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Welcoming Little Amal: A Panel on Resettlement with RealTime Arts & JFCS

September 12, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

This program, presented in partnership with RealTime Arts and Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS), welcomes a panel of resettlement experts and former refugees to explore the challenges unaccompanied minors face in their journey to find a new home, in preparation for a series of visits throughout Pittsburgh from Little Amal. Little Amal is a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year old Syrian refugee girl who stands for unity and hope. This fall, she will journey 6,000 miles across the United States in one of the largest free public festivals ever created, and on September 20-21, Pittsburgh will welcome her with events hosted by leading local arts organizations. 

About the Panelists:

Ivonne Smith-Tapia joined JFCS as Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services in July 2021. She holds master’s degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Social Work with a certificate in Human Services Management. Ivonne worked for more than a decade with the Colombian government, international NGOs and think tanks promoting community development, education, human rights, and leadership in diverse rural and urban communities in Colombia. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2013 and has worked with the University of Pittsburgh providing training and technical assistance to Family Support Centers, implementing research projects with the Latino community, and at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh leading programming on global issues.

Jamie Englert is the Director of Immigration Legal Services and has been with JFCS Pittsburgh nearly 20 years. She started her career at JFCS as an Accredited Representative. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and worked in real estate and criminal defense law before finding her niche in immigration law. Jamie is responsible for supervising all areas of practice and for providing educational and training opportunities for staff and pro bono attorneys. Jamie has overseen expansive growth of the legal team in the last 5 years and is driven to increase capacity through efficiency, teamwork and building pro bono partnerships with the ultimate goal of making sure all  of the community’s immigration needs are met. Jamie is passionate about helping people and in her free time she is a volunteer and board member of Orchard View Stables, a horse farm that provides therapeutic horseback riding for individuals with disabilities. 

Bahishta Mohammadi graduated from Brashear High School in 2023 with Honors. She was a JFCS 412 Futures graduate and student leader. Bahishta is currently enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Business, where she plans to study Business and Marketing. Bahishta and her family came from Afghanistan and moved directly to Pittsburgh in 2019. She is the oldest girl in the family and credits her father for being an amazing leader and pushing her to become what she wants. She is currently working part-time at Amazon. Bahishta was inducted in the National Honor Society and received the Leadership Award and High Honors Department Award.

About the Moderator:

Molly Rice is a Founder and Artistic Director of RealTime Arts, where her work was nominated for Global Pittsburgh’s Organizational Diversity Champion Award in 2020. Her playwriting honors and awards include Brown University’s Weston Prize, nominations for the New York IT Awards, the Carole R. Brown Award, the Kesselring Fellowship, and selection for two New Works Initiatives with 2019 Tony Award-winning director Rachel Chavkin. With RealTime, she creates and produces hyperlocal-meets-universal projects like The Birth of Paper (2021), a transcontinental work of humanitarian theater in Pittsburgh and Beirut, Lebanon, and Khuraki, created with Afghan refugees (nominated for 2019 Mayor’s Award for Public Art). She is beginning work on her next large-scale project, an adaptation of Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird in collaboration with Ukrainian art therapists, at the Bogliasco Fellowship in Italy in April. 

About JFCS Pittsburgh:

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) helps individuals and families through life’s changes and challenges. We do so by providing comprehensive, innovative social services and empowering people with the resources and support they need to improve their lives and regain self-sufficiency and stability. www.jfcspgh.org

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant 40 North will be closed, but a cash wine bar will be available.

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September 12, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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