Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Saffran family awards college scholarships to local youth who persevered after losing a parent


Pam, Ella and Nat Saffran award one of the inaugural Dr. Alan J. Saffran Scholarships to Winter Spring High School senior Jamie Potts.

Winter Park resident Pam Saffran and her three children know how hard it is to move forward after traumatic loss and the critical role community support plays in keeping dreams alive. The Saffrans have partnered with local nonprofit New Hope for Kids to award $2,000 college scholarships to four local students who experienced the death of a parent and demonstrated perseverance in the face of that adversity. The Dr. Alan J. Saffran Scholarship was created in memory of Saffran's late husband, a beloved local physician who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer nearly seven years ago. This is the inaugural year for the scholarship, and it has been awarded to the following Central Florida students: 

• Jamie Potts, a Winter Springs High School senior with a 4.2 GPA, plans to attend Seminole State College in the fall. "I lost my father to suicide when I was 5 years old. My mom is such an amazing, strong woman. She is a great role model and teaches me that it is never too late to go back to school as she has done after 30 years."

• Joshua Wojteczko, a Boone High School senior with a 4.73 GPA, will attend the University of Central Florida in the fall to study engineering. "When I was 7 my life changed overnight. My father committed suicide, leaving a hole in my life that has been really difficult to overcome. The team of counselors at New Hope for Kids helped me to become more adjusted to my new norm."

• Brigitte Anderson, a summa cum laude Olympia High school graduate, is currently a sophomore majoring in music at Florida State University. Her father died of cancer when she was 10. "My family gets by financially but with only one income, my brother and I will never be able to get through college without financial help."

• Gavin Clark, a magna cum laude Lyman High School graduate, currently attends Florida State University and hopes to become a teacher. He lost his mother when he was young, and his father was killed in 2017 in a workplace shooting. He and his sister live with family friends who serve as guardians. "My mother's death shook our whole family. My dad held me and my younger sister together in the years after. He even served as a grief counselor at New Hope for Kids. When he died suddenly in 2017, it hurt more than anything I could have imagined."

A mental health counselor, bestselling author and mother of three, Pam Saffran watched her three school-age children grieve their father's death in 2013. "Losing a parent turns a child's entire world upside down," she explained. "It strains a family's income and can erase college dreams. And all of that is only exacerbated by the current economy and COVID-19 pandemic. I know that education can be a game-changer for any child. My children have been fortunate to continue their education, and we want to pay that forward so others can do the same." 

To learn more about the Dr. Alan J. Saffran scholarship, visit https://newhopeforkids.org/saffran-scholarship/ or to make a contribution to the scholarship fund, go to https://newhopeforkids.org/donate/, and put "Dr. Alan J. Saffran scholarship" in the designee box.


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