ADOPTED: D’Angelo, Mackezie, Paisley, and Declan

ADOPTED: D’Angelo, Mackezie, Paisley, and Declan

MATCHED: D’Angelo, Mackenzie, Paisley, and Declan We started our adoption journey three years ago, in 2017. We had always talked about growing our family through adoption, as Andrea is a breast cancer survivor and due to medication, we would not be able to have biological children. We started our journey by viewing the Heart Galleries for the counties closest to us and attended an adoption orientation in our county of Hillsborough.  We worked with an adoption specialist who pointed out a pair of siblings on the Pinellas & Pasco Heart Gallery site and asked if we would be interested in meeting them. We met them and were very excited to move forward as a potential match.  Unfortunately, after we met the boys, the foster parents changed their minds and decided they wanted to adopt the boys. We were crushed but believed our kids were still out there waiting for us.  Months later and after another failed match, we finally met our kiddos. We met D’Angelo, Mackenzie, and Paisley at Largo Park in August of 2020. When we got in the car after the visit, we looked at each other and knew we were going to adopt these children. On the day of our disclosure and match meeting, we were told that the biological mom had recently delivered another baby who was in the NICU at All Children’s Hospital. A few weeks later we received a phone call from the case manager letting us know the baby was being discharged from the hospital and would go to the same foster home as his three siblings. She also asked if we...
Gulf Coast JFCS Announces Record Growth and Appointment of Additional Agency Leaders

Gulf Coast JFCS Announces Record Growth and Appointment of Additional Agency Leaders

Gulf Coast JFCS Announces Record Growth and Appointment of Additional Agency Leaders (CLEARWATER, FL – October 13, 2022) – Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (Gulf Coast JFCS) has significantly increased their service reach in three years from a $35 million budget in 2019 to more than $50 million in 2022 and announces a growing senior leadership team as the social services non-profit extends their capacity to serve Floridians in need.  Dr. Eliza McCall-Horne has been appointed to the newly established role of Senior Vice President. Melanie Brady has been promoted to the newly established role of Vice President for Child and Family Services. Nicole Guincho has been promoted to the newly established role of Vice President for Clinical Services. “Dr. McCall-Horne, Melanie and Nicole will join the outstanding leadership team in place at Gulf Coast JFCS as we work to strengthen our capacity to mentor and coach new, front-line leaders who will be ready to take on greater roles resulting from our dramatic growth” says president and CEO, Dr. Sandra Braham. “I am very excited to welcome these proven leaders to the agency and their new roles.” Dr. Eliza McCall-Horne joins Gulf Coast JFCS with over two decades of social services experience, including more than 16 years in executive leadership. Her past role included managing an $87 million budget as the Executive Director of Eckerd Connects. A child welfare expert, Eliza’s leadership has resulted in successfully establishing community programs, effective relationships, and agency partnerships. She is known for her comprehensive community outreach, leadership, and budget oversight. Prior to joining Eckerd Connects, she served as Executive Director for...
Gulf Coast JFCS Announces Record Growth and Appointment of Additional Agency Leaders

Reparations and Support of Local Holocaust Survivors Expanding

Reparations and Support of Local Holocaust Survivors Expanding (CLEARWATER, FL – August 12, 2022) – Gulf Coast JFCS is now able to provide increased service and support to Holocaust survivors residing in Greater Tampa Bay thanks to an expanded definition of what it means to be a Holocaust survivor and growing philanthropic support. The Greater Tampa Bay area is home to Holocaust survivor community with more survivors coming to us for services each year.  Due to reparations efforts, eligibility for Holocaust survivor services has expanded beyond those who spent time in a concentration camp, forced/slave labor camp, ghetto or who were compelled to flee the Nazis and became refugees.  This, alongside increased needs in this aging population, has prompted many survivors who previously did not seek compensation to now do so.  Currently serving nearly 250 survivors, Gulf Coast JFCS can now provide increased service and support to the region’s survivors through their partnership with the Claims Conference, an international organization established following World War II to advocate for and facilitate reparations. New reparations opportunities include Increased income and asset eligibility levels; supplemental hardship payments; region-specific pensions (not for current Article 2 recipients) for those impacted by the Siege of Leningrad, Axis-occupied Romania, or who spent 3 months hiding in France; payments for the spouse of a deceased Article 2 Holocaust survivor, which the recipient does NOT need to be a survivor. In addition to resources provided by Gulf Coast JFCS through funding by the Claims Conference, other assistance is available through Gulf Coast JFCS for needs such as dental care, medications, home repairs, etc. For local free support including...
Gulf Coast JFCS Announces Record Growth and Appointment of Additional Agency Leaders

Gulf Coast JFCS Announces the Appointment of New Board Members

Gulf Coast JFCS Announces the Appointment of New Board Members (CLEARWATER, FL – August 3, 2022) – Gulf Coast JFCS announces the appointment of 5 new members to its Board of Directors. Gary Flowers, Chief Information Officer of Year Up Tech & Enterprise Operations, brings over 27 years of expertise in HR and non-profit consulting. Kimberly Griffie Jackson, Executive Director at the Institute of Strategic Policy Solutions, brings 15+ years of experience in educational programming and fundraising dedicated to family health and development, mental health, housing in-equity and overall lack of resources. Rick Kriseman, Executive Vice President and Principal of the U.S. Cities Practice for Shumaker Advisors Florida and former two-term Mayor of St. Petersburg, brings decades of servant leadership and understanding of local community needs to his engagement on the Gulf Coast JFCS Board of Directors. Ted Newman, Compliance Consultant and recently Vice President of Compliance Systems Management for Raymond James Financial, brings extensive knowledge of management and technology compliance. Andrew Zacherl, retired USSOCOM Branch Chief of Psychological Operations and incoming Commercial Litigation Associate at Dinsmore & Shohl, has decades of service experience including over 100 hours of pro bono service with Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Assistance Program (VITA) and providing direct support to refugees and victims of natural disasters. “We are thrilled to welcome such a distinguished and diverse group of leaders to support our work through Board service” says president and CEO, Dr. Sandra Braham. “Each brings unique talents and skills which build on those present among Board members who continue to serve.” Welcoming the new board members are this year’s slate of officers: Board Chair...
CALL Program, Gulf Coast JFCS Awarded for Commitment to Racial Equity & Inclusion

CALL Program, Gulf Coast JFCS Awarded for Commitment to Racial Equity & Inclusion

CALL Program honored for Commitment to Racial Equity The Community Action and Life Liaison program, a partnership with the St. Petersburg Police Department, was recognized for its impact as they continue to strengthen communities and uplift lives building power within communities that have been historically overlooked and purposefully disadvantaged due to racism. Full press release: Tampa Bay Rays 2022 Racial Equity Grant...
Community Hero Award

Community Hero Award

Terri Balliet honored as the 490th Lightning Community Hero The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Terri Balliet as the 490th Community Hero during the first period of their April 21st game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Balliet, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil, will donate the money to Gulf Coast Jewish & Family Services (JFCS). Full press release: Terri Balliet honored as Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Elizabeth Samuelson, Board Vice Chair; Sandra Braham, President and CEO; Terri Balliet, Chief Operating Officer; and David Pilkington, Board Treasurer Elizabeth Samuelson, Board Vice Chair; Tess Benham, Grants Manager; Sandra Braham, President and CEO; Terri Balliet, Chief Operating Officer Lightning Foundation Award CALL Team Receiving...
Gulf Coast JFCS Announces Record Growth and Appointment of Additional Agency Leaders

Ready to Assist Ukrainian Refugees

Gulf Coast JFCS Stands Ready to Assist Ukrainian Refugees (CLEARWATER, FL – February 28, 2022) — In response to the crisis in Ukraine, Gulf Coast JFCS stands ready to assist with the anticipated influx of Ukrainian Refugees to the Tampa Bay region.    For nearly 40 years, Gulf Coast JFCS has resettled Refugees from countries across the globe, including Ukraine, fleeing war and persecution.  Most recently, the organization resettled hundreds of Afghan Refugees to the Tampa Bay region, assisting them with temporary housing, childcare, schools, jobs, and overall cultural integration. These same resources and support will be provided to Ukrainian Refugees designated to Gulf Coast JFCS to assist. “Gulf Coast JFCS Refugee Services Division remains steadfast in our commitment to “welcome the stranger” by assisting Ukrainians fleeing the bloodshed in their homeland and connecting these Refugees with their families in Tampa Bay.” States Elke Cumming, Vice President of Programs and Administration, Gulf Coast JFCS. Gulf Coast JFCS partners with HIAS and the United States Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to assist individuals and families with Refugee status from all over the world to resettle successfully and safely. It is still too early to predict how many Ukrainian Refugees may be resettled in Tampa Bay.  However, given the estimated million people fleeing Ukraine to neighboring countries, it is highly likely Gulf Coast JFCS, and our community will soon be receiving the request for help.   Previously, approximately 100 Refugees from Ukraine were resettled by Gulf Coast JFCS. Refugee assistance provided by Gulf Coast JFCS exemplifies the Jewish value of “welcoming the stranger” from which the organization was founded nearly fifty years ago....
Local Heroes To Be Honored by Gulf Coast JFCS

Local Heroes To Be Honored by Gulf Coast JFCS

Local Heroes To Be Honored by Gulf Coast JFCS (CLEARWATER, FL – Friday, February 25, 2022) – Gulf Coast JFCS is honoring Chief Anthony Holloway and William and Sally Israel on Thursday, March 31 at the upcoming annual FACES of Inspiration celebration. This annual event is being Thursday, March 31st, at the Hilton Carillon Park in St. Petersburg. FACES of Inspiration recognizes individuals who overcome hardships and find the ability to thrive within our communities. Anthony Holloway will receive this year’s Gulf Coast JFCS Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of a lifetime of commitment to community and behavioral health support. A trustee emeritus of Gulf Coast JFCS, Chief Holloway has dedicated his career to strengthening community relationships and communication and overall to innovation in more than policing, especially relating to responding to behavioral health-related intervention. Nearly a decade ago, Chief Holloway initiated requirements for all St. Petersburg Police Department Officers to become proficient in Trauma-Informed Care practices to prepare officers for more effective response to these types of crises calls. More recently, Chief Holloway’s focus on behavioral health and dedication to building community ties took center stage both locally and internationally with the innovation of the Community Assistance and Life Liaison (CALL) program. The CALL program is one of the first in the nation to dedicate resources to community policing partnerships, by partnering with Gulf Coast JFCS to provide social services to non-emergency and non-violent service calls. Now in it’s second year, the mental health professionals of the CALL program have responded to more than 4,000 calls for service such as substance abuse, behavioral health crisis, and suicide intervention,...
Balliet, Gulf Coast JFCS COO, Named Board Chair of Children’s Advocacy Group

Balliet, Gulf Coast JFCS COO, Named Board Chair of Children’s Advocacy Group

Gulf Coast JFCS COO Named Board Chair of Children’s Advocacy Group Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (Gulf Coast JFCS) announces the appointment of Terri Balliet, Gulf Coast JFCS Chief Operating Officer, as Board Chair of the Children’s Advocacy Group, Florida Coalition of Children. Advocating on behalf of Florida’s abused, abandoned, neglected, and at-risk children, and to support the agencies and individuals who work on their behalf, the mission of the FCC, is at the core of Balliet’s leadership expertise.  “I am very humbled and honored to take on such an important role and work alongside such amazing colleagues across the state. The timing is divine intervention given the much-needed advocacy necessary during the current state of our Child Welfare System workforce and funding opportunities” says Balliet.” Florida Coalition for Children member agencies, including Gulf Coast JFCs, collectively care for over 50,000 children and families in crisis each year, providing critical services and programs to this vulnerable population throughout the state. Some of these services include residential and group home care, emergency shelters, residential treatment centers, counseling, foster family services, adoption services, early intervention and prevention programs, and various in-home support services. Balliet has devoted two decades of her leadership toward the growth and vitality of Gulf Coast JFCS. Having worked her way up the ranks from Case Management Supervisor in 2004 to COO in 2014, Ms. Balliet oversees state-wide operations for over 20 Gulf Coast JFCS Child Welfare, Behavioral Health, and Elder and Disabled Services programs and a multimillion-dollar budget. She also holds oversight for Grant and Information Technology operations. Ms. Balliet’s core strengths include her ability...
TampaBay-Job-Links Joins Gulf Coast JFCS

TampaBay-Job-Links Joins Gulf Coast JFCS

TampaBay-Job-Links Joins Gulf Coast JFCS  Gulf Coast JFCS is pleased to announce the addition of TampaBay-Job-Links (TBJL) to its comprehensive portfolio of programs.  TBJL empowers and equips people with relevant job search and career transition skills to help them gain viable employment to sustain themselves and their families.  This successful program has already assisted more than 1,400 individuals and further enhances Gulf Coast JFCS’s existing workforce development programs, including those meeting the needs of non-custodial parents and refugees assimilating into our community. TBJL was founded in 2010 as a grassroots initiative of the Tampa Jewish community in response to the Great Recession. TBJL services were made available to all people in need. TBJL clients include, but are not limited to, individuals facing mid-career job loss, parents returning to the workforce after a hiatus, military veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce, and seniors financially unable to retire. “TampaBay-Job-Links is proudly celebrating a decade of helping the unemployed in our community get back to work.  We build self-esteem and give individuals the guidance and tools they need to re-enter the workforce with confidence and dignity,” said Andi Jacobs, TBJL Chairperson.  “We are excited about our affiliation with Gulf Coast JFCS and the opportunity to help many more people in the decade ahead,” Jacobs said. “Gulf Coast JFCS exists to uplift lives for all people, from babies to seniors, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender identity,’ states Dr. Sandra E. Braham, President and CEO of Gulf Coast JFCS.  “TampaBay-Job-Links is perfectly aligned with the Jewish values upon which Gulf Coast JFCS was founded nearly half a century ago, including tzedakah or justice. ...