Amy Flicker Jaffe ’80
“You’re challenged to ask questions, to disagree, to come together and strategize and brainstorm.”
Amy Flicker Jaffe learned from her parents that “there’s always room at the table” and Crossroads reinforced the idea of “doing for others.” Emboldened by this guiding principle, she decided to make a commitment to help kids others too often overlook.
Amy earned her bachelor’s in sociology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, then her master’s in social work at New York University. Twenty-eight years ago, she joined Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in LA, which provides services to foster youth, including residential treatment as well as a non-public K-12 day school for students with learning differences and emotional issues.
“It’s amazing how resilient our kids can be,” says Amy, who is now the organization’s senior vice president of Intensive Interventional Services and a psychotherapist in private practice.
The Flickers were a “pioneer” Crossroads family. Amy’s sister, Briar Flicker Grossman ’77, was in the first class to go from seventh through 12th grade. Amy started out in fifth grade at the Crossroads precursor, St. Augustine by-the-Sea, then joined Crossroads in seventh grade.
Even in its formative years, Crossroads had an abiding sense of community—"something you don’t find many places," says Amy—and gave students the chance to make real connections with teachers who had high expectations.
“At Crossroads, you learn how to think,” says Amy. “You’re challenged to ask questions, to disagree, to come together and strategize and brainstorm.” As a result, she felt well-prepared for college when others struggled to write papers and do research.
Many of her Crossroads teachers and their lessons have stuck with her, including the late Steve Morgan, whose oral book report assignments “forced me to get out of my comfort zone in speaking with people.” She recalls Arleen Weinstock making history “a living, breathing thing and so relevant; it wasn’t just textbook.”
At Crossroads, there is a care for students as human beings, says Amy, not ID numbers. “I’ve internalized that philosophy in working with the kids here at Vista Del Mar. We need to treat one another the way we want to be treated.”