Whether they were celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas–in English or another language–everyone was warmly welcomed at Jewish Family Service’s annual winter soiree. This year the longtime party launched as “The Faces of JFS,” focused on the diversity of its clients. Traditionally the organization honors its own at the always-anticipated holiday party, and this year was no exception as Gay CurtissLusher and Sam Zaitz were recognized for their leadership, philanthropy and dedication to JFS and the community. The event netted nearly $375,000 to benefit the life-transforming work of the agency.

Co-chairs Stephanie Zaitz and Jeremy Abelson (center), with honoree Sam Zaitz

On Thursday, Dec. 14, the evening at Grand Hyatt Denver began with a cocktail reception and red-carpet photo opportunity for all partygoers by A Custom Look Photography. Lively music by Spinphony created a festive atmosphere as a massive buffet of themed culinary stations featured selections from around the world. Event co-chairs Ben Lusher and Stephanie Zaitz welcomed the crowd and began the dinner program (other event co-chairs were Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Jeremy Abelson). Shepard Nevel, president and CEO, talked about the agency, citing problems facing citizens in Colorado and how JFS helps. The program continued as Board Chair Charile Gwirtsman and Vice Chair Leanna Harris introduced award recipients to the stage: Sam Zaitz, for the Yana Vishnitsky Leadership Award; and Gay Curtiss-Lusher, accepting the Kal and Joyce Zeff Humanitarian Award. The program ended with stories of three JFS clients portrayed by actors…and culminated with a heartwarming moment as the actual clients joined the actors on stage.

JFS client Kalin Rock (center), with his sister Savannah and JFS president and CEO Shepard Nevel

Jewish Family Service of Colorado (JFS) believes in strengthening the community by providing vital services to people in need. Every day, JFS helps people overcome life’s challenges to live fuller, more meaningful lives. Founded in 1872, JFS is a nonsectarian, nonprofit human services agency serving metro Denver and Boulder. JFS helps seniors live independently at home, provides quality mental health counseling, offers training and job placement to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other people with barriers to employment, and provides food and financial aid to people in crisis.

Every year, the agency benefits nearly 25,000 people of all ages, faiths and incomes. Jewish Family Service is recognized as a premier human services agency serving metro Denver and Boulder by providing innovative and professionally delivered services that empower its participants. JFS exists to fulfill one of the most important Jewish values: that of Tikkun Olam, the obligation to make the world a better place. For more information, please, visit www.jewishfamilyservice.com, or call 303-597-5000. You can also follow JFS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.