Home > Raymond Cervantez Inducted President

JFCS hosted its Annual Meeting on January 25th, providing an opportunity to share highlights from 2023 and give a look forward to 2024 and beyond through sharing the priorities of the organization’s recently completed strategic plan.

Raymond Cervantez was inducted as President, a role he’ll hold through 2025. Raymond, a Vice President and Branch Manager for Farmers and Merchants Bank, has served on the JFCS Board of Directors since 2019 and has contributed significantly to the organization’s fundraising success through his previous role as Chair of Race With A View. Raymond reflected on his own mental health journey when sharing why JFCS is important to him.

“Mental health is something I am extremely passionate about. I believe it is a cornerstone of overall well-being, essential for leading a fulfilling and productive life. By acknowledging the importance of mental health, we pave the way for a healthier, more empathetic society where individuals can thrive and contribute their best selves. For the last three years I have been on my own mental health journey, tackling my personal childhood trauma and abuse. It is because of therapy that after 40 years I am no longer with any guilt or shame of my past and I now have the coping skills to live a happy life. Our commitment to making a positive impact on the City of Long Beach and our adjacent footprint has been the driving force behind every initiative, every program, and every act of kindness we have undertaken as an agency and board.”

Raymond, along with the rest of the 2024 slate of officers and board members, was inducted by Rabbi Perelmuter from Shul By The Shore. This board will oversee the strategic vision of the organization with five areas of program focus identified: youth mental health, community workshops, Jewish seniors, refugee assistance, and domestic violence. New board members include Madeline Harford, Joanne Levy, and Cathy Warner.

While sharing his excitement for the organization’s future, Raymond also expressed his deepest gratitude for the work of the outgoing board members, which included four Past Presidents. “Your tireless efforts, dedication, and invaluable insights have played an instrumental role in shaping the success of JFCS. While you may be stepping down from your official roles, your impact will forever be etched in the foundation of our agency.” Outgoing board members include: Immediate Past President, Mark Rapp, Past President Norma Stein, Past President Gail Levy, Past President Rick Burney, Gael Libby, Bonnie Lowenthal, and Abha Pandya.

The evening was capped off by a speech from JFCS clinician Williams Rojas, a Chapman University student working towards his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Williams was named to the first class of Schneidman Scholars, a new program established through the Daisy & Vic Schneidman Educational Fund to support JFCS clinicians, clients, and staff in their pursuit of higher education. Williams reflected on the impact JFCS has had on him personally as he pursues his goal of becoming a therapist. He shared, “I am more academically and clinically prepared to motivate and encourage children to become better versions of themselves.” As a first-generation student, Williams is an incredible role model to the youth he volunteers with at his former high school and will no doubt make a lasting impact on those he works with in his role as a JFCS clinician.