June 2013

A safe space for children and teens

At only nine years old, Trina had a reputation for aggressive behavior. Teachers referred her to Faulk Center for Counseling's in-school weekly group sessions. During one activity, the children were asked to write something positive on notecards about each other. When Trina read the cards describing her, she was surprised by the nice comments. Although she was known for fighting in school, the children in her group recognized her as caring and respectful — and this positive acknowledgment from her peers had a profound impact on her own self-perception.

Later that week, she encountered two girls in the hallway who, according to Trina, were "looking for a fight." Rather than respond aggressively, she thought about the words on the notecards and decided not to be a "bad person" because there were many "good things" about herself. During the next group meeting, Trina proudly shared her experience, and then placed a notecard in the center of their circle. It said, "You are all nice and caring. I feel safe here."

Through funding assistance from The Jim Moran Foundation, the Faulk Center for Counseling delivers its School Preventative Counseling program to nearly 170 youth in 12 elementary and middle schools in low-income areas of Palm Beach County. Each year, approximately 75% of participating students show significant improvement in their emotional, social and behavioral functioning.

To explore the Faulk Center for Counseling's programs, visit its website.

Helping students connect school with career opportunities

During KAPOW field trips, students go behind-the-scenes at a variety of companies to better understand how staying in school translates to brighter futures.

Classes were more meaningful this year for nearly 1,500 students at 14 Broward County elementary and middle schools thanks to Learning for Success and its network of close to 300 teachers and volunteers.

Through the organization's Kids and the Power of Work Program (KAPOW), school administrators, teachers, businesses and volunteers collaborated to provide school-to-work lessons throughout the year, culminating with field trips to local companies. These interactions helped students relate what they learned in the classroom each day to exciting potential careers.

Learning for Success launched KAPOW at one school in 1991 and has since steadily expanded to serve thousands of children in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The Jim Moran Foundation provided a first-time grant to support the Broward program for the 2012/2013 school year.

Visit the Learning for Success Facebook page for more information.

Preparing youth for successful futures

"Being part of Bridgeworks Plus has made me a better leader and improved my communication skills," said Jasha, pictured here with a patient during her internship.

The Bridge of Northeast Florida is located in an impoverished community of Duval County with low graduation and high unemployment rates. Through its Bridgeworks Plus and Mentoring Partnerships program, the organization encourages and equips students to graduate high school while preparing for college or vocational school, employment or the military.

After participants successfully complete many months of job skills training, mentoring, and career and college tours, they are eligible to interview for paid internships offered by local companies and subsidized by funding partners, including The Jim Moran Foundation.

In the summer of 2012, Jasha interned at a local nursing and rehabilitation center for 15 hours each week — providing her with important work experience in her field of interest. Following graduation this month, she will continue with another internship before attending Florida State College at Jacksonville with assistance from a Bridge scholarship.

Illustrating how significant The Bridge and its caring staff members have been for her future, Jasha said, "Ms. Lolita [Bridgeworks Plus staff member] has been a great help to me and my family when I was in need of assistance my senior year. I would not be able to graduate in my cap and gown if she had not stepped in..."

To learn more about The Bridge of Northeast Florida, visit their Facebook page.