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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 © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

April 20, 2018  RSS feed
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Text: T T T

JWI chapter donates library for children at abuse shelter


A portion of the new library at the CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) shelter in south Pinellas County. 
Photo courtesy of CASA A portion of the new library at the CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) shelter in south Pinellas County. Photo courtesy of CASA Members of the Clearwater Chapter of Jewish Women International (JWI), recently donated a new children’s library at CASA, (Community Action Stops Abuse), south Pinellas County’s domestic abuse shelter.

The library at CASA is the 68th to open as part of the JWI National Library Initiative and the third one to open in Florida. The other two in the state are in Naples and Miami.

The national goal is to establish 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the country in conjunction with JWI’s mission to end domestic and sexual violence against women and girls.

The library initiative puts the children front and center by providing a sanctuary where each child can find the comfort that only a good book and a safe place can provide.

“Kids escaping volatile and dangerous homes are at high risk of falling behind grade level at school,” said CASA’s CEO Lariana Forsythe. “That is why JWI’s children’s library at CASA’s emergency shelter is so important. It will provide key learning resources to the 50-60 kids staying at our shelter each night. Integrated with our other programs for children and their guardians, it will be a critical resource helping families break the generational cycle of violence.”


Members of the JWI Clearwater Chapter along with national JWI Board Chair Vivian Bass and leaders from CASA at the library dedication. Deena Silver, (second from left front) local JWI library chair and a JWI national trustee, is holding a painting done by children living at CASA with empowering quotes from their favorite authors. Members of the JWI Clearwater Chapter along with national JWI Board Chair Vivian Bass and leaders from CASA at the library dedication. Deena Silver, (second from left front) local JWI library chair and a JWI national trustee, is holding a painting done by children living at CASA with empowering quotes from their favorite authors. The money to completely furnish the CASA library and stock the shelves was raised primarily by the members of the JWI Clearwater Chapter.

“It was truly a dream come true. As a National Board of Trustees member, I had heard about the libraries and when CASA announced their new facility, I asked the Clearwater Chapter to sponsor a library there. The members enthusiastically agreed,” said Deena Silver, who also serves as the local library chair.

“Most of the libraries have been built by corporate sponsors so we are very proud that the women of the local chapter had various fundraising projects during the past two and a half years to raise most of the necessary $25,000,” Silver said. The fundraising events included a theater party, vendor boutiques, bingo nights, and a fashion show. The remaining balance was raised through personal gifts from members and donations from charitable foundations and families, she said.

Vivian Bass, chair of the JWI board of trustees, came from Washington, D.C. to participate in the dedication ceremony with CASA executives, local dignitaries and local JWI members. A luncheon reception followed the dedication and was hosted by Bass.

St. Petersburg’s Chief of Police Anthony Holloway also participated in the April 9 ceremony and stressed the importance of CASA and projects like the JWI libraries to help break the cycle of family violence.

Founded in 1977, CASA operates the area’s 24-hour hotline and emergency shelter; non-residential programs, such as support groups, economic empowerment and legal advocacy; Child Protection Investigative Team support; community and corporate training; and the CASA Peacemakers anti-bullying and healthy relationship school curriculum.

JWI is a Steering Committee member of NO MORE and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.

For more information on the local JWI, contact Silver at dsilvervol@gmail.com.


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