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With the opening of Sosin Center for Rehabilitation and Michael’s Café in December, Project Transformation embarks on its Phase II fundraising, bringing the relationship-based small house model of care (The Green House®) to JGS Lifecare’s long-term residents.

On a Wednesday morning in January, when Paul Cohen joined Attorney Stephen Krevalin for lunch at Michael’s Café in the Sosin Center for Rehabilitation, he was not prepared to be wowed by what he would see. Looking back, Paul says he expected that the new short-term rehabilitation center would be a nice-looking medical facility with the traditional hallways, nurses’ stations, medical carts, and large rehabilitation gym. Instead, he found something quite different.

As he entered the gracious, sun-drenched living room, he smelled freshly brewed coffee and sweet cinnamon muffins. He saw residents relaxing by the fireplace and conversing with staff at the large wooden dining table. watched a woman preparing sandwiches in the open kitchen, and caught a glimpse of a resident being assisted to her room by a caretaker. Cohen did what most of our first time visitors do. He stopped in his tracks and exclaimed, “Wow! This is like a five-star resort hotel! I could see myself enjoying rehab here!”

Cohen recognized that this model could also benefit long-term care residents at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home. “I couldn’t believe how beautiful the facility was. It was like night and day compared to other nursing and rehabilitation facilities. The level of personalized care was also impressive. I quickly perceived that providing care in small houses was better for our elders. I knew that JGS Lifecare deserved my support.”

Cohen endorsed Phase II of Project Transformation with an irrevocable $1 million bequest. His pledge will help JG Lifecare renovate and modernize two 40-bed wings into six home-like Green Houses, as well as expand Wernick Adult Day Health Care to include a specialized Alzheimer’s program. In recognition for Paul’s extreme generosity, JGS Lifecare dedicated The Paul Cohen House at Sosin Center for Rehabilitation.

Philanthropy is synonymous with the name of Paul Cohen. As the source of his motivation, he looks back on his military service after World War II when he was stationed near Dachau in Munich. “I realized how fortunate I was that my grandparents emigrated to this country and that I was born in America with so many freedoms and opportunities. Underneath it all, that’s what motivated me to support my community.”

Cohen’s philanthropy has touched Temple Beth El, the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy, the Springfield Jewish Community Center, and the Jewish Endowment Foundation through the Cohen Family Fund. He is also a major supporter of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cohen’s gift to Project Transformation further expands his legacy of caring. His generosity will impact the lives of so many now and in the future. JGS Lifecare is enormously grateful to Paul Cohen for embracing the vision of transforming eldercare and helping us create a compassionate culture of caring.

Planning is now underway for the A-1 and A-2 renovation projects. While much remains to be done to raise another $1.6 million to achieve an $11 million goal, campaign co-chairs Susan Kline and Stephen Krevalin are confident that the organization will be able to turn our “home” into a “Home.”

“Now that people are experiencing the Sosin Center firsthand, we are convinced they not only understand the impact it’s having on quality of care, but they will also want to be part of the next phase of renovations,” said Krevalin. “Frankly the example of Paul Cohen provides our fundraising committee all the inspiration we need.” According to Krevalin and Kline, more than 150 supporters have already made gifts.

To tour the Sosin Center or learn more about Project Transformation, contact Susan Kimball Halpern at 413-567-3949, ext. 1612 or shalpern@JGSLifecare.org.