Last weekend, Leslie Aizenman, director of refugee services at JF&CS, was presented with the Nelson Mandela Leadership and Diversity Award by Afrika Yetu and the African community of Pittsburgh for her role in leading JF&CS’s efforts in providing resettlement and social services to refugees, as well as helping the African community to establish itself in Pittsburgh. As director of refugee services, Leslie coordinates and supervises JF&CS’s refugee resettlement program, including case management, vocational and legal immigration services for refugee clients. The award recognizes distinguished community leaders, and Leslie was one of four recipients.
In addition, Alla Puchinsky, refugee caseworker at JF&CS, was a recipient of the Excellence in Service Award for her work helping refugee populations in Pittsburgh. The award is granted annually by the Pennsylvania State Refugee Resettlement Program to individuals or organizations demonstrating excellence in the area of refugee resettlement, and is intended to recognize and honor superior service by a refugee service provider.
Alla, a refugee from Belarus who was resettled by JF&CS in 1994, ensures that new arrivals receive the services they need, particularly involving healthcare and government entitlements. She also serves as a translator for Russian-speaking refugees, and acts as a medical case worker; making appointments for all refugee medical needs and accompanying refugees to doctor and hospital visits.
The recent recognitions of the outstanding work of JF&CS’s refugee staff is a testament to the quality of services and programs JF&CS provides to the unique refugee populations in Pittsburgh. Thousands of refugees are thriving throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region because of the tremendous efforts and dedication of Leslie Aizenman, Alla Puchinsky and the entire refugee department staff.
JF&CS refugee services staff works to resettle refugees granted access to America and Pittsburgh, providing for their basic needs and acculturation into our community and workforce, as well as providing support to refugees coming to Pittsburgh who had been resettled originally in other U.S. cities. Our staff work to ensure families receive the most basic needs of food and shelter, and then continue to offer essential assistance through case management, cultural orientation, employment, legal immigration and additional areas of support.
Through the tremendous work of the refugee department staff and the support of the management team, JF&CS is the leading agency in providing a wide range of resettlement, social and legal and employment services to thousands of refugees and immigrants throughout the region. We congratulate Leslie and Alla on their prestigious recognitions, and hope you are inspired by their efforts to help JF&CS continue this important and necessary work in the community.
If you would like to help JF&CS provide services for refugees, you can do so by collecting and donating household items and clothing, volunteering to visit with refugee families to practice English language conversation, offering homework help or by becoming a workshop leader for our “How to Live in America” workshops.
To learn more about JF&CS refugee services, visit our website. To volunteer or to find more ways you can help support JF&CS’s refugee programs and refugees in our community, please contact Leslie Aizenman at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 412-422-7200.