

This initiative marks the first time JCC Association of North America and BBYO have joined forces to bring a BBYO-CAW program to the JCC field.

“JCC professionals are often on the front lines in observing what may be emerging issues affecting the well-being of adolescents,” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association of North America, adding, “This partnership is all the more meaningful in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. BBYO is the ideal partner for us, to ensure that we’ll be well-positioned to provide the services and support our teens may require.”

Drew Fidler, director of BBYO’s Center for Adolescent Wellness, said, “Given the expected post-pandemic influx of activity from audiences with these potential needs, we understand how important it is for JCCs to be organizationally ready to support the youth populations they serve. Our goal is for this partnership between JCC Association and BBYO-CAW to further enable our Jewish communities to be a place where young people can thrive mentally, emotionally and socially.”

Using BBYO-CAW’s Youth Wellness Assessment tool, JCCs will better understand how their policies, procedures and training create and ensure safe environments for young people. The tool incorporates best practices, local and national laws, and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Camp Association.

After the assessment, BBYO-CAW will provide reports to each JCC, identifying both strengths and areas in need of improvement, and assist the JCCs in making changes and creating new policies and procedures to ensure safe settings. This pilot will provide BBYO-CAW with data to help refine the services it offers to all youth-serving organizations.

As part of its engagement, to occur through the summer and fall, BBYO-CAW will also provide two customized training sessions to each JCC. These sessions may cover such topics as mandated reporting, building and maintaining appropriate boundaries with children and adolescents, recognizing mental health red flags, and helping children and adolescents with mental health issues.

The five participating JCCs are:



About JCC Association of North America

JCC Association of North America leads and connects the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of more than 170 Jewish Community Centers and Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) each week, the JCC Movement is the largest platform for Jewish engagement on the continent. JCC Association, the convening organization of this dynamic network, partners with JCCs to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the entire JCC Movement, including 12,000 full-time and 41,000 part-time and seasonal professionals. By supporting them, together we enhance and strengthen Jewish life throughout North America. Learn more at or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About BBYO’s Center for Adolescent Wellness

The BBYO Center for Adolescent Wellness (BBYO-CAW) was founded to ensure that youth-serving organizations (YSOs) are places where all adolescents thrive. To accomplish these goals, these organizations need to be spaces that are mentally, emotionally, and physically safe for youth. BBYO-CAW seeks to identify and provide best practices in adolescent health and wellness so that YSOs can be places where adolescents flourish. Our charter is centered around three primary areas: raising the standard of care across YSOs, creating a community of practice among organizations, and following and sharing the latest wellness research, trends, and practices.

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