More than 200 supporters came out as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida celebrated 100 years in the community Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront hotel.
More than $40,000 was raised to support mentoring programs for youth in Duval and surrounding counties. Honorary Chair JF Bryan IV; keynote speaker Pat Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue; and Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, shared their experiences of being involved with the program.
Geraghty stressed the importance of exposing youth to opportunities and places through mentoring and said the program is a life-changing experience for mentor and mentee.
Event sponsors included AT&T, Acosta Sales & Marketing, FIS, Florida Blue, the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, Robert & Margaret Hill, Assessment Technologies Group, Chase, Community First Credit Union, Haskell, U.S. Army, Jax Chamber, Greenshades, Hancock Bank, LBA Group, Mayo Clinic, St. Vincent’s Healthcare and Upchurch Watson White & Max.
For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit bbbsnefl.org or call (904) 727-9797.
Children's Commission launches new early learning program
National education leaders met in Jacksonville to study a new Jacksonville Children’s Commission program that trains and certifies early learning coaches.
Education leaders from the National League of Cities’ Educational Alignment Initiative attended CoachJax’s first Certified Technical Assistance Coaching Showcase on April 9 at the Children’s Commission.
Twenty-six newly certified coaches were recognized during the event organized by leaders of the Children’s Commission, the Early Learning Coalition of Duval, Episcopal Children’s Services and the University of Florida’s Lastinger Center for Learning, all of whom were involved in the program, according to Jamey Burns, coaching program coordinator of the center.
“This effort was the pilot for the larger statewide Early Learning Florida initiative,” Burns said. “These Jacksonville organizations were the trailblazers in helping us begin to utilize our knowledge about how coaching can help early learning providers.”
The program helps develop the skills of early learning coaches and technical assistance providers that improve instruction in early learning centers and family child care homes.
Golf tournament raises $97,000 for Daniel Kids
More than 100 golfers teed up at Timuquana Country Club on March 16 for the annual Daniel Golf Classic, presented by Enterprise Integration. The tournament raised $97,000 to support abused, neglected and emotionally troubled children served by Daniel Kids.
The Daniel Golf Classic raises funds every year to provide services aimed at enhancing the lives of children and families in the community, said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Daniel Kids.
“We can’t thank our sponsors, golfers and volunteers enough for their support year after year,” Clark said. “The best way for us to express our gratitude is to help heal as many children as we can and to make a positive impact on the next generation here at Daniel Kids.”
Enrollment open for hospitality training at Weaver center
The LifePoint Career Institute will begin a 10-week job training course in the hospitality industry Monday at the Weaver Center for Community Outreach in East Jacksonville.
LifePoint, an initiative of FreshMinistries, offers hands-on training leading to professional certification for hotel and lodging workers and certified nursing assistants. The program receives state funding and provides training at no cost to students beyond a $25 registration fee.
Nearly all of the LifePoint students who graduated at the end of March are employed. Hospitality graduates have been hired at resorts, hotels, cruise lines and have established their own cleaning companies. The program has a job placement rate of 85 percent.
Those interested in applying to participate may submit an application at freshministries.org/education.
‘Party in the Park’ with Family Support Services
Family Support Services of North Florida is hosting its annual Party in the Park for Prevention on Friday at Friendship Park on the Southbank.
The event brings together local child services agencies and guests who will provide information to the community and join nationwide efforts drawing attention National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The family event from 6-8 p.m. will include free water taxi rides, games, giveaways, face painting, a cooking demonstration and free books about safety for children, while supplies last.
Complimentary sandwiches will be provided by Chartwells Schools dining services to the first 300 attendees. Free passes to the Museum of Science and History will be given to the first 50 children.
Child safety tips as well as information about family and safety-related services available locally will be distributed. Find out what you can do to protect children and prevent child abuse.
Free parking will be provided beneath the Acosta Bridge, west of River City Brewing Co.
“Protecting children is a shared commitment that requires community-wide support,” said Lee Kaywork, Family Support Services chief executive officer. “Every adult has the responsibility to report any suspicion of child neglect or abuse. Your phone call can save a child.”
The organization provides in-home services, including training in parenting skills, financial management and behavior modification, such as anger management classes. In addition, local families are provided support and assistance to help prevent child abuse.
Family Support Services is the lead agency for foster care, adoption and family preservation in Duval and Nassau counties. For more information, visit fssjax.org.
To report child abuse or neglect, call (800) 962-2873.
Feeding Northeast Florida needs volunteers
Donations of food and cash are important to ensuring Feeding Northeast Florida can distribute food to more than 322,000 people in 17 area counties each year — but it couldn’t be accomplished without the volunteers the nonprofit agency needs to get the job done.
In recognition of National Volunteer Week that began Monday, the food bank is encouraging the community to help fill its 600 volunteer slots for the month of April. The food bank plans to honor them and give awards to its top volunteers at a celebration at the end of April.
According to a report from Independent Sector in Washington, D.C., which does an annual survey of the value of a volunteer hour, an hour of service from a Florida volunteer equals $21.24.
“For those who can’t volunteer their time but would like to help us reach our goal, they’ll be asked to donate the equivalent of the hours they would like to work to Feeding Northeast Florida through our website,” said Bruce Ganger, the agency’s president and CEO.
Donations can be made at feedingnefl.org/make-a-donation.