About 500 people gathered April 1 to celebrate the century of hope that Jewish Family & Community Services has provided to hundreds of thousands of local individuals and families in need. The celebration at Everbank Field’s US Assure Club West also highlighted exciting things to come.
“We offer such a wide variety of meaningful services to the community,” said Colleen Rodriguez, executive director of JFCS. “Yet everything we do is designed to provide hope to those struggling and to empower people to help themselves.”
Rodriquez reflected on several ways JFCS has helped the community during the last one hundred years. The hope and empowerment she spoke about was most evident when two former clients who are sisters, Faatimah and Danielle, took the stage. JFCS staff members managed their children’s foster care cases and worked diligently with the women who were willing to do whatever it took for reunification. After the sisters completed rehabilitation programs, the JFCS team helped them develop coping skills through the agency’s mental health counseling program and provided emergency financial assistance so they could firmly establish their households. Faatimah was recently successfully reunited with her daughter, and Danielle is also on course to be reunited with her son soon.
The viewing of a retrospective documentary about JFCS provided another touching moment at the event. The film was produced by board member Mike Katz and George Ameer, senior manager of International Media for the PGA Tour. JFCS leadership also honored two JFCS leaders who had recently passed away – former JFCS Executive Director Iris Young, who had dedicated 38 years to helping the organization, and Hal Resnick, who was a vital member of the JFCS Executive Board from 2008-2016, recently serving as president.
The event was not only about celebrating the past, but also about the nonprofit’s future. Board President Jodie Leach thanked attendees for their support of JFCS’s ongoing capital campaign. Leach also gave attendees a sneak peek at the year-long community celebration of the agency’s 100th anniversary, encouraging people to get involved. These events include:
- A grand opening and ribbon cutting at the new 30,000-square-foot Alan J. Taffet Building on Baycenter Road
- The dedication of the first and only Holocaust memorial gallery between Orlando and Atlanta, named after the Frisch family
- A family festival at the unveiling of the renovations at JFCS’s existing building on DuPont Station Court, which will be renamed the Allison Stein Robbin Building and house the new Max Block Food Pantry
- A JFCS-branded volunteer event designed to make a positive impact in the community