Join Our Email List
Find Us On:
Please donate to keep enhancing the educational experience of children in Westchester.
The JCY-Westchester Community Partner’s mission is to enhance the educational experience of children in Westchester County through effective learning initiatives and the engagement of volunteer mentors.

About Us

JCY-Westchester Community Partners develops intergenerational programs to meet the literacy needs of the children in the community.

Focusing on the literacy needs of our youth, JCY-Westchester Community Partners develops intergenerational programs that improve the reading and writing abilities of the students in K-12 and provide opportunities for student community service.  The lives of our volunteers are deeply enriched by the relationships they form with their students across the diverse spectrum of Westchester's population.


In 1919 the Jewish Federation of Yonkers was formed.  As the Jewish population, particularly young children and teens increased in numbers, their objective was to develop a meeting place for them.  Several temporary meeting places were acquired.  The Jewish population continued to increase.  Therefore a decision was made to develop a new JCC building.

In 1923 the Jewish Federation developed the Jewish Center Committee.  Both entities planned the details of the building.

In 1929 a 43,000 square foot building, including a swimming pool, health club, gym, auditorium and danced studio, opened at 122 South Broadway in downtown Yonkers (opposite St. Joseph’s Hospital). This building served the community for many years.

On December 20, 1965 a fire caused 12 deaths and several serious injuries to participants in the Music School on the 4th floor of the JCC building.

From 1966-1972 Murray Gunner was Executive Director of both the Jewish Community Center and Jewish Federation.

In 1967 Arthur Friedland became the President of the Jewish Federation. This new role was developed.

In 1968 a new development took place.  The Jewish Community Center published The Center News, a widely read paper. This newspaper continues today as the Westchester Jewish Chronicle and is privately owned.

In the meantime, several population changes were taking place.  The Jewish population in Southwest Yonkers was beginning to decrease.  There was a substantial increase in the number of black and Latino populations. The schools reflected this population change.  Standards in the schools changed.

In 1972 New York Federation accepted two agencies as beneficiaries:  a) Jewish Federation became Jewish Council of Yonkers; and b) Jewish Community Center was to become a separate institution (no longer a committee of Jewish Federation).

In 1973 Graenum Berger from Federation offered $50,000 as a beginning allocation. That was the beginning of the JCY relationship with Federation.

The Jewish Federation of Yonkers had to change its name to the Jewish Council of Yonkers in 1973, based on a request made by NY Federation.

In 1990 Murray Gunners (the executive director) primary responsibility was to put out a weekly newspaper.  There was a lack of other programs and deficits were mounting.  NY Federation threatened at the time to abolish its $10,000 grant.  They insisted on programs, not only on a newspaper. Coming to America a program celebrating diversity in the schools, Neighborhood Stabilization program promoting Jewish Culture in Yonkers, and 3 $250 scholarships for high school seniors made up the program agenda

In 1997 Janice Lubin Kirschner joined the JCY staff bringing with her senior programming in apartment buildings (SOS). Today we work in 29 buildings in 9 communities in Westchester. In March 1997 SMART (Students and Mature Adults Read Together) was launched with 20 seniors from Jeffrey Park (SOS building) and Gorton High School. Today we are in 24 schools in Yonkers, 3 in Mount Vernon, and Elmsford with plans to expand into Mount Kisco and Tuckahoe. STACK (students teach adults computer knowledge) followed the next year and is in 5 schools in Yonkers and White Plains. Coming to America became Passport to Yonkers. The JCY partnered with Midchester Jewish Center and Helene Alalouf in bringing a Holocaust Program to inner city students in Yonkers. Open Book, Reading Aloud is Ageless, was subcontracted to the JCY around the year 2000. Reading Buddies began at the Will Library and the Riverfront Library also around the year 2000. The Westchester chapter of NYSIgN (New York State Intergenerational Program) was launched in 2006 and our newest program SMART Afterschool began this year.

In 2006 Janice Lubin Kirschner became the Executive Director

In 2008 the JCY wrapped up a 4 year long strategic plan which resulted in new bylaws. In recognition of the changes in the JCY, a new name was adopted in 2008. Westchester Community Partners; Programs serving all generations will be launched. The Jewish Council of Yonkers will continue to do the work of a Jewish Community Council in Yonkers and be part of the Westchester Community Partners

In October, 2013 we merged with Family Service Society of Yonkers (FFSY), a community-based nonprofit founded in 1883, which offers a wide range of programs and services. Our Home Health Care program provides over 300,000 hours of in-home care each year. Also, we offer free home health care training classes leading to New York State Department of Health certification as a Personal Care Aide or the more advanced Home Health Aide.

The FSSY Kinship Support Program provides Westchester County’s most extensive services targeted to grandparent and other relative caregivers and the children they are raising. Our GrandPower Project trains seniors to organize advocacy efforts on behalf of kinship caregivers. The Westchester Family Center provides services for eligible children and youth who are exiting foster care and entering into adoptive or kinship care. FSSY, in collaboration with a consortium of area organizations, sponsors an intergenerational program designed to improve the health, fitness and nutrition of local residents and to foster better understanding between youth and older adults.

FSSY is Westchester’s only community-based nonprofit appointed by the New York State Supreme Court in Westchester to act as legal guardian for incapacitated adults, and we provide this service for more than 300 individuals. We also provide representative payee services up to 180 disabled individuals incapable of managing their resources.

Through local and state programs, we provide safety-related housing modifications that enable low- income elderly and disabled Yonkers and Westchester County residents to continue living independently in a safe environment. Our Homestead Program provides   supportive housing for physically disabled homeless individuals. In addition, we provide case management for senior and disabled residents of the Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority and for Yonkers residents living in Section 8 housing.

Currently we are Westchester’s leader in intergenerational volunteer programming. We sponsor literacy and education programs.

Program Summaries


Students and Mature Adults Read Together (SMART) Volunteers tutor/mentor students one-on-one in their schools during the school day. Stimulates a child’s academic interest and motivation, increasing self-confidence, and fostering socially responsible behavior.

Reading Buddies After School  Provides support for general literacy skills and/or homework assignments. Adult and high school volunteer mentors/tutors are paired with students one-on-one or in small groups. Includes individualized educational support for educationally at-risk children designated “in need of improvement”. Creative Drama is a new program under Reading Buddies After School where elementary school students work in small groups to create plays based on the books they select. 

Intro2America  Intergenerational program for high school students who have recently arrived in this country with limited English proficiency. Bilingual volunteers support students in our ESL (English as a Second Language) Center during the school day and after-school. Increases communication skills and familiarity with American culture. Consultants to help students acclimate to their new environment.

Summer Reading Buddies  6-week summer program held at the Yonkers Riverfront Library and the Mount Vernon Public Library. Volunteers read with the children one-on-one or in small groups. Helps students complete summer reading assignments and avoid the loss of skills during the summer months. Bilingual parent workshops provide resources to foster literacy and other skills in the home.

SHINE (Students of Hostos are Inspired and Nurtured to Excellence)  After-school program serves students in grades K-6 at Eugenio Maria de Hostos MicroSociety School, Yonkers, New York. Program provides over 160 students with homework assistance, arts instruction, hands-on projects to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts; also provides opportunities for team sports as well as instructional play.

Cross Hill Academy (Generating STEAM)  After-school program designed to improve the social, emotional and academic skills of students in grades 6 and 7 in Yonkers, New York. Youth Counselors conduct a range of curriculum enrichment, recreational, and social and emotional skills development activities to teach life skills and to help increase students’ self-esteem; subject areas include STEM, English language arts, physical education and the arts.  Counselors provide academic support and homework assistance.

Open Book: Reading Aloud is Ageless  Intergenerational early childhood literacy program with adult volunteers reading to children in pediatric and foster care clinic waiting rooms. Partner of the nationally acclaimed “REACH OUT AND READ” program. Over 6,500 books given away for free annually. Pediatricians trained to include reading as part of the well child visit. Westchester Medical Center - White Plains Hospital.

Scholarship Program  Scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 provided by private donors. Awarded annually to high school students who reflect the diversity of Yonkers. Recognizes outstanding achievements in academic excellence, music, performing arts, community service, journalism and entrepreneurship.  

Holocaust Remembrance & Education Program  Thousands of public school students visit Lincoln Park Jewish Center each year to hear firsthand accounts from Holocaust Survivors. Lessons include overcoming obstacles, tolerance, respect for cultural differences, and how to be an “upstander” - not a bystander. Students and volunteer docents engage with Simon Wiesenthal Center’s  ”Courage to Remember” poster display depicting the history, resistance, and impact of the Holocaust. Students participate in an essay and art contest reflecting on lessons learned.

Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Jewish Affairs Spearheads a group of Yonkers community leaders and organizational representatives in continuity with our heritage as the Jewish Council of Yonkers.

New York State Intergenerational Network-Westchester (NYSIgN)  Initiated by JCY-WCP, a chapter of the NY State Intergenerational Network.  Educates the community on the benefits of intergenerational programming and advocates strategic changes in policy and support