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Jewish Family Service Hires New Berkshires Resettlement Coordinator

SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) announced the appointment of Gabriela Sheehan as its new Berkshires resettlement coordinator.

Sheehan comes to JFS with master’s degree in career and technical education from Northern Arizona University, and more than 10 years of experience teaching in the Pittsfield public-school system. In addition, she served on the United Educator of Pittsfield board for two years, and recently taught ESL to multilingual students in grades 5-8 at Du Bois Middle School.

She will join JFS’ New American Program to facilitate the reception and placement of Afghan evacuees in Berkshire County, including coordinating with legal, housing, education, government, advocacy, and social-service agencies and businesses to advance opportunities for refugees to survive, integrate, and thrive in Berkshire County. She will also work closely with volunteer leaders and organizations taking part in resettlement efforts. She will begin her new position on Dec. 6.

Sheehan credits growing up in a multi-lingual, bicultural home, and her late father, Ramiro Guerrero, who was a champion for justice for the Latino community in the Berkshires, for giving her the incentive to become a strong advocate for immigrant families. She looks forward to sharing her passion for cultural diversity with the greater community.

“The change to work more directly with families and join the community groups that have been doing this work for years, while building a unified system of advocacy for new Americans in Berkshire County, is so exciting,” Sheehan said. “Those who have worked with immigrant communities can appreciate their value to our society; new students and families from all over the world settling into Berkshire County made this opportunity a great fit for me. My life is infinitely better because of the students and families I have had the pleasure to serve: hardworking, faithful, resilient people who sacrifice so much for a life of safety and opportunity for their children.”

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