The Jewish Coalition for New Americans (JCNA), a committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC), provides a unified Jewish response to welcoming immigrants, migrants, and refugees. We support and supplement the work of agencies across the St. Louis region and provide volunteer assistance when opportunities arise.
The JCNA was formed in March 2017 after the International Institute of St. Louis approached the JCRC for help to organize the Jewish community after receiving an influx of requests to volunteer. Together, the International Institute and the JCRC brainstormed a few ways the community as a whole could help the beneficiaries and the staff of the Institute.
The JCNA Day Camp
“I have never been so proud to be a member of the St. Louis Jewish community as while I participated in this camp.” – Anonymous Volunteer
The JCNA Day Camp first took place in the summer of 2017. It is a four week, half day camp coordinated by the members of the JCNA and hosted at the International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL) to enable New American parents to take classes and gain job training unencumbered by worries of child care. Each summer, the IISTL provides English classes for parents; however in the time between summer and fall school semesters, these parents would be unable to go to class as the children can not be left home without supervision. Many of these families are new arrivals to St. Louis without the means to hire childcare. The Day Camp provides an opportunity for the parents to continue learning while also helping the children to gain English skills and learn more about American culture.
In 2017, the camp had 35 children registered, helping 21 families. There were over 100 volunteers from the community who wrote the curriculum, donated towards costs, and acted as counselors. We provided free bus fare for those who lived outside of walking distance and fun activities included in the daily curriculum including a visit from the Science Center, a petting zoo, and the Bubble Truck. In addition to the tremendous positive feedback we received from the families, the International Institute reported there was no significant drop in adult class attendance as had been seen in previous years.
The 2017 Day Camp was generously sponsored by The Millstone Foundation, Mobile On The Run, and many community individuals.
KSDK - Channel 5
Chair - Stan Shanker
Staff - Alyssa Banford
Bais Abraham Congregation
Congregation Shaare Emeth
Central Reform Congregation
Jewish Community Center
Jewish Family and Children’s Services
National Council of Jewish Women
Shir Hadash Reconstructionist Community
United Hebrew Congregation
Washington University’s Hillel
To Get Involved
The JCNA generally meets once per month. We welcome organizations to send representatives and for individuals to sit on planning committees for programs.
For more information or to get involved, contact Alyssa Banford, Senior Engagement Associate of the JCRC, at (314) 442-3894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.