Welcoming Afghan Refugees to Tampa Bay

Welcoming Afghan Refugees to Tampa Bay

Gulf Coast JFCS Welcoming Afghan Refugees to Tampa Bay As a continuation of our commitment to resettling Refugees fleeing their home countries due to persecution and violence, Gulf Coast is welcoming the arrival of Afghan refugees to our Tampa Bay community following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent mass evacuations of Afghan citizens. Gulf Coast JFCS Refugee assistance programs exemplify Jewish values including “welcoming the stranger” from which the organization was founded nearly fifty years ago. Prior to the Afghan emergency, demand for Gulf Coast JFCS Refugee Services was increasing rapidly due to the current Administration’s increase in the Refugee admissions ceiling. Through its’ Refugee Services, Gulf Coast JFCS provides comprehensive resources to support the successful integration of individuals and families, including airport reception, housing health screenings, community orientations, school admission, and assistance finding employment and child care. “Gulf Coast JFCS exists to uplift lives for all people, from babies to seniors, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, culture or gender identity. We are steadfast in our commitment to assist and equip refugees with the tools and resources to effectively assimilate, become self-sufficient and empowered to thrive in their new communities,” remarks Dr. Sandra Braham, President and CEO. “We anticipate assisting dozens of Afghan Refugees as well as hundreds more from other countries in the weeks and months ahead.” To respond to this increased demand for refugee resettlement services, Gulf Coast JFCS has launched a special Refugee Assistance Fund to direct philanthropic contributions to help refugees settle and find safety, comfort and happiness in their new communities. Contributions to this fund will help fill gaps in funding immediate...
Malachi

Malachi

Malachi G Age: 13 years oldECK-100827239Born January, 2008 Malachi is a kind, thoughtful 7th grader who loves football, basketball, and school. He’s on the honor roll, has a great sense of humor and loves to joke around and make things fun. An ideal day for Malachi would be to listen to Jazz music, go shopping, go to amusement parks and basically just enjoy the day. Malachi really likes to help others and largely because of that, he hopes to become a police officer one day to help even more people. Malachi would thrive with a Tampa family that would help him stay connected to his school, friends and therapeutic services.  Older siblings would be great as Malachi thrives on intellectual stimulation, which older siblings and a family would provide.  If you adopt Malachi, he will share jokes with you and engage in long chats about life, sports, food and anything else you want to chat about. Photos courtesy of Brandi Image...
Aaryn

Aaryn

Aaryn Age: 4 years oldBorn: November 2016LSF-105871888 Aaryn is a happy, strong-willed four-year-old who loves to be outdoors. She enjoys the water and playing on her iPad, and one of her favorite things is to watch Disney movies and sing along with her favorite characters. Her favorite movies are Moana and Frozen. A normal day for Aaryn involves waking up early for her medication and breakfast, then playing outside and getting some sunshine. Afterward, she comes in for lunch which requires special assistance, and then she is ready for a nap. After nap time, Aaryn is ready to play again. She likes to go on walks before dinner. Aaryn would thrive with a medically trained family that is loving, patient, and can keep an eye on her wandering, curious soul. Aaryn will take some time to warm up to you, but once she does, she shows her bright and sunny side. Photo Credit: Diana Joy...
Madison

Madison

MADISON T. Age: 13 years oldBorn: December, 2007LSF-103558349 Madison is an intelligent 7th grader who would love to be an artist when she grows up. Madison loves gym class at school and when she comes home, she enjoys sleeping, drawing or coloring, swimming, and riding her bike outside. For food, Madison loves munching on Italian pizza while watching football on TV, especially her Tampa Bay Bucs! If Madison had a superpower she would definitely want to be invisible. Her dreams include a pet dog, skydiving, and having a forever family to connect to. Madison believes that everyone should skydive at least once in their life (even though she hasn’t done so yet). People tell her that she has the most beautiful curls and she agrees. Madison’s ideal family would include a mom or two moms who love her for who she is and who can talk with her about anything and everything. Madison also dreams of having a family to share her art with. Photos compliments of Carol Walker/Thomas Bruce...
Alex

Alex

ALEX H. Age: 14 years oldBorn: November, 2006YFA-100320218 Alex is an active 8th grader whose favorite subject in school is math. After school, Alex likes to listen to rap or play basketball.  Alex loves to watch the Patriots play football. If he has his way, Alex will be a basketball player when he grows up. A favorite meal for Alex is pizza with extra cheese.  Alex is a confident kid with a big sense of humor, and one day he wants to make a million dollars. Alex is looking for a family that he can trust and who can inspire him to be the best he can be. He wants to have strong role models who he can look up to.  Excited about the prospect of being adopted, Alex is ready and eager to meet his forever family. And one more wish – a pet dog please.   Photo Credit: Brandi Image...
The Kashindi Family

The Kashindi Family

Binwa Kashindi was born in the midst of civil war within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a toddler, Binwa and her family, along with tens of thousands of others, escaped across the Congolese border. They found relative safety and stability in a United Nations Refugee Camp in the United Republic of Tanzania. The family expected to be able to return home, someday, when the violence ended. Until then, they must remain in refugee camps while seeking safe haven. Esther, age 2 (pictured), and Kashindi, age 6, were born to Binwa while residing in the refugee camp. The African Great Lakes region encompassing both the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and their bordering countries, remains embroiled in conflict, including physical mutilation, sexual violence, and killings. By the end of 2020, more than 715,000 Congolese refugees, mainly women and children like the Kashindi family, relied on the UNHCR. With the support of Gulf Coast JFCS, Binwa’s cousin Hussein, also a Congolese refugee, was already established in Tampa Bay. Hussein and his partner Sakina applied to welcome his extended family to his home joining his two children. Throughout their journey, this International Organization for Migration (I.O.M.) bag – with instructions on meeting her Gulf Coast JFCS case manager – never left Binwa’s side. Every refugee receives this bag from the I.O.M., to hold important documents. For 60 years, this iconic bag has represented refugee resettlement for Gulf Coast JFCS and nearly 200 other locations around the globe. The Kashindi family endured days of travel to find the safety of the family. Their journey was filled with new smells. New...
Community Hero Award

Community Hero Award

Bill & Sally Israel honored The Lightning honored Bill & Sally Israel as the 19th Community Heroes this season. See the press releases and videos below. Bill & Sally Israel Honored as Lightning Community Heros Video: Lightning Community Hero...
St. Pete City Council Unanimously Approves New Program Partnership

St. Pete City Council Unanimously Approves New Program Partnership

St. Petersburg City Council acted today to improve response to non-violent emergency calls by unanimously approving the launch and funding of a multi–year, $3 million pilot program named the Community Assistance and Life Liaison program (CALL). This is a Gulf Coast JFCS–led program in partnership with St. Petersburg Police Department and will begin immediately with a 9-month pilot with the option for an additional two-year renewal. Read the press release: St. Pete City Council Unanimously Approves New Program Partnership for a Safer St....
Three-year program helps bilingual students

Three-year program helps bilingual students

The students at Reddick Elementary School are taking part in a Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services program that provides tutoring and homework assistance, yoga, and behavior classes for kindergarten to third-grade bilingual students. VIDEO: Fox 13 News GAFA...
Gulf Coast JFCS Heart Gallery Angels in Adoption Honoree

Gulf Coast JFCS Heart Gallery Angels in Adoption Honoree

U.S. Representative Charlie Crist of the Florida Congressional Coalition Celebrates the Heart Gallery of Pasco and Pinellas as an Angels in Adoption® Honoree To Be Recognized at National Virtual Event in 2020.  Representative Charlie Crist will celebrate the Heart Gallery of Pasco and Pinellas, a program of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (Gulf Coast JFCS), as a 2020 Angels in Adoption® Honoree for their outstanding advocacy for child adoption Gulf Coast JFCS Heart Gallery Angels in Adoption...
Database Breach Announcement

Database Breach Announcement

Gulf Coast JFCS was recently informed of a data security breach of its’ cloud-based data management vendor, Blackbaud www.Blackbaud.com. Upon completing our own due diligence on this situation, our highest priority is to relay what we know to our friends and contributors. Database Breach...
Database Breach Announcement

Gulf Coast JFCS GAFA After-School Program

Gulf Coast JFCS’s Good Afternoon Friends & Amigos (GAFA) Program Uses Mindfulness, Yoga to Help Students “The program is just one of several programs we have to help children in Tampa Bay,” says Sandra Braham, CEO and president at Gulf Coast JFCS. The program was established to help needy families who face challenges such as food insecurity and housing but goes beyond that. “What’s different about this program is the focus on social and emotional learning including the incorporation of mindfulness and yoga principles, creating a holistic and unique approach to learning,” she said. Gulf Coast JFCS GAFA After-School...
Database Breach Announcement

Gulf Coast JFCS Announces New Leadership Appointments

Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services has announced three key appointments to its leadership staff. “These leadership changes strengthen Gulf Coast JFCS delivery of critical services to our community including enhancing outreach to assist the needs of underserved populations, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Dr. Sandra Braham, CEO. The organization provides services for child welfare, behavioral and mental health, Jewish Family Services and Holocaust survivors, refugee resettlement and support for survivors of torture, elder services and employment services. Throughout the state of Florida, Gulf Coast JFCS has provided help to 30,000 people in the past year alone. Gulf Coast JFCS Announces New Leadership...
Database Breach Announcement

Gulf Coast JFCS Announces New Board Members and Officers

“We are pleased to have a great group of volunteer leaders who have made a commitment to support our work and drive the strategic direction of the agency and its programs which serve more than 30,000 Floridians annually,” noted Dr. Sandra Braham, President and CEO of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. Board members will serve a three-year term ending in 2023. Gulf Coast JFCS Announces New Board Members and...
Database Breach Announcement

Coronavirus

We understand the growing concern surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) across our communities, and our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted. In response to the Executive Order set by Governor De Santis, Gulf Coast JFCS has activated it’s Emergency Response Team. We are following guidelines as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the State of Florida to determine the safest course of action for our clients, staff, and visitors. This situation continues to evolve quickly and we will monitor it closely....