February 2015

Museum internship paves the way for future opportunities

Kayla often works with Mika, the Museum's bearded dragon.

Kayla is a bright and ambitious college senior at Florida Atlantic University. She currently interns at the Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) in Fort Lauderdale through its Transition to Independent Living (TIL) program. Funded in part by The Jim Moran Foundation, the program provides former foster care and at-risk youth with valuable work experience and guidance towards self-sufficiency.

"As a child, I was in foster care until my 18th birthday," Kayla said. "I witnessed things and had first-hand experiences that no one should have to go through. As a result, I became motivated to obtain my degree in social work so that I can help children in the system. I am further motivated to earn my law degree in order to work to change policies as these relate to foster care. With my education in social work and my future law degree, I plan to advocate for those going through some of the same struggles I had to face and in the process make the system better.

"Having the opportunity to be a part of MODS and have a professional position is thrilling to me. Not only does this internship allow me the flexibility to attend FAU while earning an income, it is an amazing experience that helps me learn and in the process builds my resume so that I will have a respectable work history that will benefit me in obtaining future jobs.

"At this time, I am currently finishing my last few classes at FAU and preparing to take the LSAT exam. To all of the future TIL interns, I provide this bit of advice - enjoy and appreciate every moment of your time at MODS. It is a huge learning experience and a great opportunity to get your foot in the door in the working world. I am grateful for this program, the people and for the Museum."

For more information, please contact TIL program Director Charlotte Zolotor at 954-467-6637, ext. 214

Jacksonville domestic violence shelter expands beds and services

Family Advocate William meets with children living at the shelter

For domestic violence victims in Duval County, Hubbard House provides emergency shelter, case management, counseling, crisis intervention, safety planning, food and clothing, support groups, court advocacy, employment assistance and referral to other resources.

To help meet the demand for shelter space, the nonprofit is expanding its facility. Scheduled for completion next month, the new space will add a kitchen, living room and 10 bedrooms — increasing the number of shelter beds from 86 to 116.

The Jim Moran Foundation supports the Family Advocacy program for those living in the emergency shelter. Advocates meet individually with children and parents on a regular basis to provide assessments and supportive counseling. The program also offers fun activities for children — birthday parties, field trips to the zoo, sports games and more — to nurture a sense of normalcy in a difficult and often traumatic situation. "The expansion will mean thirty more beds, half of which will go to children," said Tammy Taylor, children services manager. "At Hubbard House, we focus on the needs of the whole child, from their basic necessities to counseling to their education. Because of The Jim Moran Foundation and their funding of the family advocacy program, the expansion becomes more than a roof over a victim's head but a place of comfort and support."

Read more about Hubbard House's many programs and services.

Nonprofit delivers healthy produce to seniors in need

With assistance from The Jim Moran Foundation's multi-year grant, the Senior Veggie Mobile visits elderly clients at their homes.

In an area of Palm Beach County where approximately 85% of residents live at or below the poverty line, the Community Caring Center of Greater Boynton Beach serves low-income seniors who are unable to travel to a grocery store or afford high-cost items such as fresh produce.

The organization's dedicated case managers and volunteers pack two pickup trucks and deliver fruits and vegetables to more than 270 seniors each week.

Community Caring Center also plans social activities several times a year. As most clients typically don't leave their homes, these gatherings are very special. With door-to-door transportation provided, eighty seniors recently enjoyed a festive holiday party hosted by the Center which included a hot meal, gifts, games — and most importantly, time with new and old friends.

Reflecting on the impact of the program, Sherry Johnson, executive director of Community Caring Center, said, "I think this will be the one thing that I will look back on and feel such pride to have been a part of making a difference in the community."

Connect with Community Caring Center of Boynton Beach through its website.