Wainer, Teen Life Counts honorees at NOLA JFS gala

Ellie Wainer and the Teen Life Counts program will be honored at this year’s Jewish Family Service Rhythm and Soul Gala, May 21 at the Audubon Tea Room in New Orleans.

Every year, JFS recognizes a member of the community “who has given countless hours to advancing the common good in New Orleans.”

For over 25 years, Wainer has been JFS program coordinator for Teen Life Counts, which became the largest suicide awareness and prevention program in the state. “She has positively affected countless lives through her tireless pursuit to improve mental health support for thousands of students in the Greater New Orleans community,” said JFS Executive Director Roselle Ungar.

The program’s suicide prevention curriculum is conducted free of charge in approximately 40 public, private, parochial and charter schools per year; serving a diverse population of youth ages 12 to 18. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 2,704 students and 320 gatekeepers — adult, faculty, mental health professionals and parents — participated in TLC. Hundreds of students sought help for themselves or others.

Wainer recruits and trains the volunteers who serve as educators and ensures that participating schools have adequate mental health professionals available.

A portion of the proceeds raised at this year’s Gala will directly support the TLC program.

The jazz dinner program will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are $125, or $75 for young professionals age 35 and under. A patron party will begin at 5 p.m. Patron levels start at $250.

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the JFS office.