Local program helps assist hundreds of Holocaust survivors in the Tampa Bay area (ABC Action News)

Local program helps assist hundreds of Holocaust survivors in the Tampa Bay area (ABC Action News)

Posted at 3:24 PM, Apr 11, 2024 and last updated 5:34 PM, Apr 11, 2024 By: Lauren St. Germain (ABC Action News – copied Apr 11, 2024 from https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/an… TAMPA, Fla. — The Holocaust Survivor Program through the Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) supports nearly 300 Holocaust survivors in the greater Tampa Bay area. According to the Gulf Coast JFCS, more than 30 percent of these survivors live in poverty, so programs like these are crucial. “The war started when I was three months old. What I know, my parents told me,” said Sofia Davidovich, a Holocaust survivor. She spoke about what she remembers about the 1940s in Eastern Europe. “They [my parents] didn’t like to give us bad memories. They didn’t tell us a lot,” said Davidovich. She continued, “We were refugees in Kazan. After the war, we were starving a lot, but year by year a little bit better.” She said she moved from Russia to Florida in 1996. “I start a new life. I didn’t know the language,” said Davidovich. Marlene Wain is the director of the Holocaust Survivor Program with Gulf Coast JFCS. “The program is designed to help survivors of the Holocaust to live out their days in dignity and respect and peace,” said Wain. The program helps with everything from transportation to emergency assistance for bills. “A lot of these situations, if I didn’t have them, I don’t know how I would survive,” said Davidovich. “Today, the event that you are here at is part of what we do. It’s the socialization aspect of our program, and this is probably...
Overdose Prevention is Local

Overdose Prevention is Local

ABC Action News WFTS Airdate 3.21.2024 by Wendy Ryan Several groups in Pinellas County are working to cut down the number of overdose deaths in our region. Our cameras were there this afternoon to capture the free training sessions focusing on fentanyl. Several local organizations, along with the health department hanged out, handed out overdose prevention kits, and shared how to save a life. “Everyone should have these kits,” says Jennifer Webb, Gulf Coast JFCS board member. “Two out of every three families in the United States are impacted by the overdose crisis in our country. The Quick Response Team at Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services offers these Naloxone leave behind kits for free. Learn more at...
A Smile From the Congo

A Smile From the Congo

Posted at 8:03 AM, Apr 05, 2024 and last updated 6:52 PM, Apr 05, 2024 By: Michael Paluska (ABC Action News – copied Apr 8.2024 from https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/re…) TAMPA, Fla. — The politics of immigration can be a polarizing topic in our country. But, there are powerful and positive stories, often overlooked, about refugees paving a path for themselves and others. We sat down with one man who escaped persecution and war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to become one of the most admired and skilled employees at AquaCal Autopilot. “Everybody teaches me what they do, so I like it here,” Mumbere said. “Being hardworking, I learned that everybody around you wants to smile. Everybody around you needs to hear positive things. You don’t have just to work. But you have to be a light. You have to bring the, you know, like the heat. For somebody who is cold, you have to give them a sweater. The sweater is like the smile.” “He’s a beast,” said Gerson Martinez, Production Engineering Manager for AquaCal Autopilot. “I think the biggest thing is that he always has an incredible attitude. He comes in here every day with a smile on his face. He is ready to work, and he just brings others up. I didn’t know the story to begin with, but I learned later on, which makes it even more amazing.” Mumbere’s story in America began in 2019, but how he got here is a tale of fear, survival, pain and loss. “In Congo, it was tough because you don’t know if you will wake up. You don’t know...
Gulf Coast JFCS is a 2024 Top Workplace

Gulf Coast JFCS is a 2024 Top Workplace

Gulf Coast JFCS named Top Workplace by Tampa By Times and Energage Celebrating our tremendous and dedicated workforce, Gulf Coast JFCS has been recognized as a “2024 Top Workplace” by the Tampa Bay Times. While our work has evolved over the years, our core values remain unchanged.  Caring for all people in need regardless of race or religion is as essential today as ever,  and it has been the mission of Gulf Coast JFCS for 50 years! We’re providing compassionate and essential human services by serving people in need, from babies to seniors. Dedicated to creating a stronger, more resilient community, Gulf Coast JFCS is more than just an organization – we’re your community champions.  This recognition is a testament to our workforce as it demonstrates their courage and commitment to transparency, living our mission, uplifting lives, and caring for each other every day.  Being named a Top Workplace is a true honor, especially because the judges were our employees themselves!  This list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage LLC. The confidential survey uniquely measures the employee experience and its component themes, including employees feeling Respected & Supported, Enabled to Grow, and Empowered to Execute, to name a few. “Earning a Top Workplaces award is a badge of honor for companies, especially because it comes authentically from their employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “That’s something to be proud of. In today’s market, leaders must ensure they’re allowing employees to have a voice and be heard. That’s paramount. Top Workplaces do this, and it pays dividends.” “Being recognized...
Margie Rothman Green Honored As Lightning Community Hero

Margie Rothman Green Honored As Lightning Community Hero

Margie Rothman Green honored as Lightning Community Hero Margie Rothman Green was honored as Lightning Community Hero on December 21st at the Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Vegas Golden Knights. In recognition of becoming a Lightning Hero, Green was awarded a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation, Community Heroes program, presented by Jabil.  Margie is donating this award to Gulf Coast JFCS for a very special purpose- the establishment of the Children First Innovation Fund, dedicated to reducing the time foster children wait to be adopted into their forever families.  Margie and her family have been champions for improving life for all children for more than three decades through their family foundation, the Maurice A. & Thelma P. Rothman Family Foundation, for which she serves as Executive Director.  “Our mother had a place in her heart for our foster children and our families wanting to adopt.” Over the years, thousands of children have benefitted from this compassionate caring in big and other priceless ways from helping all children live in safer, healthier homes and foster children finding adoptive families to providing school backpacks, and toys or gifts during the holidays.  The Gulf Coast JFCS Children First Innovation Fund is focused on lessening the obstacles to helping children in foster care find their ‘forever family.’  Funds will be used to increase access to ma adoption competent therapy, court-ordered for most foster children, and to reduce burnout and decrease turnover of child welfare case managers which industry wide approaches 70% annual turnover.  Each time a case manager turns over, the assigned child’s progress toward adoption is delayed an average of...
Lifetime Achievement Award – Julie & Scott Klavans

Lifetime Achievement Award – Julie & Scott Klavans

Humble, dedicated, and “all in” describes Julie and Scott Klavans when they have identified a community need to champion. For Julie and Scott, their “why” is simple and rooted in the Jewish values of tzedakah and tikkun olam, helping others in need, and repairing and healing the world. Julie’s passion begins with children. She knows that we can change our future and world for the better, one child at a time. Her love for children led to her service as a Guardian ad litem for the past 12 years, and drew her to serve in committee and Board leadership roles at Shorecrest Preparatory School. When she focused on children’s needs for a safe home and supportive services, Julie joined the Boards of Habitat for Humanity and Gulf Coast JFCS. Julie also put her professional skills as a CPA to good use and she has supported organizations’ financial success and sustainability. Her fingerprint has benefited almost every aspect of Gulf Coast JFCS, from her decade-long service on the Board of Directors where she served numerous leadership roles including Board Chair, the CEO Search Committee, Development and Finance Committees, and founding Board member of Gulf Coast Cares, the endowment organization for Gulf Coast JFCS. Though her business acumen was put to good use, Julie continued her passion for helping children through her involvement with the Heart Gallery adoption program, Teen Parent Engagement program, and Refugee Services. “Julie is an incredible partner for the nonprofit CEO who is blessed to work with her,” says Dr. Sandra Braham, President and CEO. “She’s a strategic thinker who understands the Board is the keeper and...
Susan Traub, Gulf Coast JFCS Volunteer, Honored with Lightning Community Hero Award

Susan Traub, Gulf Coast JFCS Volunteer, Honored with Lightning Community Hero Award

Susan Traub honored as the 538th Lightning Community Hero The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Susan Traub as the 538th Community Hero during the first period of their March 12th game against the Winnipeg Jets.  Traub, 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). Traub was born shortly after World War II in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her maternal grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, and her parents were refugees who managed to flee the horrors of Nazi Germany. This family history has had a profound impact on Traub, who has discovered her love of helping people, particularly young children. This led to her volunteering with immigrants and refugees, tutoring English as a Second Language and helping families settle into their new homes. She also played an integral role in helping those who fled Afghanistan in 2021. Her commitment has helped numerous families fleeing their home countries find safety and a new home in Florida.   The grant will be used to support the mission of Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. Specifically, the funds will go toward their Refugee Services, which welcomes and helps refugees from around the world. Some of the programs offered include Reception and Placement, Intensive Case Management for Refugees with Special Needs, the Match Grant Refugee Employment Program, and the Refugee Micro-Enterprise Development Program, which promotes refugee women’s entrepreneurship and normalizes business ownership.  Full press release: Susan Traub honored as Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Susan Traub, Lightning Community Hero, Surrounded by Gulf Coast JFCS...
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....