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West Hartford Resident Barbara Roth Receives Humanitarian Award

From left: Anne Danaher, Executive Director, Jewish Family Services; Michael Cohen, President of the Board, Jewish Family Services; Barbara Roth, Founder of Tara’s Closet; and Pia Rosenberg Toro, 2nd Vice President of the Board, Jewish Family Services. Submitted photo

Jewish Family Services presented the founder of Tara’s Closet, West Hartford resident Barbara Roth, with the organization’s first Humanitarian Award.

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West Hartford resident Barbara Roth was recently honored by Jewish Family Services with a first-ever Humanitarian Award.

In 2016, Barbara Roth and Jewish Family Services (JFS) launched Tara’s Closet, a local initiative to help those coping with mental illness inspired by Roth’s daughter Tara Savin, who lost her life to bi-polar disorder. The initiative has a dual mission: to provide clothing to JFS clients in a confidential and dignified manner, and to raise funds to spread awareness about mental illness and the related help provided by JFS.

Tara Savin grew up in West Hartford and attended the Kingswood Oxford School. She graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with a BA in International Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies, and stayed on to earn a master’s degree in Mass Communications. After working at Town & Country Magazine in Manhattan, she completed her Master of Social Work degree at Fordham University and returned to Hartford in 2010 for an internship with Jewish Family Services of Greater Hartford (JFS).  That year, Tara lost her battle with bi-polar disorder when she was only 38 years old.

Tara’s Closet is a program that brings together Savin’s two greatest passions. “Tara was a great humanitarian and she also loved fashion,” said Barbara Roth.

“It is through the power of compassion, community support and educational opportunities that we can elevate the conversation about mental health, and show our commitment to ensure those who need help have access to the support, acceptance, and resources they deserve,” said Roth. “Mental health is as important as physical health and deserves the same level of attention and support. We must change the perception of mental illness and create transparency, acceptance and understanding,” she continued.

“Jewish Family Services is fortunate to work with courageous individuals like Barbara Roth, who created this initiative which will now benefit the entire  Greater Hartford community,” said Anne Danaher, JFS executive director. “We proud to present this award to Barbara. Her leadership, generosity, and dedication to Jewish Family Services  and our new program Tara’s Closet exemplifies what it truly mean to embrace possibility,” added Danaher. 

Tara’s Closet is open seasonally by appointment and staffed by volunteers who will help JFS clients choose items for themselves and their families. Contact Patti Weiner at 860-236-1927 x7129 to make an appointment. To make a monetary contribution to Tara’s Closet, you may donate online at www.jfshartford.org.

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