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The J Welcomes Refugee and Migrant Children for FREE Summer Camp

Media Coverage: MassLive (Cover Story)

Media Coverage: WWLP

Springfield JCC Welcomes Refugee and Migrant Children for FREE Summer Camp

SPRINGFIELD, MA (August 4, 2022) – Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war, persecution,
and political upheaval in Ukraine and Afghanistan have recently resettled in the United States,
many of whom have set down new roots right here in the Pioneer Valley. The Springfield
Jewish Community Center’s Summer Camp is partnering with Jewish Family Service of Western
Massachusetts for the fourth year in a row to welcome dozens of refugee children from Africa,
the Middle East, and Ukraine through their New Americans program, and offer them a chance to

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attend summer camp.
The mental and physical toll of resettlement is daunting and, for children, the pressures can be
overwhelming. By providing free day camp to these children, parents can focus on acclimating
to the area, finding employment, and rebuilding their lives in the U.S.
“It is amazing to see the difference that we can make in these children’s (and families’) lives,”
said JCC Summer Camp Director Sam Stone. “From improving English language skills, to
making a friend, to just enjoying being a child in a welcoming environment, we’re thrilled to
provide this opportunity.”
Additionally, this summer, the J has provided free camp weeks to the Terlyk family, who twice
escaped from Ukraine. The family has temporarily settled in the home of JCC member Anna
Baranovski, who has helped to find activities and educational opportunities for the children
adapting to a new life, halfway around the world.
“The girls love going to camp! They’re making friends and getting better at English. It’s been a
very good experience for them because it takes their minds off the war-torn country they’ve had
to flee twice,” said Baranovski. “They miss their grandparents and their father, and we’re just
grateful to the JCC for everything they have done to make the family feel at home.”
“Watching all of these children succeed in such a supportive environment is always one of the
highlights of my year,” said Sara Bedford, Director of the New Americans Program at Jewish
Family Service. “From providing support to parents, to enriching the lives of campers as they
acclimate to life in America — it’s inspirational to see.”