Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

June 15, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: DCF Communications
(850) 488-4855

DCF Celebrates World Refugee Day in Tallahassee, across the State
~ Events Include Family Festivals, Naturalization Ceremonies~

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – The Florida Department of Children and Families celebrated World Refugee Day in Tallahassee on Tuesday as Secretary David Wilkins spoke about the importance of helping those who come to America to escape war, violence and persecution in their home countries.

Currently, there are more than 43 million displaced people worldwide and 15 million who are classified as refugees. World Refugee Day is sponsored each year by the United Nations to celebrate and recognize the courage and experiences of the world’s refugees. This year, the international theme is “One Refugee Without Hope is Too Many.”

“Coming to a new country presents many uncertainties for these families. An immigrant may feel lost, fearful, and anxious over adjusting to a new way of living, a new culture and sometimes even a new language. The Department strives to assist these families and provide hope for a better life here in Florida,” Wilkins said. “Our communities are strengthened by these new Floridians as they become self-sufficient, raise the newest generation of Americans and add to the diverse tapestry of Florida’s families.”

In Florida, more than 27,000 refugees are resettled each year. The Department of Children and Families Refugee Services program is funded by the federal government to coordinate and oversee many of the services provided to refugees who settle in Florida. These services include education, legal assistance, employment programs, and youth and family programs. Most refugees are Cuban and Haitian, but Florida has also received people from Iraq, Vietnam, Burma, Colombia and many other countries.

For details of events statewide, see below.

  • June 17: 10 a.m.- 12 p.m., Orlando
    Film Screening “Lost Boys of Sudan” sponsored by Catholic Charities of Central Florida; Leu Gardens’ Camellia Room 920 North, Forest Avenue.

  • June 18, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tampa
    "Faces of Refugees Today": A family-friendly festival with games, music, food and prizes. Special Guest Brendan McLaughlin of ABC Action News; Jefferson High School, 4401 West Cypress Street.

  • June 20, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Orlando
    Reception and Naturalization Ceremony sponsored by City Commissioner Samuel B. Ings in collaboration with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and Orlando Refugee Task Force, entertainment and arts exhibit of 3 local refugees; Orlando City Hall, Rotunda, 400 South, Orange Avenue

  • June 20, 9 a.m.-10-30 a.m., Jacksonville
    Members of Refugee Advisory Panel will speak and present cultural dances (Bhutanese and Chin), naturalization ceremony of refugees. Hosted by Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) with the refugee resettlement agencies and Legal Aid; FSCJ, 101 W. State St., Jacksonville

  • June 20-24, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., daily, Naples
    Open House event will highlight local programs and local refugees. A brief educational video will be shown and refreshments will be served. All visiting children will receive a book and stuffed animal to take home with them. Raffle prizes will be awarded every day. Refugee Youth & Family office, 5251 Golden Gate Parkway, Suite B, Naples

  • June 22, 1:30 p.m., Royal Palm Beach
    Join the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services West Palm Beach Field Office at a naturalization ceremony. 9300 Belvedere Road, Royal Palm Beach

  • June 26, 2-4 p.m. North Miami Beach
    Tri-County (Miami-Dade/Broward/Palm Beach) World Refugee Day Celebration, variety show featuring refugee performers; Littman Theater, 17011 NE 19th Avenue