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Community Connections

Sharing the good work of our nonprofit partners in North and South Florida

June 2016

One family's journey towards independence

The Lord

Ray and Dissirie with their children: (from left) twins Nushell and Ricardo, age 16; Aaron, age 6; and Trenton, age 15.

Ray and Dissirie recently moved into an apartment with their four children on the Family Campus of The Lord's Place in Palm Beach County after being homeless for many months.

They previously operated a home cleaning service; however, because of a sluggish economy and Dissirie's worsening health problems, their business suffered. Finances were ultimately stretched so thin that, for the first time in their lives, they could not afford to pay rent and put food on the table. As a result, the family lost their apartment. Since arriving at The Lord's Place, the couple has completed job training programs: Ray in culinary arts and Dissirie in clerical. Working with their job coach, Ray gained employment in the food service industry and Dissirie secured a receptionist position. Over the next six to nine months, they will save for their future while participating in financial coaching and other services to help them regain self-sufficiency.

The Jim Moran Foundation's two-year grant to The Lord's Place provides case management and support for homeless families in interim housing.

Welcome home to The Arc Jacksonville Village

Ryan at The Arc Jacksonville Village

Asked what he likes best about his new digs, Ryan declared with a grin, "It's mine. I can live on my own."

Thirty-year-old Ryan is living the good life at The Arc Jacksonville Village, a recently constructed neighborhood of affordable rental apartments featuring on-site services and community activities for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Recounting his recent housewarming party, Ryan laughed as he quoted one friend's impression, "Wow man, I love this place...I'm jealous!" On the wall, he proudly displays his 2014 certificate for five years of service delivering mail at the Public Defender's Office and an article from The Florida Times Union featuring a photograph of him and his friend Josh, also a Village resident. Near the front door is a plaque from his parents that reads: "Until you spread your wings, you have no idea how far you can fly." Now on his own for the first time, Ryan is soaring.

Last year, in honor of what would have been Jim Moran's 97th birthday, The Jim Moran Foundation awarded a grant that provided staffing to support Village residents as they transition and live independently.

Foster youth build bright futures

Children

Alexandra and staff from Children's Harbor at the recent graduation ceremony.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandra arrived at Children's Harbor nine months ago after several foster care placements. She had been held back in high school and was not attending classes. At Children's Harbor, Alexandra met with her life coach and received an academic assessment. She decided to enroll in a GED program, and on the eve of her 18th birthday, she passed the GED exam with flying colors. With new opportunities on the horizon, Alexandra will soon move into her own apartment and begin classes at Broward College.

The Jim Moran Foundation's multi-year grant to Children's Harbor provides academic tutoring, mentoring and life skills training for children and teens in its Sibling Homes and Residential Maternity Home in Broward County. During the 2015/2016 school year, all of the youth who call Children's Harbor "home" were promoted to the next grade and 25% were on the honor roll.