Wednesday, September 19, 2018
News Roundup

Five questions for the Hispanic Outreach Center’s new CEO. Her focus: Puerto Rican evacuees

CLEARWATER — In just her first few weeks leading the InterCultural Advocacy Institute and Hispanic Outreach Center, the mission came alive for Jaclyn Boland.

Boland took over this month as CEO of the Clearwater nonprofit, which provides social services to the area’s Hispanic and Latino community. The center has hosted weekly clinics for Puerto Rican evacuees since Hurricane Maria ravaged the island last year, and watching participants connect with the services they needed has been inspiring, she said.

"That strength of community is what I’ve really seen," the Ohio native said.

RELATED: Hurricane Maria evacuees start over in the Tampa Bay area

Boland, 30, follows in the footsteps of founder and former CEO Sandra Lyth, who stepped down in September. The Board of Directors unanimously picked her from an applicant pool of about 10 people, encouraged by her nonprofit career, leadership experience and ambition, said board president Rolando López.

"Her experience … showed that, even though she’s young, she’s able to be molded into a manager," he said.

Her work has taken her from Pinellas County to Belgium to Kenya. Now, she’s returning to the last place she called home with her 2-year-old Mastiff, Zeke. This interview has been edited for length and clarity:

What’s your background?

In college (at Ohio University), I studied journalism, and I did Spanish as well. Spanish took my curiosity a lot more. I was so interested in other cultures and people. That took me to teach English in Spain after I graduated. I came back to the United States to Pinellas County as an AmeriCorps VISTA (volunteer in service to America). I was placed for one year with the Florida Literacy Coalition doing family literacy, health literacy for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students. I really got into community development, so I got my master’s in international development. That took me to my dissertation in Nairobi, Kenya, to work with an organization called Access Afya, which means Access Health. It’s a social enterprise that brings health care and makes high-tech digital health care available in the slums to low-income people so everyone can have access.

What drew you to this organization?

I find that working with people of other cultures and religions enriches me, not just as a professional but as a person as well. Within the community, it (the InterCultural Advocacy Institute) is such a well-known and respected institution. It’s actually an honor to be able to sit here today and to be able to take on the legacy that Sandra (Lyth) has really had for 17 years. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have such an agency as a victim agency, and to stand up and have a voice and a support for people.

What are some of your goals for this job?

My first goal really is to observe and learn from everyone who has been here, and just really re-immerse myself into the community. Another goal is to continue the work the agency has been doing with embracing new communities into our community. For example, with Puerto Rican evacuees who have been resettling to this area — that’s something that we’ve taken on. I’m hoping to grow and deepen some of the programs that we have here within the community. We have a youth leadership program for example. They (children) are the ones that are going to set the tone and the example for others.

How do you plan to balance your role with this current political climate of tougher immigration policies and more open hostility toward immigrant communities?

I think (by) going back to what we do and what our mission is. We’re a victim-serving agency, and really the strength of that comes from working with partners who also believe in what we do, and see the importance and the impact of how we do it. That’s in creating strong families and ensuring that all of our clients are able to have their needs met, and if we can’t, to push them to the services that they need. Our clients are resilient, and as an organization, so are we.

Where do you see this area’s Hispanic and multicultural population going in the next five to 10 years, and how is the organization preparing?

The biggest change is Puerto Rican (evacuees), and as more and more tropical storms may happen, that’s something to prepare for with the Caribbean islands. More and more people might be coming and relocating here from future disasters. If things aren’t being reconstructed or repaired, people will stay. As far as other countries or other situations, for us it’s just to keep our doors open and for people to know that we’re here if they need help resettling.

Contact Kathryn Varn at [email protected] or (727) 893-8913. Follow @kathrynvarn.

Comments
Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

Fate of FEMA leader Brock Long in doubt as Florence cleanup continues

WASHINGTON — While Hurricane Florence barreled through the Carolinas, a different type of storm was brewing within the federal disaster relief agency tasked with responding to the fallout.The fate of Brock Long, the head of the Federal Emergen...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Falling just short of winning a championship the past few seasons has done nothing to erode fans' confidence in the Lightning.Not just locally, but also nationally and across Canada.The Lightning is the runaway favorite to win the Stanley C...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Another problem for Jameis Winston; selling Hillsborough’s proposed school tax; milestone win for Blake Snell

The Daystarter: Another problem for Jameis Winston; selling Hillsborough’s proposed school tax; milestone win for Blake Snell

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• It’ll be a sunny morning but the clouds will gather by the afternoon. The change of rain also increases to 30 to 50 percent in the afternoon and into the evening, according to the Nat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Blake Snell wins major-league-leading 20th in 4-0 win over Rangers

Blake Snell wins major-league-leading 20th in 4-0 win over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — One of the things that has made Blake Snell so good this season for the Rays is his refusal to be satisfied with anything he does.No matter how well he pitches, he finds flaws in his performance and identifies something ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killorn’s just puttin’ on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Tuesday’s Rays-Rangers game

LHP Blake Snell certainly gets the bulk of the credit for his remarkable season, and there's definitely some due to pitching coach Kyle Snyder. But don't ignore C Jesus Sucre, who Snell likes throwing to and has been both a good target and a calming ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Epilogue: Robert Judson Jr., a pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education

Epilogue: Robert Judson Jr., a pioneer in Pasco-Hernando education

Robert Judson Jr. was known simply as "The Voice.""He had a magnetic voice, made for radio, made for television," said Tim Beard, president of Pasco-Hernando State College, a position Mr. Judson held from 1994 to 2005."To hear him talk was like, ‘Wow...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Hope comes with a haircut at gathering for Tampa’s homeless

Hope comes with a haircut at gathering for Tampa’s homeless

TAMPA — At first, Gerald Williams couldn’t help but flinch when he felt the unfamiliar buzz of an electric hair clipper tickle the back of his neck just behind his ears.It had been at least three years since Williams, 48, cut his hair, he said. For y...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18