Sulphur Springs Youth Leadership Council, Tampa, Florida
The Rays Baseball Foundation’s All Start Grant provides funding to support the Sulphur Springs Youth Leadership Council (Youth Spring into Action), which formally started in May, 2010 and has 17 youth actively involved. This Youth Council was created when the community voiced the need for more resources for the neighborhood youth. The purpose of the Sulphur Springs Youth Initiative is to collaborate with community partners to create opportunities for leadership development, positive out-of-school activities, and community service projects for neighborhood youth and general community involvement, This practice is inherent in the Devereux Kids strength based philosophy of services, which requires us to seek full participation and engagement of those impacted by our services as we develop and implement program services. The overall mission is to assist residents and community leaders in Sulphur Springs in building its capacity to be a healthy and safe community for the children, families and residents who live there.
Keith Babb, our Community Facilitator (pictured bottom right) works as a mentor and advisor to the youth to increase their leadership skills and involvement by encouraging them to plan and implement community service projects and activities for other youth. The youth’s response to the project has been fantastic. In addition to the community service projects, they will attend workshops on personal and professional development. Devereux Kids provides opportunities for young people to give back to their communities by offering strength-based training curriculum models designed to encourage youth to connect and form relationships with each other.
On July 9th, The Rays treated the Youth Council to a game as a reward for the great work they’ve done so far. The Council prepared a presentation and met with the Board of Directors and staff prior to the game. (pictured above) The Youth Council was recently awarded a Community Enrichment Grant by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to support the work they’re doing in their community.
Back to School Supported by Devereux’s Donors
The school year is underway and Devereux’s children began the challenge well supplied with new backpacks, pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons and calculators—all generously donated by you, our donors.
Devereux donors purchased and dropped off supplies at various Office Depot and Pollo Tropical locations and Devereux received 100 filled backpacks from The Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Glazer Family Foundation. A Stuff the Bus event was held at The Avenues in Viera where many turned out to “stuff a bus” with supplies. We are very grateful to all the realtors at Viera Realty who contributed dollars so that additional supplies could be purchased. The Eau Gallie Rotary, Suntree United Methodist Church and Walgreen’s employees also made significant contributions toward the backpack drive.
Once all the backpacks and supplies were gathered, volunteers from RSVP, Kohl’s Department Store, Citizens’ Observer Patrol and Everglades University spent two days filling and carefully labeling each backpack. The entire charge was led by Cherie Faircloth, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who is dedicating a year of her time to support Devereux’s backpack drive efforts. Children received the backpacks from their case managers, therapists or support staff from Devereux in the week prior to the beginning of the school year.
All of this hard work meant that more than 1,100 children—from elementary school aged to high schoolers—received backpacks filled with all the basics needed to get the year off on the right foot. 500 more children received unfilled backpack, helping their families defray some of the “back-to-school” costs.
While a backpack and supplies may seem like a small gift, its impact can be dramatic. Starting the school year with a new backpack and supplies “just like the kid next to you” is critical for self-esteem. A Devereux child, already struggling with developmental delays, behavioral challenges, broken homes, or abuse and neglect, benefits enormously from this single gift. More than the crayons, pencils and paper, it is a sign that someone believes in him…and that someone is YOU!
A Message to Our Donors
Dear Devereux Donors,
July 1 marked the beginning of our new fiscal year. For Devereux, the last 12 months proved to be very challenging and very rewarding. We served more children and families needing services than ever before and did so on one of the tightest budgets imaginable. I am very proud of every one of our employees—they positively impact the lives of children and families every day. I’m also very proud of those we serve. They struggle with battles that I can sometimes barely imagine and their steps to successes are enormous.
This hard work—by employee and client—is accomplished, in great part, because of your generosity. For the first time ever, Devereux’s Florida donors provided more than $1.3 million in contributions. Your gifts helped to provide backpacks for school, holiday gifts to children who would otherwise have none; they supported after-school and child abuse prevention programs in high-risk neighborhoods and helped cover to cover the cost of critically needed therapeutic services.
As you read through the articles in this newsletter and throughout the year—as you join us for our Golf Tournament, send a check during the annual appeal or drop off a gift for the holidays—pat yourself on the back. You are doing the most amazing job of all!
Steven J. Murphy
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