Dorothy Salomonsky celebrates a quarter of a century with JFS

February 27, 2020

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Dorothy Salomonsky.

For 25 years, Dorothy Salomonsky has been an integral part of Jewish Family Service of Tidewater—especially with one particular program.

In fact, Salomonsky has been the driving force that propelled the Personal Affairs Management department to be nationally recognized as a leader in safeguarding the personal and financial affairs of vulnerable adults, age 18 and older. These clients all have physical and/or mental impairments and no family or friends to assist or care for them.

The program launched when Salomonsky, who had recently retired from teaching, started volunteering at the old Jewish Community Center on Newport Avenue in Norfolk. She had taken some adult education classes and was asked by a friend to help with older adult programming. Shortly after Salomonsky began her volunteer work, JFS was awarded a grant for 10 hours a week to assist with check writing and telephone assurance.

Salomonsky never said ‘no’ and very quickly became the volunteer coordinator with a bigger group to organize. She learned on the job and helped create a new program, which became the PAM department. This program for personal affairs management now consists of a multidisciplinary panel that provides a range of services, including guardianship and conservatorship.

In 2018, Salomonsky was one of 20 women chosen from hundreds of nominees for the title of Woman of Influence. This honor is given to community leaders by Inside Business. Thanks to Salomonsky, JFS is recognized as a leader in providing guardian/conservator services performed in a manner that places the least restrictions on a client’s rights and provides the respect they deserve.

In 2020, PAM has 850 clients and 55 employees across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Referrals come from judges, lawyers, doctors, and family members.

In addition to her work with PAM at JFS, Salomonsky has served as vice president of the Virginia Guardianship Association and is an active member of Ohef Sholom Temple. She and her husband of 53 years, Edwin, have four children and seven grandchildren.

When asked what makes the program so great, Salomonsky says, “We are here to help the most disenfranchised citizens of Virginia. The common denominator is they have no people. We become their people.”

- Ellen Rosenblum, JFS board president

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