You never know when an emergency will happen…but you can count on JFS Orlando to be there for support. Recently, staff members from the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando (JFGO) and the Roth Family Jewish Community Center (Roth JCC) were attending a conference at the Michael Ann Russell JCC in South Florida, when suddenly they had to go into lockdown due to a shooting at the pool on campus.
Thankfully all JFGO and JCC staff were unharmed, however, the shock of experiencing a real-life, active shooter situation that usually is only read about or heard on the news had a significant emotional impact. The next day they called Jewish Family Services of Greater Orlando (JFS Orlando) to address the needs of those affected by this incident.
“Coming home from this traumatic event, it was nice to know we had JFS ready, willing, and able to step in with skilled counselors to help our staff deal with this unfortunate experience,” said Keith Dvorchik, JFGO Executive Director and Roth Family JCC CEO. “JFS embodies the power of our community—always there to help in any way.”
JFS provided immediate support by sending therapists on-site the following workday for walk-in crisis counseling. They were also available via telehealth. The therapists helped affected staff members by normalizing reactions, exploring normal traumatic responses, and discussing how to know if what they are experiencing is something that needs further therapy.
“The events the day of the shooting were horrifying, and we feel deeply for the loss of life and those greatly impacted,” said Fara Gold, Roth Family JCC Chief Program Officer. “After an incredibly scary and trying event, we were again reminded of the significance of our wonderful Orlando Jewish community partners, like JFS.”
The therapists at JFS were able to react quickly to the needs of the Jewish community and those affected. Their experience and training give them the ability to recognize nuances in reactions that are common in occurrences like this and others when the Jewish community has been targeted.
“We are honored that JFGO and the Roth Family JCC trusted us to provide care for their staff in their time of need,” said Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes, LCSW, JFS Clinical Director. “When these distressing events occur, though we hope they won’t, we are pleased to be able to support our Jewish community partners and the community at large.”