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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


February 23, 2018  RSS feed
Social Services

Text: T T T

Gulf Coast receives funds for Holocaust survivor care

Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services has been awarded a grant from the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) through the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care.

When combined with matching funds, this award will enable $42,500 in new programming for survivors. This is the second year of this grant, for a combined total of $127,500 in trauma-informed care training for those working with survivors.

“Support intended to help survivors may actually trigger memories of Holocaust horrors. A simple thing like trying to encourage a client to throw away moldy food could evoke memories of the severe hunger. People often assume that over time, trauma fades away, but survivors actually tend to be more easily triggered as they age, especially with an increasing lack of control over their bodies and their lives,” said Dr. Sandra Braham, Gulf Coast JFCS CEO.

With this grant, Gulf Coast’s Holocaust Survivor Program staff created a special training program for homecare workers in providing trauma-informed care to Holocaust survivors. Although caregivers are trained to meet the needs of elderly clients, many do not understand the unique trauma many Holocaust survivors endured.

This is the second year of the program, and administrators of homecare agencies have been enthusiastic about incorporating cultural competency into their policies, procedures and training requirements. Gulf Coast also reports that thus far, the training outcomes have been significant in increasing knowledge of the Holocaust and understanding trauma.

Gulf Coast’s Holocaust Survivor program serves Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

JFNA launched the survivor care center in 2015, following an award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for up to $12 million over five years to advance innovations in what is known as “person-centered, trauma-informed services” for Holocaust survivors in the United States. This is a holistic approach to providing service that promotes the dignity, strength, and empowerment of trauma victims by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims’ lives into agency programs, policies and procedures.

Of the more than 100,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, nearly one-quarter are age 85 or older, and one in four lives in poverty. Many live alone and are at risk for social isolation, depression, and other physical and mental health conditions stemming from periods of starvation, disease, and torture.

“It is critical that we deliver these lifesaving and life-enhancing services to Holocaust survivors. The past two years of this federal grant program have shown the deep impact that person-centered, trauma-informed services can have on Holocaust survivors. We are grateful to partner with the government to augment this work,” said Mark Wilf, chair of JFNA’s National Holocaust Survivor Initiative.

The grant money is a combination of federal dollars and philanthropic dollars raised by Jewish Federations as part of JFNA’s National Holocaust Survivor Initiative, which has raised $45 million to support the survivor community.

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