Becoming a parent is a transformative and exciting time with lots in store. Having good support along the way is essential to overcoming the challenges something so new can bring. The Marks JCH initiative is aimed at providing supportive, nurturing and focused care to brand new families during the sensitive prenatal and postpartum stages of parenthood. Adoptive families, queer families and families of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate in our programs!

The program will offer a variety of workshops and in-home services for new families including but not limited to:

  • Access to expert consultants including social workers, lactation specialists, childbirth educators, clinicians and doulas
  • Reduction of isolation through new parent and infant groups and peer support workshops
  • New parent resources and supportive interventions such as breastfeeding classes, infant movement, and development classes, postpartum mental health resources, prenatal swim and more
  • Jewish family engagement opportunities for families with infants



Laurey Dachs


Laurey has been a therapist specializing in depression and anxiety for six years, all at the same time as starting her own family and raising her two daughters. Her personal experiences have lent her a degree of empathy and understanding for the circumstances which confront new mothers today. She has turned her clinical eye towards the treatment of women and their partners who have had difficulty adapting to maternal life. Her Bachelor’s degree is in psychology and her Master’s in Social Work. She continues to develop her practice and stay current through continuing education.

Yana Shenker, LCSW professional photograph

Yana Shenker


Yana received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University in 2012. Since then, she has worked with adults, adolescents, and children, specializing in depression, anxiety disorders, and childhood development. 


Rebecca Koyf


Rebecca’s breastfeeding struggles with her three children made her pursue this field. She has a degree in Accounting, and worked as an Auditor for NYC Comptroller’s Office for 8 years. It took the persuasion of a loving friend and 4 years of study and training to finally follow her passion in lactation. She takes great care to accomplish her goals of assisting parents in their breastfeeding journey in a nurturing and compassionate manner. She believes that wanting to breastfeed your baby is natural, but doing it, as she learned for herself, doesn’t always come easy.


Darlene Martinez

Postpartum Doula

Being raised in Canarsie Brooklyn with quite the collection of family around, Darlene was able to witness firsthand how important a strong support system was during postpartum. As she has entered into her postpartum doula role, she has become more passionate about supporting her community along with providing families with a gentle non-judgmental voice to help them along those first bumpy stages of parenthood.


Jenny Block

Postpartum Doula

Jenny strives to create a calm, nourishing and fun environment for new families. She believes such support will certainly help the birthing person tune in to their inner voice, so that they feel confident that they know exactly what their baby and body are asking of them. She journeyed onto the doula path following the birth of her own daughter in 2017. Her training with Carriage House Birth and mentorship with Birdsong Brooklyn has given her an incredible start in this field, and she is continuously and eagerly furthering her studies and skills.

Donna pediatric physical therapist

Donna Kleyman


Donna Kleyman, a licensed pediatric Doctor of Physical Therapy, strongly considers play to be essential in better bonding with your baby. Donna hopes to inspire purposeful play by sharing her strategies on setting up space, using developmentally appropriate toys, and sensory rich experiences. Donna believes that parenting can be fun, especially if you know how to play.


Laura Vladimirova

Laura Vladimirova

WOMEN’s Center Coordinator

Laura started her journey into reproductive and women’s health support work by becoming a doula and lactation counselor. After working for years in childbirth and witnessing the births of many babies and new families, she wanted to do more. She went back to school to obtain her Master’s of Social Work and began her work with the JCH to create viable and dynamic programming for the women of South Brooklyn, where she grew up.

Violetta leadership team photo

Violetta Shmulenzon

Assistant Executive Director

Violetta serves as the Assistant Executive Director, Resource Development and Strategic Initiatives at the Marks JCH. A native New Yorker, her family is originally from Odessa, Ukraine. Violetta rose from a counselor to a madricha and later director of camping and leadership development at the JCH, having the opportunity to develop multi-faceted initiatives to meet the evolving needs of the RSJ community of NY. Violetta also served as the Program Director for Overseas Experiences on the JDC Entwine team overseeing hundreds of college students and young professionals in learning about the global Jewish world prior to returning to the Marks JCH over five years ago to serve as the Chief Program Officer where she launched the burgeoning Women’s Center of the JCH. Violetta holds an MSW from Columbia University and is currently a Wexner Field Fellow.




There are no upcoming events at this time.


Laura Vladimirova
Women’s Center Coordinator