Southwest FL – The Jewish Family and Children Service (JFCS) organization has programs to help different groups within the community, as we learned from Mr. Phil Gorelick, the JFCS VP of Programs.
Three programs are very much in need of mentors, and while only two specifically target veterans, they are found in all three programs. ‘Mentor for Success’ is a program that focuses on Sarasota County jail inmates, where inmates, some of them veterans, are paired with mentors to try to lower the 43% rate of inmate recidivism.
The second program is ‘Courts Assisting Veterans,’ which tries to identify veterans as they are booked into jail after their arrest. Once identified, JFCS is notified and then, working through an individual’s attorney, a mentor is assigned. Volunteer mentors, who also are veterans, assist with obtaining available veterans services.
Mentors also help the veterans by ensuring they make their court dates, doctors appointments, or even just give them someone to talk to. The third program is the ‘Operation Military Assistance Program’ (OMAP). Ms. Jennifer Bailes-Fretz, an OMAP Case Manager, gave us an excellent overview of this very important program, which is specifically funded to help veterans that are homeless or on the verge of becoming homeless.
The main OMAP services are housing assistance, temporary financial assistance related to housing issues, Support Services and Mentoring. Anyone interested in learning more or volunteering should contact Caroline Zucker, Coordinator for Volunteer Resources, 941-366-2224 ext. 141. These are tremendously important programs that help our veterans. We hope to bring you more information in the
future and even some additional volunteer opportunities whenever we can to continue to help veterans throughout our county and Florida.
MOAS is the Sarasota Chapter of Military Officers Association of America.
MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers with 370,000 members. It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization. For more information visit, www.sarasotamoaa.com