Alpha House of Tampa offers homeless, pregnant women and young mothers with children, many of whom are former foster teens, safe housing and the tools they need to become self- sufficient, effective, and responsible parents. Service delivery is based on a case plan comprised of 5 components of care including mental health counseling, social rehabilitative counseling, life skills management, vocational assistance, and collateral services. School-age mothers are required to complete their academic studies while in the program. The remaining curriculum of programs offers a wide variety of classes that address critical education and tools for new mothers including labor and delivery, nutrition, motivational classes, individual and group trauma counseling, women’s health issues, child care and parenting skills.
The Parents As Teachers program offers homeless mothers and their children a national, best-practice, evidence-based early child-development curriculum that includes parenting education and training, early detection of developmental delays and health issues, and the tools to achieve measure-able outcomes in the prevention of low birth-weight and substance-exposed babies, repeat unplanned pregnancies, and developmental delays that contribute to failure in school and ongoing dependence on public assistance through comprehensive, hands-on system of care for both mothers and babies. This year, Parents As Teachers has expanded with outreach prevention services that include in-home visits as well as hearing and developmental screenings to at-risk children beyond those served by their residential program. The organization is currently working to establish a presence in each county in the state through strategic partnerships with local public housing authorities and social services agencies serving at-risk children and families.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay facilitates positive mentorship relationships for at-risk children that contribute to brighter futures and stronger communities, serving as role models for children that increase self-esteem and responsible decision-making. Both their community-based, site-based mentoring programs and special Big/Little events allow low-income children facing adversity to have exposure to healthy, supportive and guiding relationships with adult mentors that work to illuminate at-risk children to their own potential, academically, economically, socially and emotionally. According to a Public/Private Ventures program impact study, Big Brothers Big Sisters programs were found to “focus less on specific problems after they occur, and more on meeting youths’ most basic developmental needs.” The independent research organization found clear evidence that caring, supportive relationships yielded tangible benefits to both participants and the larger community by setting expectations and guiding youth to the pathways in creating a fulfilling life. Big Brothers Big Sisters participants demonstrated a lowered incidence of risky behavior, a greater commitment to education and improvement in the quality of their interpersonal relationships for children, ages 5-17.
The Hobbs Foundation continues to support special events and activities that work to increase match relationships to currently unmatched youth seeking a Big Brother or Sister. These activities are an extension to their evidence-based one-on-one mentoring curriculum that deliver age appropriate cultural and educational enrichment activities that are both fun, new experience for children and encourage bonding between youth and mentor. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ activities are designed to assist children who have experienced a lack of resources, parent engagement and access to meaningful, life-enriching experiences to benefit from positive mentoring relationships that demonstrate an increase in social and emotional growth, academic performance and overall healthy lifestyle and well-being. With a variety of match retention events throughout 2017, children from a variety of at-risk situations will be invited to experience opportunities that would otherwise be unaffordable, often because they are cost prohibitive for low-income, and in many cases, single-mother families. The Big For A Day event at MacDill Air Force Base, for unmatched children, provides a day-long experience for children on their waiting list to be matched with recruited members of Air Force base personnel.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida has provided life-enhancing and life-changing services to disadvantaged youth, continually adapting to the complex needs of low-income, high-crime pockets in the Orlando metro and surrounding area. Their clubs provide outcomes-driven, world-class learning and character building opportunities that ensures all members are on track to graduate high school with a plan for their future, demonstrate good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle, delivering high quality youth development programs that deepen our understanding of how at-risk youth fare in critical areas such as safety, school engagement and readiness for post-secondary education. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida was recognized as 3rd in the nation in recruitment and retention of at-risk teens, 8th in youth overall, in part through the Hobbs Foundation-funded Friday Night LIVE program, by offering positive, fun activities exceptionally designed to help young people acquire the values, skills, and knowledge necessary to reach their full potential.
For the past three years, the Hobbs Foundation has awarded Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida $10,000, first to expand the teen programming offered at their Walt Disney World Clubhouse and then, to maintain the FNL program at the Walt Disney World Branch while expanding this teen programming to our Universal Orlando Foundation Branch. The Walt Disney World Clubhouse began implementing their Friday Night LIVE teen program in January 2014, offering expanded hours one Friday per month with a wide range of new activities, including robotics, digital music production, and sports and fitness, along with field trips that would allow teens to participate in positive activities such as bowling, roller skating, and going to the movies. Hobbs Foundation funding in 2015, allowed the Walt Disney World Branch to expand this program to provide teen- related services two Friday nights per month. In 2016, the Foundation funded expansion of the entire FNL concept to a second Club in another distressed Orlando community. During this current year, funding from the Hobbs Foundation is enabling Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida to offer FNL teen programming one Friday night per month at our Universal Orlando Foundation Branch, while maintaining this same program two Friday nights per month at our Walt Disney World Branch. In the next year, expansion of the program will continue at the Universal Orlando Foundation Branch.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Project Learn provides high-quality After-School services for children, 5-16 years old. Project Learn program offers core programming such as: homework assistance, arts & crafts, literacy and social skills. Additional programs include: music instruction, tennis, karate, dance, and intramural sports. The Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade made great strides in 2016 lauching their specialized teen program with instruction on career planning and summer internship opportunities, ACT/SAT and college prep tutoring, community service projects, college tours, financial literacy and job shadowing. The new state-of-the-art South Beach Club was unveiled and will serve 450 children in Miami Beach. The new club includes a game room, education and technology center, teen programming center, expanded offices and reception, and full teaching kitchen for the Club’s future culinary program.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade continues their after-school activities program that includes dance, performing arts and music instruction at the Hank Kline, Kendall, and Northwest Club. Students will receive hands-on music lessons through partnerships with the New World School of the Arts Music Department and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, the Miami-Dade clubs added courses on classical music, water color and group storytelling that served as the inspiration for new musical compositions, encouraging analytical and artistic thinking, spatial learning, and language development. The Project Learn after-school programming allows children of low-income families to explore their interests, develop intellectual and creative aptitudes and learn the importance of self-discipline and personal achievement. Participation in the dance and performing arts program at the Hank Kline Club has demonstrated positive outcomes for the at-risk girls in improving confidence, self-image, teamwork and skill building. With experienced caring staff, students will be engaged in fun learning experiences that improve creative thought and self- expression while building confidence and self-esteem. Dance also offers opportunities for youth to maintain physical fitness as well as emotional well-being. Partnerships with local symphonies and music schools will continue to explore new opportunities for youth in the performing arts.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. Core programs help at-risk children to develop leadership skills, support emotional and social needs, and provide a constructive learning environment for children to explore their interests. With a successful fundraising campaign, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida launched their Money Matters financial education program that provides instruction for at-risk teens on how to be responsible with money, make smarter spending choices, opening a checking and savings account, saving for college and managing a budget at the NFL YET Club in Jacksonville. Arts enrichment programs will be introduced to the St. Johns club with educational activities in the areas of visual arts, performing arts, and creative writing.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida is expanding their computer and technology education program at the NFL YET and Woodland Acres Club, located in the impoverished downtown Jacksonville neighborhood of Brentwood Park where the majority of school children do not have access to computers or technology literacy education necessary to excel in their academic studies and compete in a 21st Century marketplace. The club’s computer and technology education program works to expand opportunities for low-income students to acquire work force skills and exposure to a new world of information that encourages creative thinking and problem solving skills. The Club is launching a specially designed agriculture education program on the Woodland Acres five-acre property that provides an interactive learning experience illustrating science and math through cultivating, harvesting, marketing and selling of their fruits and vegetables. The program is intended to increase children’s cognitive development, the practical use of mathematics and business principles, and critical thinking skills while promoting outdoor activity and a healthy lifestyle. With a successful pilot project and increased demand for growth, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida coordinated a bus donation from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority that will be retrofitted for a mobile produce unit in the coming year and engage participants in a giving-back program to provide nutritious fruits and vegetables to children and families in need. Funding provides support to purchase much-needed equipment in the expansion of the agriculture education program and provides children with the opportunity to apply business principles and practical life skills in managing their own farm project and outreach to their community.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County provides a safe, after-school environment for low- income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self- image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County offers a safe place where children can learn, grow, build lasting friendships, and develop a solid foundation for their future. All Club programs are based on our youth development strategy, so they provide youth with a sense of belonging, usefulness, influence, and competence. The Club’s successful STEM education program will be bolstered with additional grant funding, emphasizing basic academics on a technology platform using a series of project-based lessons. STEM programs include modules and initiatives that include rocketry, robotics, energy, engineering simulation, space, game design, music production and web design.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County continues to expand its after-school STEM education program serving low-income, at-risk children that augments the Club Tech digital literacy program and lab that enables children with limited educational opportunities to participate in interactive learning experiences that illustrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts with increased awareness and engagement. The STEM program increases each child’s understanding of practical scientific theories, boosting cognitive development, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. The program exposes economically-disadvantaged students to education and career development opportunities, character and leadership development, and computer and digital design skills that build academic competencies, literacy and creativity. Funding supports the purchase of 10 additional computers, laser printer, and Mac mini to support STEM education at the Max M. Fisher Club in Riviera Beach. New computers and equipment allows more children to access the computer lab learning activities. The Mac mini will be used for music and audio editing, representing one of BGCBPC’s most popular STEAM programs, using the arts as a platform to introduce STEM subjects. In addition, the Club seeks to purchase a 55-inch video display for the Florence De George Club to be used for instructional purposes in the technology lab and to allow for ease of viewing members’ projects, further facilitating academic gains.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay provides a safe, after-school environment for low-income students with specialized educational and character development activities that enable young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The Boys and Girls Clubs strive to empower youth to support and influence their club and community by sustaining positive, meaningful relationships with others, develop a healthy self-image, develop educational disciplines and the skills to achieve life-long success. The Boys and Girl Clubs of Tampa Bay offers guidance and support to youth that need it the most through structured programming, engaging activities, and interest-based experiences with sites located throughout Hillsborough and Pasco Counties. With a $2.5M donation from Jeff and Penny Vinik, and the Lightning Foundation, the Club will be renovating the Winston Park Recreation Center in the low-income East Hillsborough neighborhood of Palm River that has plans to include a new technology education lab, game room, teen center, theater, kitchen and dining hall.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay’s 21st Learning Program Middle School Initiative targets students in grades 6-8 attending three Title l Hillsborough County Middle Schools: Van Buren Middle School, Webb Middle School and Shields Middle School. The program utilizes BGCTB curricula and staff to provide high quality services that support student learning and development including: tutoring and mentoring, academic enrichment, homework assistance, music, art, service learning, character education, physical education, recreational activities, dropout prevention and college and career readiness. Students created blueprints, commercials and built a life size model of the inventions that addressed various disparities prevalent in underserved communities. Project based learning is a vital component to academic enrichment as it encourages participation form all types of learners and motivates students to engage in work not offered in a traditional classroom setting. As a key partner, Hobbs Foundation will continue to support the development of the academic enrichment component of the 21st Century program through project based learning, promoting academic success and continual progression to the next grade level as youth develop essential 21st century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity that will improve academic performances in math, reading and science.
Brookwood Florida provides a therapeutic community-based residential group home for adolescent foster girls who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect and abandonment or those at-risk and placed by low-income families under severe hardship. Their holistic program provides education, job skills and independent living skills training and counseling in coping with self-defeating behavior and work to instill strength of character and responsible decision-making to maintain a stable living environment upon transition to independence. Brookwood primarily serves victims of abuse in the foster care system, those abandoned by their own families due to mental health issues or other dysfunctionalities, and those who have experienced a fractured relationship with adoptive parents and are need of alternative placement. Brookwood staff and case managers work to guide girls who have experienced trauma and instability to maintain a structured, healthy lifestyle, pursue their educational goals, increase independent living skills and utilizing a Life Skills Workbook created by Brookwood Florida clinicians. The program introduces essential life skills like household management, financial responsibility, and self-sufficiency and a family-life support system to encourage girls to avoid risky, unproductive choices and reach for their full potential.
The Recreational and Cultural Activities Program offers approximately 125 girls living on the Brookwood campus, ages 13-18, access to experiential learning opportunities and after-school activities that encourage social and intellectual development, creativity and positive character development. Activities including swimming lessons, skating, bowling, hiking, art appreciation exhibits and nature center outings. Constructive, interest-based learning activities are essentially important to the healthy growth and development of young girls who had inadequate nurturing and mentoring relationships, and little exposure to cultural, educational and recreational activities. The Foundation continues its support of the Recreational and Cultural Activities program at Brookwood that has demonstrated significant positive impact in helping children and teens reduce stress, increasing feelings of self-worth and well-being, increasing character development and social skills and improved relationships with peers and adults.
Chapman Partnership provides comprehensive services to support stability and self-sufficiency for homeless families and their children with temporary housing, economic and educational opportunities that work to reduce the cycle of poverty and allows children to grow and thrive in a safe and supportive environment. Their goal for the youth development program for children living in the emergency shelter care is to expose them to positive social, learning activities that enhance their intellectual and emotional development and create fun-filled childhood memories for children who have had limited opportunities for healthy stimulation and engagement in education and special interests. Chapman Partnership operates two Homeless Assistance Centers with 800 beds located in Miami and Homestead. Collectively these two Centers serve approximately 5,000 men, women and families with children annually. We help the homeless by providing a comprehensive support program that includes emergency housing, meals, health, dental and psychiatric care, day care, job training, job placement and assistance with securing stable housing. The negative impacts of housing instability on a young person’s life can dramatically affect early development and learning, leading to course failure, retention risk and potential dropout. Often, extended lengths of homelessness and its episodic nature results in more dramatic impact. In turn, research also indicates that concrete supports (such as school supplies, transportation and academic support), as well as emotional factors (feeling safe and emotional connections) are important to a homeless child’s ability to stay in and do well in school. Chapman Partnership believes that its homeless assistance model most nurture the skills and abilities of both adults and children to truly ameliorate the cyclical nature of homelessness. High-quality programming serving disadvantaged children that provides enriching experiences has been proven to promote positive, healthy development. These experiences provide stability and daily routines that may otherwise be scarce in these children’s lives, and promote resilience.
The Me and My Family Program continues to develop, offering children of homeless families to engage in quality time with their family in after-school and holiday activities/events that will be held in conjunction with collection drives that provide clothing and personal items for each child. These include a Halloween children’s party with costume making, magician and haunted house activities for the children; a Thanksgiving children’s party that will encourage children to give thanks and participate in acts of kindness to others and learn the value of honor, respect and gratitude; a Holiday children’s party with food, games, Santa Claus and toys for each child; a Valentine’s Day craft party where children make their own valentines and bake cookies with family and mentors; and the Easter family event at Jungle Island will host an egg hunt and animal show for the children. Other activities include field trips for children and families to the Miami Zoo and Sea Aquarium and a 4-week summer camp with the Miami Children’s Museum that includes interactive exhibits and learning programs related to arts, culture, community and communication along with outdoor recreational activities on the playgrounds, rock climbing wall, water play area and in the dance and fitness program. Funding supports the supplies, materials, admission fees and travel expenses of each activity for families and children.
Charity Navigator is the largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities and intelligent guide to philanthropic giving by gathering and analyzing data that reflects the financial health, transparency and accountability of charitable organizations. Charity Navigator provides information as to the efficiency and effectiveness of operational sustainability and utilization of funding dollars of qualified nonprofit organizations. CN has been working to refine and expand their current nonprofit financial rating system in order to broaden funders depth of understanding about a charity’s operational effectiveness that includes Results Reporting assessment. Results Reporting data is meant to communicate to funders how open, diligent and effective charities are in presenting the outcomes-driven data that demonstrates positive impact. Their financial evaluation continues to inform funders how responsible charities are in positioning themselves to sustain their programs overtime and how effectively they employ strategic methodologies in measuring success in the context of their mission and goals of key stakeholders.
The financial and organizational analysis of 25 additional charities whose missions are in line with the Hobbs Foundation’s charitable focus, those benefitting socio-economically disadvantaged children in Florida and throughout the U.S., is conducted with costs that include obtaining financial data from the IRS and communicating with charities for additional research as well as maintaining and developing the charity evaluator database and website. Charity Navigator provides research analysis to nonprofits and grantmakers nationwide in evaluating the sustainability and long-term impact of their programs that ensures the growth and development of charitable missions.
Children in Crisis was established to raise and manage funds to build, staff and operate The Children’s Neighborhood, a residential group home and emergency shelter for abused, neglected and abandoned children. Teen transitional housing provides shelter and care for independent living youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Children in need of long- term foster care are offered a structured, family-style home environment cared for by a set of dedicated house parents in one of each of their 4 homes, housing 8-10 children. The Children’s Neighborhood’s emergency shelter allows for the immediate placement of children removed from their homes with a capacity to care for up to 16 children for a maximum stay of 30 days until permanent placement can be established. At Children in Crisis, foster children can experience valuable childhood memories, academic, social and cultural learning with summer enrichment activities and field trips that enhance STEM and The Arts education principles. Less advantaged children who have had little exposure to rich, stimulating learning experiences and the opportunity to explore extracurricular interests are able to spark their curiosity, develop critical thinking skills and have a greater understanding of the world around them.
The Summer Enrichment Program offers approximately 100 foster children exposure to comprehensive educational activities that foster intellectual and social development, team building, and provide a healthy outlet in promoting personal growth and exploration. The children’s exposure to hands-on learning experiences will seek to expand their minds and lead to new ways of thinking, living and seeing. Children in Crisis has a strong commitment to education and enrichment for children in foster care that work to remove the barriers for children who have may suffer from behavioral problems, slowed academic development and psychological distress due to abuse, neglect and abandonment. Hobbs Foundation funding supports quality enrichment programming that encourages intellectual development, reduced stress and emotional well-being, as well as social skills and better relationships with peers. Children will participate in field trips and hands-on learning activities this year at Wonder Works indoor science and amusement park, Seacrest Wolf Preserve, Adventures Unlimited Outdoor Center, Dolphin Cruise, The Heritage Museum, Marianna Caverns, and Mary Hong & The Shard Shop art studio.
Children’s Harbor provides a residential, family-style group home for long-term foster children in addition to community-based outreach services for the prevention of abuse and neglect. The residential program provides a home for 34 children, accommodating large sibling groups, pregnant and parenting teen foster care mothers and their babies, and focuses on keeping family networks together and support systems in tact during a time of crisis in a child’s life. The children’s homes utilize a house parent model that provides a consistent, stable home-like environment encouraging children to build safe, trusting relationships with adults and their peers and reduce the social and emotional barriers of trauma. Children’s Harbor provides a specialized residential sibling program that houses sibling groups removed from their homes and remain together in foster care as a family unit, reducing the trauma that results from feelings of separation anxiety and abandonment that many siblings involved in the child welfare system face. In the wake of child welfare reform measures in Florida requiring investigators to assess the full picture of a family environment in determining safety and well-being rather than a single reported incident, Broward County in particular saw a drastic increase in the number of children coming into care. The County’s child welfare system experienced compounding strains over the past year amidst a high volume of cases and increasing budget constraints. DCF and key leadership from the state’s child welfare agencies came together to identify quality improvement strategies and develop an action plan including increased oversight from the Florida Safe Families Network, collaboration among community partners that manage caseloads, and additional funding for in-home prevention services that allow more children to remain with their families.
Children’s Harbor Academic & Life Skills Program provides critical academic support and life skills education to each child residing on Children’s Harbor campus to increase their confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. A Life Coach assesses each child’s academic and life skill levels, and develops educational plans and interventions designed to improve their school performance. The Life Coach monitors children’s grades, meets with teachers and guidance counselors, attends open houses, checks on homework, assignments and projects, and arranges educational outings. Group sessions with the Life Coach and community partners teach children 13 years of age and older a variety of life skills they need to become self-reliant, ranging from communication and problem solving, to managing a household, to finding and keeping a job. Pregnant and/or parenting foster teens are taught the parenting and independent living skills they need to become self-sufficient and break the intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect. Funding supports participation fees and travel expenses for educational field trips and after-school activities, school supplies, school uniforms, clothing, shoes, and other supplementary educational materials.
The Children’s Home provides a faith-based, family-centered residential group home for children who have suffered from abuse, neglect and abandonment. The Children’s Home seeks to create a home-like community that promotes a loving, nurturing environment that serves as a source of strength and stability for children in foster care. Their comprehensive program addresses the needs of children who have experienced chronic trauma, negative social behaviors and self-esteem issues and works to help children develop healthy coping skills and build positive relationships. Their individualized counseling model encourages children to discover their interests, develop their curiosities and build coping skills with caring support and positive mentorship. The Children’s Home’s Family Support services works to provide vital resources in support of state child welfare priorities of prevention and intervention to stabilize the increase in children involved in the child welfare system. Vocational and educational training, financial management, parenting classes and early intervention counseling services are provided to at-risk families, providing them the tools they need to support a stable and secure home for their children. The organization introduced the SEEDS (Supporting and Empowering Educational and Developmental Services) Program, a multi-disciplinary intervention partnership of local schools, community and family representatives. The program establishes a support system of service providers, a collective force to reduce or eliminate barriers, working with at-risk families in providing a safe, nurturing home environment, a reduction in the instance of child abuse, and a focus on education and healthy growth and development for children in need.
Children in foster care experience higher rates of emotional and behavioral problems that significantly impact their education compared to peers who have not been involved in the child welfare system. These behavior issues can be attributed to many conditions, perhaps most of all the trauma and abuse these children have experienced in their young lives. Most have a history of inconsistent school attendance and weak parental support for learning. The Children’s Home now partners with the University of South Florida’s Behavioral Analysis program to implement the Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) model that is currently used in the Hillsborough County school system with their children incorporated within their on-campus therapy to provide consistency with their school experience. The therapeutic residential treatment program provides a safe home, counseling, nutrition, healthcare, educational support, and enrichment activities for residential care children promoting academic success and prosocial activities beyond the classroom. The Explore After 4 Program seeks to build developmental assets through recreational programming during after-school and out-of-school time based on a therapeutic children’s development model using evidence-based practices from the Search Institute designed to address the social and emotional needs of foster children intended to improve gaps in healthy relationship-building, resiliency, self-awareness and responsible decision-making. These activities include outdoor team sports, biking, swimming, leadership council, music & art, dance, birthday parties and community service projects. Participation in structured learning activities that encourage peer bonding, positive goal setting and self-discipline helps children to build character, integrity, personal responsibility and a sense of purpose.
Clothes To Kids provides quality new and used clothing free of charge to school-age children of low-income families. The organization conducts its operations on the basis of four core values including compassion, respect, self-esteem and service. Clothes To Kids strives to provide a friendly, welcoming atmosphere to disadvantaged children that instill a sense of self- worth and dignity. Qualifying children are referred by a case worker or social worker employed by a local social service agency, a school teacher, administrator or guidance counselor with the school district, or a church leader in their place of worship. Financial need is determined by Title I or public school free lunch program enrollment. In Pinellas County Clothes To Kids is recognized as a “first responder” when there is a need for children’s clothing, and currently accepts referrals from 117 social service agencies, 49 faith communities, 18 city and county agencies, and 139 schools. The children we serve at Clothes To Kids are part of the more than 48,000 children in Pinellas County who receive free and reduced price lunch. The organization has created a special outreach program with the five lowest rated schools in Pinellas County where more than 90 percent of the students are eligible for free lunch. These schools are Melrose, Lakewood, Maximo, Fairmount Park, and Campbell Park Elementary Schools – and by working with their social workers and counselors expect to reach even more children in need. The most critical need at CTK continues to be school uniforms. Currently there are 64 schools with a uniform policy, an increase of 55 percent since the first schools changed their dress code in the 2011-2012 school year. Most of the schools that require uniforms are Title I schools where more than 70 percent of the students are eligible for free lunch.
A complete week’s worth of new school uniform clothing is provided to an additional 200 children of low-income families that helps to remove the barriers socio-economically disadvantaged children have to participating fully in their academic studies, relating to their peers and benefitting from a positive educational experience. Each child receives 2 polo tops and pants, 5 pairs of socks, and 5 pairs of underwear during their visit to Clothes To Kids, many of whom support children at other Hobbs Foundation grantees and partners in the Tampa Bay community and work to supplement the growth and sustainability of our selected programs benefitting at-risk children.
Computer Mentors Group provides computer technology skills training and information access to students of low-income families that bolsters academic achievement and employment readiness. The Computer Mentors youth development programs examine both hardware and software competencies; component identification and functions, Word and Excel processing and Internet search functions. The program offers hands-on, self-paced instruction with one-on-one tutoring assistance that maximizes every student’s mastery of critical skills sets on an individual basis and encourages each student’s talents and special interests. Computer Mentors’ STEM Corps Program guides students through hands-on instruction to develop their skills toward their Microsoft Office Certification; web design and mobile app development; and real world experience in leadership and project management that makes them attractive candidates for internships, college scholarships and employment in the information technology industry for low-income high school students ages 14-18. Students’ development is supported with proven curriculum and experienced mentors passionate about technology and community empowerment. This year Computer Mentors continues to expand their program outreach with a partnership Girls Inc of Pinellas, providing afterschool educational enrichment for low-income girls to participate in a specialized KidsCode coding/logic skills and robotics program.
The STEM Corps Youth Program (formerly the Youth Computer Certification & Ownership Program) has been revamped to bridge a structured afterschool STEM educational program and their IT computer skills training, linking science exploration and discovery with technology, enhancing student’s critical thinking and problem solving skills with context learning and hands-on experiments to captivate students and increase understanding. Additionally, students participate in a service-learning program that involves technology-related projects for nonprofit and community organizations to allow youth to gain experience with on-the-job tasks such as web design, web programming, e-marketing, database development, etc. Approximately 30 advanced-level students receive tutoring instruction from USF masters-level IT interns for a 6- month intensive program. Funding supports student incentives for their participation and satisfactory completion of courses including broadband Internet service, computer hardware/software components that allows them to continue their education at home in preparation for college coursework and/or employment in the IT industry.
Covenant House Florida provides emergency shelter care and vital relief services in helping homeless, at-risk youth escape a life on the streets, combating abandonment, abuse, trafficking and exploitation. The Covenant House program model strives to combat chronic homelessness and destructive lifestyles with an array of in-house services and educational opportunities including healthcare, GED preparation, job readiness and career training, drug abuse treatment and prevention, life skills training and continuing after care. Covenant House Florida continues to fulfill its mission by providing shelter and services to children and youth who are homeless or at risk, making every effort to reunite children with their families. The organization collaborates with community agencies and other nonprofits to actively engage in community efforts to improve the conditions of families and children, advocating with and on behalf of youth to raise awareness about the suffering of those experiencing homelessness. Covenant House's caring staff take in needy youth and provide them with nourishing meals, clean clothes, and a safe place to sleep. The youth are offered a variety of comprehensive services -- from health services, substance abuse treatment, and counseling to education and job readiness assistance that helps them to be reunited with the families or have the skills necessary to live independently. Job readiness training and life skills instruction through the Y.E.S. (Youth Enrichment Services) program offer youth assistance in acquiring the skills needed to facilitate their progress from homelessness to productive lifestyles.
The YES (Youth Enrichment Services) Program offers disadvantaged youth, struggling with homelessness, lack of education and the emotional burden of abandonment, the opportunity to participate in cultural education activities and events, field trips and arts performances that facilitates a greater perspective of new opportunities and new ways of life, increasing cognitive development and socio-cultural awareness. Activities include field trips and weekend outings at science and natural environment education centers, visual and performance art events and local cultural events.
Dignity U Wear provides new clothing to a network of social services agencies, children’s homes, child welfare organizations throughout Florida as well as low-income school districts in their Duval County and surrounding community through strategic partnerships in the apparel industry. Dignity U Wear fulfills specific requests to meet the clothing needs of disadvantaged children with a target approach, providing clothing tailored to the individual needs of children rather than relying on those collected through clothing drives and donation boxes that may not bring clothing appropriate to each child’s needs. The Dignity U Wear warehouse works to distribute new clothing to children living in poverty or in the foster care system that brings a sense of dignity and self-worth, and fulfill the basic needs for underserved children to remove the barriers to education and the potential for a stable, healthy life and a promising future. Dignity U Wear recently welcomed their new President, Nicole Brose, former Development Director for First Coast No More Homeless Pets and VP of Business Development and Grant Specialist for CIC Planning Group, a consulting services organization to local and regional nonprofit agencies serving high-risk populations with program services in education, health and mental health. Nicole has diverse experience in managing the marketing strategies, community relations, program development and fundraising in the nonprofit sector.
Funding continues support of the distribution of new, quality clothing to low-income school children in the impoverished area of Baker County where more than 50% of public school students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program and live below the poverty line in a rural community where resources, public transportation and access to social services is limited The Learning with Dignity-Clothing Children for Success initiative works through school clothing closets and after school/enrichment programs to provide brand new school appropriate attire and undergarments so students are “dressed for success.” In addition to Baker County, Dignity U Wear supports clothing closets in Duval, Nassau and Putnam County public schools with a clothing closet opening in Clay County this year as well as many after school programs including Communities in Schools and the Early Learning Coalition. Feedback from educators reinforces our belief that new clothing gives students confidence and self-esteem leading to a greater likelihood of success in the classroom.
The Florida Baptist Children’s Homes provide faith-based residential group home and emergency shelter care to abused, neglected and abandoned children, teen pregnancy care and in-house foster care placement. Florida Baptist Children’s Homes work to fulfill the role as advocate on behalf of each child’s developmental, emotional and spiritual needs during a time of crisis. By instilling in children strong Christian values and the support of a dedicated, loving family, they have the opportunity to exemplify positive relationships, healthy lifestyles and achieve personal growth. This year Florida Baptist Children’s Home launched their Brave Moms program, a ministry serving single mothers and their children who need support, stability and encouragement in rebuilding their life and providing a brighter future for themselves and their family. Assistance is provided to single mothers from all walks of life so they can focus on resolving their individual circumstance and temporary family instability. While the mother works toward setting goals with the guidance of dedicated and supportive staff, she lives in a comfortable residential setting with her children, assisting young mothers with education and employment assistance, life skills and a strong social support system for the benefit of the family unit.
The Youth on a Mission Program offers approximately 200 foster care children the opportunity, with the support of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes associated rescue missions and shelters serving disadvantaged families and their children, to engage in community service efforts and experience the value of giving selflessly to others in need that encourages positive character development and trusting relationships. The program is designed to teach children about the importance of giving back and opening their eyes to the needs of their own communities, and to gain perspective on their own personal struggles with the knowledge that there are others with less fortune in need of physical and emotional support. Funds support lodging, fuel, food and supplies in traveling both throughout the state and abroad volunteering their time to contribute to mission projects to benefit the poor, homeless families and children.
Florida United Methodist Children’s Home provides faith-based residential group home care, emergency shelter care, independent living services, foster care placement and adoption services to abused, abandoned and neglected children. The Florida United Methodist Children’s Home utilizes a house parent model with campus programs that attend to each child’s educational, recreational, healthcare and therapeutic counseling needs during their healing process, facilitating the development of life management skills and emotional well- being that will carry them to successful, independent living. The Children’s Home has two Residential Care facilities. FUMCH has campuses located in Central Florida, Enterprise, and in North Florida in Madison County. Their early childhood center works to create a parent-teacher partnership to help their children gain the self-confidence needed for active learning, a sense of security, and promote healthy growth and development. The early childhood center offers a planned Montessori curriculum that includes studies in language, geography, cognitive development, dramatic play, math and science activities, and arts education. This year FUMCH expanded their Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for children living at their Madison County campus that has had positive results in reducing the affects of trauma on children, relieving stress and anxiety in building a trusting, non-threatening bond with the animals. This process has shown to counteract feelings of emotional distress and abandonment correlated neuro-psychological disruption that inhibits health and wellness later in life. FUMCH piloted its STEM education program on its main Central Florida campus that works to prepare their children for success in secondary education through project-based learning and analytical thinking. Partnering with the Children’s Home on the launch of this STEM education program is Bethune- Cookman University, Mentis Sciences, Inc., and Raytheon. These valuable partners have provided the staff at Legacy Scholars Academy with curriculum, equipment, and training specific to STEM education in the classroom. Mentis and Raytheon provided students the Mentis Sciences Educational Toolkit (MSET). The MSET offers a unique view into the world of material testing and physical science in a scaled, portable setup. Through MSET, students engage in real-world material testing concepts and experiments ranging from buckling of columns to impact dynamics.
The Education Program at FUMCH is designed to meet the educational needs of foster children; developed to diagnose and place children in the best school situation possible based on individual strengths and challenges, and to both encourage and motivate our children to learn. FUMCH is seeking funding to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) training for children ages K-12 grade living on FUMCH residential campus. STEM is important because of the changes in technology and the growing careers in science, math, and technology. Children will be exposed to discovery and problem-solving techniques that are needed in the future to be college and career ready. The STEM training will focus on three learning types using kinesthetic, visual, and auditory styles, as well as utilizing two thinking styles, including divergent and convergent problem solving. Developing strong thinking and communication skills is essential for success in life. STEM’s perceived potential is to fulfill a child’s learning experience by aiding him or her in the ability to transfer learning. Children can solve new problems and draw conclusions based upon previously learned principles applied through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through hands-on STEM opportunities, the children will develop an interest in learning and activities, develop capacity to productively engage in learning activities, and come to value learning activities.
Joshua House provides therapeutic emergency shelter care and a safe, permanent residential group home for abused, neglected and abandoned children, offering them a stable and nurturing, family- like environment during a time of recovery and personal growth. Their comprehensive program offers individual counseling, life skills training, educational opportunities and transitional support services. Joshua House offers a safe, family-like environment with a caring and dedicated staff that provides nurturing home for foster children in Hillsborough County. Joshua House continues to expand its service delivery in addressing some of our communities most significant cases of abuse, from human trafficking victims to radical attachment disorder derived from severe neglect. It is extremely important that we provide our children with wrap around services that address residential, therapeutic, and life enriching services. With a sizeable spike in the number of children coming into care in Hillsborough County, Joshua House has been urged by partnering child welfare agencies to open an additional home in 2017. Local community-based care provides funding through the Florida Children’s Home Society and the Department of Children and Families for the basic needs of foster children in care. Friends of Joshua House seeks funding opportunities to capital for the restoration of the children’s homes, clothing, nutritional foods, allowances, but also for educational and life enrichment activities, life skills training, transitional services for children aging out of Joshua House, educational tutoring, computers and technology, and school supplies. New additions to the enrichment program include multiple group activities that address self image, integrity, journaling, creative writing, and interpersonal relationship development with pre- screened adult interaction that work to improve emotional well-being, a sense of security and belonging, and ultimately, build a foundation for a stable, productive life.
Funding supports the Joshua House Activities Program that will allow children to participate in after-school sports, animal therapy activities, prom and homecoming dances, birthday parties, vocational skills training, cooking classes, and community service. The younger children have had the chance to participate in summer and after-school extracurricular activities including little league baseball, football league, soccer, dance, and computer training courses. Joshua House seeks to provide quality of life enhancing, constructive, learning experiences that encourage structure, discipline, creativity and personal achievement. Their children will continue to develop their skills and talents that improve healthy and emotional wellbeing and interact with their peers to develop positive interpersonal relationships that heal trauma and emotional struggle. Costs include support for membership fees, equipment, supplies and transportation for the children's participation in after-school activities and summer camps for approximately 170 children. These activities enhance the quality of life for children who have experienced trauma and neglect by encouraging them to develop their interests, have a healthy, constructive outlet that supports cognitive, social and emotional development.
Grace Place for Children and Families provides quality, faith-based after-school educational and youth development opportunities including literacy, language and life skill development programming to at-risk children of low-income families with a focus on the Golden Gate City and surrounding area that represents the most financially needy and underserved children in Southwest Florida. Their School-Age Children’s Program offers tutoring, homework assistance, structured cognitive and social enrichment activities, and career exploration field trips. Grace Place encourages families to become actively involved in the healthy growth and development, and academic pursuits of their children emphasizing the importance of raising the standard of academic achievement for their child. Grace Place Chairman, Robert Furek and CEO, Dr. Tim Ferguson announced their commitment to developing their mission in Southwest Florida, creating pathways out of poverty by educating children and families. By working to provide educational opportunities to the entire family unit Grace Place hopes to be the catalyst for a community-wide movement to remove the barriers to economic mobility and personal success. Last year, Grace Place embarked on its initiative as a 21st Century Community Learning Center in the region with grant-funding to support afterschool programs that ensure quality standards for program design and service delivery of their literacy education curriculum. In 2016, Grace Place opened their Van Domelen Education Center housing 4 new classrooms and office space for its growing student population and team of educators. The organization has since had the capacity to provide a foundation for family literacy for parents and children with coursework that serves as the building blocks for a journey to self-sufficiency and lasting success.
The AP Leadership Program is a three-tiered program that encompasses all high school grade levels, requiring students to participate in an after-school program focusing on college and career preparation activities, college visits, ACT preparation assistance and financial literacy workshops. In the final stages of the program, students will be offered part-time employment as teaching assistants in the Academy of Leaders after-school program along with additional mentorship opportunities. Students learn and practice essential skills such as effective communication, problem solving, conflict management, managing tasks and leadership skills. Leadership and mentorship opportunities incorporate weekly participation in the Teen Outreach Program that includes professional training, team-building and role-playing activities that reduce the risk of problem- behavior, promote healthy choices and empower teens to actively engage in their educational experience, strive for active career development and build stronger communities. Funding continues its support of this continually expanding program by supplementing fees for college preparation workshops and high school counselor coordination, supplies and materials for meetings and retreats, college visits and mentorship events.
The Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco manages adoption services that enable children living in foster care to realize the dream of finding a permanent, loving family while raising awareness and fostering education about foster children in need of a stable, nurturing home. The Heart Gallery exhibit brings the community closer to the faces and voices of foster children with photography and personal information on each child in search of a family. The Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco was created in partnership with Eckerd Community Alternatives, the leading, licensed foster care provider in Pinellas and Pasco County with a mission of providing innovative programs that help to promote the adoption and enrichment of foster care children.
The Video Recruitment Project gives children long-awaiting adoption due to age, sibling group, length of stay or a troubling family history the opportunity to play a role in their own recruitment and a personally connected vehicle for reaching potential adoptive parents that is made available online, at exhibits and through care managers. Each child has the opportunity to share their thoughts, wishes, and hopes and develop a personal relationship with potential families that provides insight to each child's personality and personal needs. Funding supports expenses associated with production and editing, DVD and digital media copies and website accessibility for approximately 6-10 children awaiting adoption. In addition, the Digital Gallery project would allow the Heart Gallery of Pinellas & Pasco to expand our use of digital galleries throughout Pinellas and Pasco counties. The digital display loops photographs and videos of currently available children in foster care, providing heightened exposure for children in high traffic community spaces. While requiring a higher upfront cost, the digital galleries are more cost effective over time as they may be updated remotely, and are able to feature more children in one space. Funding would provide for a digital gallery in the community, at a location to be determined. This gallery would be our first compact digital gallery better suited to local spaces such as banks or high traffic waiting areas or lobbies, and give us a template to use for additional similar galleries throughout our community.
The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay manages adoption services that enable children living in foster care to realize the dream of finding a permanent, loving family while raising awareness and fostering education about foster children in need of a stable, nurturing home. The Heart Gallery exhibit brings the community closer to the faces and voices of foster children with photography and personal information on each child in search of a family. The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay is a collaborative effort of the Children’s Board and Camelot Community Care, Tampa Bay’s leading child welfare and behavioral health agency providing foster care services, case management, adoptions and therapeutic counseling with the goal of achieving permanency and a successful transition to independent living for foster children in Hillsborough County. This year, the Heart Gallery launched their new website with a functional design layout that boasts a user-friendly navigation to available children and adoption information, a back-end tracking system to input inquiries from prospective parents and partnering lead agencies, and mobile compatibility for prospective parents to access child availability updates and requests for information from any device.
The Video Recruitment Project gives children long-awaiting adoption due to age, sibling group, length of stay or a troubling family history the opportunity to play a role in their own recruitment and a personally connected vehicle for reaching potential adoptive parents that is made available online, at exhibits and through care managers. Each child has the opportunity to share their thoughts, wishes, and hopes and develop a personal relationship with potential families that provides insight to each child's personality and personal needs. Funding supports expenses associated with production and editing, DVD and digital media copies and website accessibility for approximately 20 children awaiting adoption. The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay will place a focus on teen adoption recruitment. Research suggests a myriad of negative outcomes for teens who age out of foster care, including low rates of economic mobility and education paired with higher instances of destructive behaviors, psychological instabilities and involvement in the criminal justice system. The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay’s video recruitment project seeks to connect these youth with forever families, and permanent, loving homes that support social and emotional well-being, stability and self-sufficiency.
Heartland for Children is a community-based care child welfare agency that provides child welfare management for the regional foster care system, overseeing the provision of services for abused, neglected and abandoned children including case management, adoption, individual and family counseling services and independent living. Heartland for Children (HFC) is currently serving over 2,000 children and is the non-profit lead agency overseeing Community Based Care in Circuit 10, which encompasses Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties. As the Child Welfare Lead Agency, HFC is concerned with the welfare of children in our community, and as such, our mission is to improve the safety, permanency and well- being for all children in Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties. Heartland strives to improve the standard of safety, permanency and wellbeing of foster care youth, providing additional resources for a well- rounded, high-quality of life for the typically underserved children living within the foster care system. Additionally, Heartland for Children coordinates a community wide effort to provide information and resources to parents/caregivers, professionals, business partners and community leaders on how each person in our community can help contribute to preventing child abuse and neglect.
The Foster Family Appreciation Program holds activities, celebrations and achievement recognition events for foster children and their families with fun-filled field trips including a day at a local theme park (Busch Gardens, Lego Land, Sea World and Universal Studios) and the opportunity for foster parents, children and their, often separated, siblings to nurture their relationship, spend quality time enjoying each other and create lasting memories as well as engaging in crucial learning experiences that help to build a mentoring relationship bond. Building trusting relationships with positive role models allows children who have experienced trauma find the social and emotional support they need to develop coping skills and make healthy choices. Remaining funds support after-school outings and activities in recognition of academic achievement for foster children who have maintained good grades and attendance in school. Children living in foster care are rarely afforded the opportunity to participate in many of the social, extracurricular activities that create fulfilling childhood memories. These activities allow foster children to have positive social and emotional experiences that are critical to healthy personal growth and development while providing positive incentives for their commitment to their academic studies.
Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth (HANDY) provides education and empowerment opportunities to abused, neglected and abandoned youth living in foster or relative care with comprehensive programming that focuses on youth development, positive mentoring, and financial self-sufficiency upon transition to independence. HANDY offers vulnerable youth in need of positive attention and care with personalized case management, educational support services, recreational activities and life skills counseling. Children placed with a Relative/Non Relative Caregiver are not eligible for the services that Foster Care children receive, even though they are facing the same fears, anxieties, and feelings of hopelessness. Most of these caregivers are economically disadvantaged living on fixed incomes. HANDY meets the individual needs of these children and youth by providing a network of support and guidance, a surrogate family as HANDY staff says, that creates a lasting bond. These positive mentor relationships allow youth from difficult circumstances to heal, grow, learn and flourish as productive, self-sufficient members of their community. HANDY’s Stars for Life Program gives struggling at-risk youth tutoring and afterschool activities in middle and high school to improve academic performance and motivate each student to reach their full potential, pursue higher education and build self confidence. This year, HANDY was recognized as the “Organization of the Year” at the Annual South Florida Community Care Network Non-Profit Academy Awards for its accomplishments in shaping young lives and families across the region’s diverse community.
With an enhanced focus on education, HANDY combines case management and educational programs in a supportive, family-like environment. HANDY’s programs are modeled on the nationally recognized, culturally competent curriculum from Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care and building Communities of Hope for children and families across America. the LIFE (Life skills, Independent living, Foundation building, Education/Employment) Program, which has provided hands-on life skills training, independent living assistance, youth development services, mentoring linkages and facilitation, employability skills training and placement, individual case management, educational tutelage and access to major colleges in the state of Florida. Through this program, HANDY has provided these services to more than 500 youth, ages 9-14, during after school hours. Currently, HANDY has approximately 35 youth ages 9-14 actively participating in HANDY’s Youth Development Component of the LIFE Program, (formerly known as STARS for LIFE), with a waiting list of approximately 15-20 youth. HANDY has provided afternoon tutoring, utilizing a minimum of two Broward County teachers, to assist in providing educational guidance for youth and we also work hand in hand with our local school officials and HANDY’s Director of Education to make sure the needs of our students are met effectively. At least three of our community based staff is TOP certified and we have a high retention and attendance rate for this age group. The LIFE program seeks to increase academic success, facilitate high school graduation and enrollment post-secondary education and training; increase knowledge of life skills and pre-employment and social competencies; increase self- sufficiency for by assisting in securing and maintaining gainful employment; and prevent incidence of negative social behaviors often associated with youth involved in the dependency system.
Jack & Jill Children’s Center is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for children of low- income, hard-working families through the provision of quality early childhood education, family intervention and support services. With a unique, holistic approach that combines high-quality early education with caring and structured family support, Jack & Jill Children’s Center works to provide a strong educational and emotional foundation for at-risk children that allows them to explore and experience their world with creativity and discovery. The early childhood education curriculum supports cognitive, social, emotional and physical development, their goal is to provide opportunities for children of working families with hands-on instruction and activities that promote language and literacy skills, and core competencies in social studies, science, mathematics and the arts. Jack & Jill’s early childhood program focuses on children ages 6 weeks –7 years, during a critical time in a child’s cognitive, social and emotional development, providing a strong educational foundation as well as health and well-being that results in lifelong success for 260 children annually. Providing safe and stimulating learning environment enables low-income children to explore and experience their world through creativity, guiding them towards independence.
The Promising Futures Scholarship Fund provides high-quality early childhood education for children of low-income, underserved families as well as family support services. The fund provides 50 low-income children, ages 6 weeks through 5 years of age, with financial assistance so that they may receive affordable, nationally accredited early childhood education. Families who participate in this program are required to maintain employment and work towards self-sufficiency. Through this program, families increase financial stability, maintain employment, achieve job advancement, decrease the risk for incidences of abuse and neglect, and foster their child’s healthy growth and development. As a result, parents gain confidence, children perform and behave better at home and in the classroom, and families function at higher levels of stability. Jack & Jill aims to break the cycle of poverty by improving the educational opportunities provided to low- income families through the integration of early childhood education, parent education, work empowerment classes and family intervention and support. Teachers engage children in activities including art, math, literacy, science, music, puzzles, manipulatives, and physical education using a culturally rich, nationally known Creative Curriculum©. This award- winning, research-based curriculum is widely regarded as a forward-thinking, comprehensive, rigorously researched curriculum approach that honors creativity and respects the role that teachers play in making learning exciting and relevant for every child. Activities are designed to meet specific goals for social, physical, cognitive and language development. As a result, children become more social, forming friendships and playing in groups, and learning to get along and share with others.
Lighthouse Ministries provides faith-based emergency shelter care to aid children and families who have been the victims of domestic abuse, homelessness and severe financial hardship. Lighthouse Ministries programs offer guidance, support and stability during critical stages of growth and development and work to minimize the affects of trauma and abuse. Children fives years and younger have the opportunity to attend their on-campus community pre-school while older children attend a local public school. The Lighthouse Community Preschool serves resident children as well as those in the surrounding community providing an comprehensive early education curriculum that is a framework for cognitive, social and emotional development in a stable and supportive environment. All children in the emergency care program participate in the Lighthouse KIDCARE program that provides specialized counseling, pediatric healthcare, case management and academic assistance to overcome developmental delays due to stress, inconsistency, and inadequate nurturance and stimulation. Lighthouse KIDcare provides counseling, case management, academic tutoring and training, and peer interaction. The Hobbs Foundation Kids Technology Center gives children the opportunity to learn computer skills, complete their homework, receive additional tutoring, and participate in group learning activities.
Lighthouse Ministries seeks funding to refurbish and enhance their children’s recreation center, as part of Lighthouse KidCare Program, that gives resident children a safe, inviting space that inspires a passion for learning, creative and stimulating play, and engaging social interaction with family, mentors and peers. Equipment and technology for the children’s recreation center allows for live educational demonstrations, hands-on learning projects, and interest-based extracurricular activities that work to promote academic success, reduce anxiety and encourage at-risk children to develop healthy social skills, self-confidence, and engage in structured, experiential learning that reduces impulse behavior and boosts academic performance.
Metropolitan Ministries provides emergency shelter care to children and families who have been victims of homelessness and severe financial hardship with comprehensive programming that aims to alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency. Metropolitan Ministries provides temporary shelter, meals, clothing, education and counseling services to bring wealth of resources to families in need. MM has grown from a small emergency homeless shelter to a full service social services agency serving the needs of homeless and at-risk families. In the last year, MM has served 339 families in our Uplift U® and Hope Hall Emergency Shelter housing programs and 29,226 families in Outreach. The PromiseLand Childcare Center and Partnership School provides education and socio-cognitive development services for children of homeless families with small class sizes, individualized tutoring and a targeted development plan to suit each child’s unique needs along with constructive afterschool activities and summer programs. MM serves homeless children and their families living in MM’s on-site and off-site housing units. The following programs are provided to children 0-12 on campus: early childhood education, early head start and head start (through partnerships), a Hillsborough Co. Partnership School serving grades K-5, and an Out of School Time program (after school and summer). Last year 375 students were provided supportive educational services through our PromiseLand Early Childhood Education program. As part of the program, several assessments and tools are used to track children’s needs, including the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) Assessment and Galileo assessments. Results of these measures showed many children deficient in problem solving, fine motor skills and some limitations in gross motor skills. Much evidence suggests that exposure to trauma at an early age specifically impacts the development of executive function in young children. With the amount of trauma experienced by the homeless children we serve, it is not surprising that challenges in executive function are the result of these experiences. Through the therapeutic resource program we have learned more about the development of executive function and the effects of trauma in child development; such as problem solving skills, communication, impulse control and overall school readiness skills.
Metropolitan Ministries’ PromiseLand Therapeutic program will evaluate the executive function needs of the children in their care using the NIH Tool Box Flanker Inhibitory and Control Attention Test and the Hearts and Flowers Assessment to establish a baseline and select, and develop curriculum to address the deficiencies. The goal of the PromiseLand Therapeutic program is to build on the knowledge obtained in the past few years as MM has incorporated evidence-based practices and to improve executive function and reading in the children they serve. Activities will be developed to address problem solving skills and executive function. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, "homeless children experience a high rate of acute and chronic health problems. The constant barrage of stressful and traumatic experiences also has profound effects on their development and ability to learn." MM has initiated the Sanctuary Model of Trauma Informed Care throughout all programs to address these challenges of the homeless children they serve. Funding supports materials and curriculum for the PromiseLand Early Education and Afterschool Program for children ages 0-12.
MOSI is a community-based educational institution dedicated to advancing public interest, knowledge and an understanding of science, industry and technology with innovative exhibitions and interactive experiences to engage diverse audiences. MOSI’s children’s programs supplement the academic curriculum with a wide variety of hands-on programming engineered to make learning fun and stimulate interest in science that inspires the future leaders of 21st century industry. The number of low-income children who discovered that spark of interest in STEAM is significant, and possibly made the difference in future career choices. MOSI's Summer Science Camp brings science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) alive through hands-on experiments and building projects. From finding rocks to launching rockets, taking a simulated journey to the moon, or making rock music, MOSI is about doing real science with the tools and technology used by professionals. MOSI Summer Science Camps inspire campers with a "can do" attitude and exposure to many careers that are available. Real science coupled with exciting experiments, simulations, explorations, and inventions helps students discover the innovator within. Designing video games, programming robots to gather data on “offworld planets”, creating art with lasers, searching for fossils, solving crimes and cooking up edible slime are just some of the hundreds of Summer Science Camp experiences. Students can select the camp that most interests them.
The Summer Science Camp Program offers a variety of hands-on learning experiences that promote creative discovery, invention and critical thinking skills. By combining real science with the tools and technology used by science professionals, MOSI exposes children to exciting experiments, simulations, explorations and inventions that help children discover their innovator within. Funding provides 40-45 economically disadvantaged students with scholarships to participate in a summer science camp. Qualified students must demonstrate Title I eligibility in the Hillsborough County school system.
OASIS Network of Tampa provides new and gently used clothing and personal items to low-income public school students by way of school system administrators and social workers in order to meet the basic needs of students and limit the barriers that economic hardship has on the potential for academic success and healthy development of underserved children. Donated items are acquired through a variety of local partnerships with the YMCA, schools, churches and Publix stores. The School District of Hillsborough County currently educates approximately 210,000 students, with more than 60% qualifying for the federal free lunch program (living at or below the poverty level). This percentage is up from 48% when OASIS was founded. Approximately half of the students in the school district are minorities and 3,500 students are homeless. OASIS utilizes a unique and innovative method to direct resources where they are most needed. The School Social Workers, employed by the school district and located at the schools, identify the students in need and assess their requirements. Each Social Worker, at the more than 230 schools in the district, is authorized to access the OASIS Network warehouses, located at four school district facilities around the county, to obtain the items that will directly meet the needs of their students. The warehouse facilities are provided by the district for no charge to OASIS. In order to serve higher pockets of poverty and offer increased convenience, OASIS opened a fourth site in Seffner in early 2015. The site is fully functional and is a success serving students attending schools near Brandon, Riverview, Valrico, Gibsonton, Seffner, and Plant City. During the 2015-16 school year, an average of 15-20 visits were made by School Social Workers each month. This site is meeting the needs of the students who attend schools in Area 8 that have higher poverty rates, with 66% of their students receiving free and reduced lunch compared to 60% county-wide. Area 8 has eight Title I elementary schools where 75% or more of their students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. The land mass of Hillsborough County is equal to the size of the state of Rhode Island, thus OASIS’ ability to reach pockets of higher poverty in the county is critical.
Approximately half of the 142 elementary schools in the district REQUIRE that students wear uniforms. Middle schools are also requiring uniforms along with the “alternative” education high schools. These schools are all served by OASIS. Research demonstrates that uniforms can be beneficial, especially to economically disadvantaged students, because they can level the playing field and eliminate distractions. However, many families find it challenging to purchase the required clothing. OASIS Network is critical to addressing the need for uniform clothing in Hillsborough County’s poorest schools. The Supervisor of School Social Workers identifies the highest need schools in the district based on the percentage of students who receive free and reduced lunch. OASIS Network continues to expand their uniform program to address the growing uniform needs among the county’s poorest schools. Funding supports the purchase of 2 sets of uniform clothing; 2 shirts and 2 shorts for more than 500 low-income students in public schools identified by county social workers as the area’s most needy schools.
Place of Hope is a faith-based child welfare agency with an array of services for children in need including emergency shelter care, family-style residential group home care for foster children, traditional foster care and adoption services, family outreach and intervention services, transitional housing and a stable, nurturing home environment for abused, neglected and abandoned children, and Hope House, FL, a safe house that offers professional case management, independent living services and educational opportunities for children who are victims of human trafficking. Place of Hope launched a Human Trafficking Initiative in which we provide comprehensive support services for the victims of labor and sex trafficking throughout all of our programs. These services include professional case management, access to quality medical care, counseling and therapy, tutoring, mentoring, essential life-skills development, hope, and healing opportunities. In addition to this, we provide consistent residential care, supervision, and healthy influences that strive to meet each of our children and youth’s physical, emotional, social, educational, and spiritual needs. The Place of Hope program model strives to instill a consistent, structured alternative home where children who have experienced trauma or abuse can learn core values in forming healthy relationships, demonstrating personal responsibility and character development. Place of Hope strives to foster and support healthy and productive lives, free from fear, endangerment, and most of all, abuse. Children and families can find dignity, guidance, and hope through a variety of comprehensive educational and therapeutic programs. Place of Hope was ranked as the number one rated nonprofit for Youth Development, Shelter, and Crisis Services in the nation by Charity Navigator.
Place of Hope continues their funding request of support to purchase clothing and undergarments for a significant increase in incoming foster children placed in their family cottages, and emergency shelter and assessment center, approximately 150 children. The organization works to provide a stable, loving home that maintains a sense of permanency that enables personal growth and healthy development, minimizing the trauma and stress associated with the transition to foster care by addressing their basic needs. Children entering foster care often come from an unstable living situation with no clothing or personal belongings. Each child receives their necessary clothing and a “blessing bag” that includes a Bible, blanket, toy, and toiletries.
Real Life Children’s Ranch provides faith-based residential group home care for abused, neglected and abandoned children with a family atmosphere and nurturing home environment needed for a fulfilling and productive future. The team at Real Life Children’s Ranch works to provide ongoing support and teach children about the richness of a well-rounded life with the consistency that emulates a healthy family home. Real Life Children's Ranch has a large campus with over 30 acres for the children to live and play. The beautifully wooded and open landscape at the Ranch allows children the opportunity for numerous outdoor activities. Playgrounds, horseback riding, basketball courts, volley ball areas, and provide year round fun and adventures for the children they serve. Real Life Children’s Ranch provides a loving, caring environment where the children learn the richness of a well-rounded life. Their campus is comprised of 4 constructed homes, each housing up to six foster children, the staff and their children. Each home has a set of full time professional parents which creates the basis for a consistent level of care proven successful because it so closely emulates family life. The Ranch strives to keep siblings together, and has a significant sibling group population of children on their campus.
The Outdoor Adventure Program provides a safe and educational camping experience that promotes personal growth, self-discovery, teamwork and leadership skills at regional parks and campsites. Activities include backpacking, whitewater rafting, zip line excursions, biking, skiing, snowboarding, etc. The program seeks to give disadvantaged children a fun and memorable experience that builds character and self-confidence.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay provides a home-away-from-home for families with children receiving medical treatment in bay area hospitals and allows parents and guardians to stay in close proximity to provide comfort and loving care to their child during a critical time of need. Each year, 2,000 families stay at one of our four houses for the comfort, care, and support while being close to their child’s bedside. In 2015, we served 41 families of pediatric bone marrow transplant (BMT) patients who stayed at our St. Pete West Ronald McDonald House in partnership with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hopsital. These children require special precautions to minimize the risk of infections and illnesses that could jeopardize their health post- transplant. Extended hospital stays often cause financial stress as parents take long absences from work and travel back and forth. Without a place to stay that accommodates their special set of needs, these families would be putting their child in harm’s way and would find themselves in deeper financial difficulties by staying at a nearby hotel. The Ronald McDonald House removes this burden for low-income BMT families.
This year, through July, RMH West has already served 32 BMT families who have stayed 663 nights. RMH projections for the second half of the year will show a corresponding increase, thereby continuously increasing the total number of BMT families and night stays through 2016 and 2017. Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay is requesting a grant-funds from the Hobbs Foundation to supplement the cost of 125 bone marrow transplant family night stays. The average stay per night across all Tampa Bay Ronald McDonald Houses is $80, however, for these families the cost to accommodate the special needs of their children will pose challenges to the organization’s operating budget. Funding supports accommodation and support services for an additional 1,750 families in 2017.
The Salvation Army, St. Petersburg provides family-style residential group home, emergency shelter care and child-focused counseling services to abused, neglected and abandoned children with a diverse team of community volunteers, officers and staff who are passionately committed to meeting the urgent human needs; encouraging salvation and offering hope, dignity and the opportunity to achieve self-reliance. Children’s Village offers long-term foster children a stable, caring living environment in traditional single family homes where they can learn to count on family, friends, school, church and their community with a dedicated support system in place to guide them as learn and grow. Sallie House is a safe haven for emergency shelter care for children who have been removed from their homes until a more permanent placement can be established. Directly adjacent to the Children’s Village and Sallie House property is The Salvation Army, St. Petersburg Citadel. At the Citadel, The Salvation Army assists at-risk youth by providing a weekly Character Building Program. The goal of the program is to help children build positive social and communication habits, decision making and life skills, and build character and leadership skills. In addition, the Citadel’s Community Center provides a safe haven for young people to come and participate in organized athletics.
The Enrichment Experiences Project provides foster children with the opportunity to experience and be exposed to positive social and cultural influences that lead to a greater sense of perspective, purpose and self-esteem while increasing critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for higher academic performance. Activities include educational field trips and after-school outings to parks, zoos, movies, museums, sporting events etc. Activity funds also support the Community Outreach Center where children served in both Sallie House and Children’s Village have a space for organized sports and other recreational activities that promote a productive, safe outlet for children to grow socially, emotionally and physically, learning the importance of team work, goal-setting and discipline. Remaining funds support repair and revitalization to the community center’s courtyard and playground space that allows for new rubberized foundation, picnic tables and playground equipment for children and teens to enjoy outdoor recreational play.
Voices For Children provides support for abused, neglected and abandoned children in the Tampa Bay community while the judicial system searches for a safe and healthy permanent foster home to place those children removed from their homes. The state child welfare system does not have the resources to fully address all of the needs of children in care. The goal of Voices For Children is to augment the supportive services by providing personal, educational, medical and legal support and appointing a Guardian ad Litem to act in each child’s individual interests, identifying and developing additional resources in order to ease the transition of children to foster care. This includes, but is not limited to, recruiting, training, and supporting court appointed Guardians ad Litem so that they may, in turn, provide the dependency courts with the full picture of each child’s individual interests. Voices for Children of Tampa Bay, Inc. believes that the ultimate goal of providing this dedicated advocacy to 100% of the abused, neglected, and abandoned children in our community will allow the dependency system to effectively determine the best interest of each child.
The Children’s Needs Fund provides children placed in emergency care under the state child welfare system with the basic needs that allows them the opportunity for a higher quality of life and a feeling of normalcy that eases their adjustment to their new environment, facilitates their involvement in everyday childhood activities and emotional stability that prepares them for placement with a foster family or group home. Funding is used to provide clothing, personal items, toiletries, school supplies, furniture, and bedding to fulfill the basic needs of children who have been abruptly removed from their homes, often times, with no personal belongings with them. Remaining funds supports the costs of foster family recruitment efforts that help connect each child to the Heart Gallery and Eckerd Youth Alternatives to facilitate their adoption with a forever family.
Youth Haven provides a residential group home, emergency shelter care, and social support services to abused, neglected and abandoned children including life skills education, child and substance abuse prevention, homelessness and crisis intervention, and individual and group counseling services. Youth Haven’s comprehensive continuum of care offers children a safe and caring home environment with the inspiration, guidance and support needed for healthy growth and development. Their secluded campus affords children who have suffered from trauma and abuse a sense of comfort and security with a range of outdoor recreational and social activities. Their emergency shelter is an immediate lifeline of safety and compassion for severely traumatized children that have been removed from their homes. Children between the ages of 6 to 17, which are referred to our programs, stay on the average of 104 days and possibly longer. In the teen program the number of girls that are homeless is slightly higher than that young men. Their needs are unique and with a therapeutic program focused on prevention, they will have opportunities to test their thinking on self-image, self-worth, and develop skills that will be empowering and life-sustaining. Youth Haven will host a ceremonial ground breaking to launch construction of a new residential cottage. The new cottage will house 24 needed beds to serve Youth Haven’s Homeless Teen and Transitional Living Program.
Youth Haven’s therapeutic and preventative programs reach deep into the community touching the lives of over 3,000 youth. Finding solutions through effective prevention techniques, is a critical step in our approach to lasting recovery. The team of mental health clinicians of the Children & Family Counseling Center at Youth Haven offers compassionate care to help mend lives. Clinical staff provide traditional therapies, in addition to evidence-based practices for individual and family counseling. Staff maintain special training, credentials and experience working with children, youth and teens. Highly innovative in their approaches to best serve the needs of the children, they use play and sand therapy, animal assisted therapy and art therapy. These therapeutic approaches are unique in Southwest Florida for children experiencing abuse, separation from family connections, and homelessness. In addition to the clinical support, counseling services is available to all of the children in residency with a therapist positioned in the shelters during the day. Through a very hands on approach, group sessions and recreational activities encourage girls to rethink self-image, self-concept and develop stronger self-esteem. The curriculum was developed five years ago, and has been enhanced each year by clinical and recreational staff to focus on the prevention needs of girls throughout childhood. The project will be supervised by a licensed therapist and groups are run by interns and para-professionals. Funding supports an extension of the therapeutic and preventative programs to target the increase number of girls ages 6-17. Youth Haven selects current residents, called “Youth Ambassadors” who have demonstrated positive leadership skills, and understand the importance of thanking the community for the opportunities they have been given through our partnerships.