Geralde Gabeau is founder and executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI-USA), in Roslindale, and a linchpin of the Haitian community in Greater Boston. In the past year, as the lives of thousands of Haitians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in Massachusetts have been thrown into turmoil, she has fought tirelessly to ensure they can remain in the U.S.
Born and raised in Haiti, she grew up in a large, joyful family where there was always an extra plate at the table for someone from the neighborhood who would otherwise go hungry. At the age of 12, she started tutoring children who were not being schooled, and at 18, she formed the Association for the Development of Brotherly Love, which still serves over 500 children per year today.
While studying for her master’s degree in public health at Boston University, she developed a vision for what would become IFSI. She wanted to give immigrant families a place that they could call home, where they could get help navigating their way as new residents. At IFSI, children learn and grow in a warm, welcoming environment that feels like an extended family. The nonprofit focuses on immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than 10 years and is built on a “village model,” integrating children, parents, grandparents and other stakeholders in its programs. It also supports community leaders, helping them to advocate for immigrants and strengthen their organizations.
Dr. Gabeau also works closely with Haitian Americans United, Inc., and other Haitian community leaders to ensure that immigrants know their rights, have access to much-needed legal expertise, and have their voices heard by federal, state and local officials.
She lives in Boston with her husband, Evans, their daughters, Gevaniah and Angie, and their son, Gevans.
For her indomitable spirit and her ability to inspire and unify even in the toughest of times, we are proud to honor Geralde Gabeau tonight, and to fight alongside her. Men ampil chay pa lou!