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Nonprofit CEO Showcase: Stella Johnson

Executive Director, Family Nurturing Center of Florida

Mission

Our mission is to provide a nurturing environment for families impacted by divorce, custody battles, substance abuse and domestic violence, by keeping children safe during these challenging times and helping parents foster positive relationships with their children.

Family Nurturing Center provides parenting services and supervised visitation and exchange services for children and their parents. By providing parent education, we give parents the tools needed to care for their children and help their children grow. By providing exchange services, we make sure that children are able to continue their relationship with both parents after a separation or when there is domestic violence, which makes it unsafe for parents to communicate with each other directly. By providing visitation services, we make sure that children are able to spend time with their nonresidential parent, while being kept safe from abuse or neglect, and ensure that children are not exposed to parents who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Serving Jacksonville

Established in Jacksonville in 1993 through the efforts of the Junior League of Jacksonville and other stakeholders, the Family Nurturing Center was the first supervised visitation center in the state of Florida.

Those served

In 2011, we served more than 1,600 parents and children and facilitated more than 4,000 visits and exchanges. We cover the Fourth Judicial Circuit and recently took over the operation of the visitation center in the 15th Circuit (Palm Beach County). Our partnerships with other nonprofit agencies such as the YMCA have been critical in allowing us to serve so many families over such a large geographic area. We have two sites in Duval County and one each in Clay, Nassau and Palm Beach counties.

We also just opened a new division, headed by a licensed mental health counselor, to provide social investigations, parent coordination, and parental fitness evaluations on a sliding fee scale basis.

Biggest challenge

We’ve taken on two large projects: the expansion to Palm Beach County and the opening of the Clinical Services division. These new initiatives are exciting and take an incredible amount of effort to manage. I’m also looking forward to the day when we don’t have to tell a parent that we can’t help them because we don’t have enough capacity.

Biggest satisfaction

Working with such an outstanding group of supporters. My biggest satisfaction is that while the work we do is emotionally taxing, I get to work with wonderful people who deeply believe in the value of our programs.

Hometown

Born in New Jersey, but I have been in Jacksonville since 1984.

First experience with community service

My mother was always involved in community service work. Growing up, she took us to deliver Meals On Wheels and she made arrangements for us to read to seniors in nursing homes.

Your job before the Family Nurturing Center

My career has always been in youth and family services, starting with the local Boys & Girls Clubs and including the Youth Crisis Center and other residential programs for teens.

Upcoming events

Oct. 26: Cocktails for a Cause at The University Club

Jan. 31: 10th Anniversary Taste of Chocolate Challenge to be held at Florida Coastal School of Law. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Contact information

www.fncflorida.org

(904) 389-4244

Facebook: Family Nurturing Center of Florida

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