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Health & Human Services

2017 Health & Human Services Grants

Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches: This agency has been helping restore families in crisis to stability and self-sufficiency for more than 30 years. Once again, our 2017 grant will equip this agency’s School Readiness Kit program with school supplies, hygiene products, and uniform items to help 150 children return to school. Their ability to supply all students in the household with the right supplies and school uniforms needed to reenter school properly dressed and groomed is a critical step on a family’s path to stability and lays the foundation for a successful academic experience for the student. The students are further empowered with confidence to reenter school because the School Readiness Kit program allows the children to choose their own items. A case worker meets the family at Walmart, and each child can spend $100 on the uniforms, supplies, and hygiene items of their choice which increases their self-esteem as they reenter school. This also allows the parents to use their very limited resources to fund other essential household expenses.

Alzheimer’s Community Care: Alzheimer’s Community Care promotes and provides specialized, quality and compassionate care within a community-based environment for patients and caregivers living with Alzheimer’s disease and related neurocognitive disorders. They help place a safety net around patients and caregivers every day.  Our 2017 grant supports their ID Locator Service which ensures the safety and security of Alzheimer’s patients at risk of wandering and becoming lost. The lightweight bracelets utilize radio frequency technology to allow trained rescue personnel to track the patient in wooded areas, buildings, water and other places where cellular and GPS coverage is limited. Search and rescue time is reduced from hours to minutes, as patients with bracelets are generally located within 30 minutes of the call placed to 911. When a patient is fitted with his/her bracelet, this organization assigns a Project Manager to ensures that caregivers receive proper education on the bracelet’s use and care. S/he also monitors the ongoing operation and condition of the bracelet and schedules band and battery changes. While tracking and rescue is critical, it is equally important to provide caregivers with training to prevent wandering episodes in the first place. When a patient is enrolled in the program, the Project Manager conducts a home safety assessment, provides individual coaching and counseling, and gathers information (including patient photo) to assist law enforcement should a patient become lost. The caregiver is trained to recognize signs of wandering and to implement strategies that prevent potentially fatal events.

Caridad Center: Established in 1992, Caridad’s Dental Clinic has gradually become the largest free dental clinic in Palm Beach County. Services are provided to the uninsured and under-insured in English, Spanish and Creole. A cadre of dedicated volunteers including 51 dentists, 2 pediatric dental residents, 29 dental hygienists and 21 dental assistants work with 4 full-time and 4 part-time dental assistants. The clinic is open Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on Wednesdays until 7:00 p.m. and one Saturday a month.  Pediatric dental services are provided by dentists who see children 44 hours/week and pediatric dental residents who see children 32 hours/week.  Dental hygiene hours are additional and children are seen at least twice each year by a dental hygienist. Individual Oral Health Education is provided by dental assistants and reinforced by the hygienists and dentists. Children remain with the same dentist until completion of the treatment plan unless specialty care, such as a root canal or surgical extractions are required, then another Caridad volunteer joins the team. Access to dental care is particularly difficult as Florida has only one dentist per 9,800 Medicaid-eligible children as only about 1.6% of pediatric dentists are active Medicaid providers. Caridad Pediatric Dental Clinic will provide access to free dental care and dental health education to more than 500 Palm Beach County low-income children.  Our 2017 grant will support expenses incurred in staffing and the purchase/maintenance of the necessary supplies for appropriate dental treatment and procedures.

Children’s Home Society of Florida: Founded in 1902, Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) is the largest and oldest statewide private non-profit organization caring for children in Florida. The Palm Beach Division is one of 15 divisions and our grant will support their Transitions Home program which provides transitional housing and support services to young mothers (ages 13-21) and their babies who are either homeless or in foster care. The program’s goals and accompanying services prepare each mother to become self-sufficient and provide a stable and healthy family environment for herself and her baby. Our grant will support one mother and baby for one month in a transition facility.

Center for Child Counseling: The Center for Child Counseling provides support for young children and caregivers impacted by trauma, violence, and abuse through counseling at local childcare centers in high-risk neighborhoods, shelters for victims of domestic violence, homeless shelters, schools, and their Child & Family Center in Palm Beach Gardens. Early, effective intervention can change the course of a child’s life and is the key to healthy outcomes.  On average, 50 children under the age of 6 are taken from their homes each month in Palm Beach County due to abuse or neglect. This vulnerable population is at the greatest risk for maltreatment because they are not able to care for themselves or verbalize abusive treatment they may be getting at home.  Within 48 hours of being removed, these children are briefly reunited with their parent or caregiver, under supervision, where they discuss their case plan with a court appointed representative. Although this program is partially funded through Medicaid, it is clearly not sufficient.  Our 2017 grant will supplement the assessment and therapeutic needs of 50 children who have been the victims of abuse and entering the foster care system for the first time. Funds will enhance necessary services to provide the level of support needed to make sure that these children and families heal and thrive.

ChildNet:  ChildNet has been chosen by the Florida Department of Children & Families to serve as the Community Based Care (CBC) lead agency in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties. As such, it is the single private non-profit entity responsible for managing the local system of services and supports for the communities’ most vulnerable children.  Our 2017 grant supports their SafePlace program, a trauma-informed intake and placement center for Palm Beach County children brought into the foster care system.  Each month, approximately 70, and as many as 130, children are brought into foster care because of abuse, abandonment and neglect. The goal of SafePlace is to immediately provide children with not only a comforting and non-intimidating environment, but also with the support services they need during this traumatic time period.  By providing an array of behavioral and mental health services specifically tailored for children experiencing trauma, children are better able to cope with the situation and are more likely to communicate important information to staff that is used to identify placements that meet the children’s individual needs. SafePlace provides cares for children from birth to 17 years of age, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  In addition to sheltering the children while placement is located, SafePlace also provides academic, behavioral and emotional support and recreational activities.

Children’s Home Society of Florida:  Founded in 1902, Children’s Home Society of Florida (CHS) is the largest and oldest statewide private non-profit organization caring for children in Florida.  The Palm Beach Division is one of 15 divisions and our grant will support their Transitions Home program which provides transitional housing and support services to young mothers (ages 13-21) and their babies who are either homeless or in foster care.  The program strives to help each mother and child break the cycle of homelessness, poverty and neglect to become a self-sufficient and healthy family unit.  Our 2017 grant will provide 3 months of residential services for 1 mother and her baby. Supportive services include case management, counseling, child care, life skills training, parenting classes, education/ employment assistance, pregnancy prevention education, and transportation. The residents may stay in the program for up to 18 months, possibly longer if in foster care. This extended length of service allows sufficient time to ensure that the babies get a healthy start in life and that the mothers learn the skills needed to support and care for their babies through their childhood years.

Clinics Can Help: Clinics Can Help (CCH) accepts gently used and new durable medical equipment (DME) from individuals and organizations and makes it available to patients who may not otherwise be able to afford such expensive equipment for their physical recovery. Started in 2005, it is the only organization of its kind in Florida and one of the largest in the U.S. that provides this critical assistance.  Our 2017 grant will fund the purchase of 22 Pediatric Adaptive Transit Wheelchairs for children with special needs.  The wheelchairs would also come equipped with transit tie downs (equipment required by law so the child can be transported by school transportation) and a headrest extension for stability.  These wheelchairs would become part of the KINDER Project, a program of Clinics Can Help which provides durable medical equipment and supplies, at no cost, to children with neurological diagnoses, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and fractures, just to name a few.  In the past 12 months, Clinics Can Help has assisted over 202 pediatric patients with special needs.   The wheelchairs provide the gift of mobility, dignity and socialization to the children who use them.  Having the wheelchair enables the child to accompany family and friends on outings and school trips.    Our 2015 grant funded 17 Adaptive Transit Wheelchairs.  Since that time, all of those chairs have been loaned out to children and many of them have already been returned for a larger size as the children have outgrown them, allowing them to help as many children as possible in a very cost effective way.

Feed the Hungry: From feeding 40 families 28 years ago, Feed the Hungry now serves more than 1200 families each month with fresh vegetables, frozen meat, bread and boxes of canned and dry goods.  They serve people throughout the county mainly from Lake Worth through Riviera Beach and out to Belle Glade. About 32% are Haitian, 28% Hispanic, 30% African-American and 10% Caucasian.  There’s no full-time paid staff. And they employee a few part-timers for warehouse work. Hundreds of people volunteer to be sure families have food on the table during the month.  Feed the Hungry doesn’t turn anyone away.  Many of their recipient families include single mothers with 3 or more children.  The next largest category is senior citizens, and many of them are raising grandchildren who lost their parents to AIDs, prison or just abandonment.  Our 2017 grant will help them to continue giving more than 1,200 hungry families over 80 pounds of meat, vegetables, fruit, bread and canned and dry goods every month through their pantry and by transporting to other agencies such as the homeless initiative at the Veteran’s Hospital and senior residences where people line up on walkers and wheel chairs for hours before they bring bread and vegetables.

Grandma’s Place: Palm Beach County has some of the highest rates of child abuse in Florida. About half of the cases were verified as neglect and the other half were cases of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Often removed from their own homes by the courts, these children are brought to shelters frequently arriving in the middle of the night, sometimes with only the clothes on their back. Open 24/7 and 365 days a year, Grandma’s Place is widely known and respected in the child welfare community. They always have a pair of caring arms to welcome each child, as well as providing food, clean clothes and a comfortable bed for up to 16 children. Most children who have experienced trauma due to abuse need mental health therapy in varying degrees to manage the effects on their well-being.  Therapy provided helps children regulate their behaviors & emotions, become less fearful of new situations, be less aggressive and impulsive, improve their ability to sleep, and, for very young children, prevent loss of recently acquired developmental skills. Grandma’s Place also started individual & group therapy sessions using professional Play and Music Therapists.  Our 2017 grant to Grandma’s Place will support qualified program staff for nights, weekends, and holidays who will work hands-on to care for the children, as care is what these children desperately need.

Gratitude House: For the 6th year in a row, we once again in 2017 will continue to support the Mothers and Infants in Treatment Together (MITT) program whose goal is to deliver babies drug-free. One baby is born every hour addicted to opiate drugs in the United States. Add prescription drug abuse, alcohol, marijuana, and other opiates and the number triples. Withdrawal for a newborn is long and painful and is often accompanied with long-term physical and emotional problems. MITT provides comprehensive long-term residential services to low income pregnant women and postpartum moms with substance abuse issues and allows infants up to 1 year to reside in treatment with their mother. They are the only treatment center in Palm Beach County providing long term services for their clients.  The average length of stay ranges from 6-10 months.  Our grant will fund one month of residential services to one mother and her infant.

H.A.C.E.R. Ministry: H.A.C.E.R. (Hispanics in Action for Community Education and Rehabilitation) serves economically distressed families in Palm Beach County providing health education, nutrition programs, a full food pantry and affordable housing programs & education for low-income families.  Their Food Pantry or La Casita provides nutritious meals to low-income children and families in the West Palm Beach area but principally in the 33405 zip code where nearly 25% of residents have incomes below the poverty level.  60% of the residents here are of Hispanic origin, 19% are senior citizens and 59% of children in public schools rely on free or discounted school meals. Many clients need food immediately when a family crisis occurs as low incomes preclude any emergency reserves.  The Food Pantry staff (principally volunteers) collects, stores and distributes food in the local neighborhood which is so important to families who often lack transportation.  Our 2017 grant, once again, will provide 6000 pounds of food which will be distributed to more than 200 families.

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County:  Since its inception in 1986, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies has recognized a tremendous need for basic food and infant essentials that many of our local families cannot afford. As a result, they opened Basics4Babies, an emergency pantry which has focused on distributing free diapers, wipes and basic non-perishable foods available to any family residing in Palm Beach County who demonstrates need.  The pantry focuses on the needs of infants from birth to twelve months and they project growing demand for their infant packs which contain a one week supply of diapers, wipes, formula, fruits & vegetable packages along with baby cereals, plus assorted other baby items. Our 2017 grant will fund 115 infant packs for the pantry.

National Council of Jewish Women:  Kids Community Chest is a four-year-old program administered by the National Council of Jewish Women’s Palm Beach Section. These volunteers, in partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County, buy school uniforms, underwear, and personal care items which are currently designated for 13 of the 24 public elementary schools with 90% Title 1 students.  Our 2016 grant funded a new closet at Pleasant City Elementary School located in the Northwood Section of West Palm Beach, a school with 425 students (many below the poverty line).  The closets are on-site at each school so that guidance counselors can provide “emergency service” when needed.  Partner schools indicate the importance of proper clothing as children with worn or inadequate clothing often experience bullying or other negative behaviors.  Our 2017 grant will fund the Council’s ongoing support to existing schools plus opening closets in new schools that need these services.

Palm Beach County Food Bank: Almost 64,000 children in Palm Beach County are at risk of going to bed hungry each night.  In a county known for its wealth, it’s hard to imagine that there are so many individuals, children, and families who struggle every day with hunger and food insecurity. The Palm Beach County Food Bank is dedicated to fighting hunger and improving food security in our community, AND, they are solely focused on the needs of Palm Beach County.   They collect and distribute food at no cost to soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food pantries as roughly 35 million lbs of food is needed to feed the hungry in Palm Beach County alone.  Their Summer Weekend Nutrition program helped meet the food needs of families over the summer weekends when traditionally it is more difficult to access food. They have since expanded the program to a year-round weekend feeding program called Food4OurKids, which has two program components to fill nutritional gaps over the weekend during the summer and school year. Food4OurKids serves low-moderate income families and provides the children healthy food to take home for the weekends when they are not able to access the free or reduced lunch/breakfast program.  During the summer, children receive a backpack full of food that is intended to be eaten by the entire family and includes rice, beans, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, tuna fish, green beans, and other nutritious, shelf-stable products.  Over 35 weeks during school year, children will receive a zip-top bag with food specifically for the child to consume for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the two days over the weekend.  Our 2017 grant to the Palm Beach County Food Bank will fund 73 children for the 35-week school year program.

Palm Beach Harvest: Palm Beach Harvest rescues over four million pounds of perishable and non-perishable surplus food from 76 restaurants, grocers, country clubs & others throughout Palm Beach County.  Their efforts result in over 6,000,000 meals to help about 150,000 people in our county.  The organization is comprised of a nearly all volunteer staff and two independent contractors who are paid when funds are available.  Their volunteers who donate 1-2 hours per week are the “wheels for the meals.” The volunteers connect the rescued food chain by ensuring that the food is delivered to the people truly in need of meals in South Florida (Palm Beach County has the highest percentage of people (15.1%)  who are food insecure in all of South Florida). Palm Beach Harvest is the ONLY organization that rescues perishable food on a daily basis and the #1 contributor of food to over 85 non-profits such as the Palm Beach Food Bank.  Our 2017 grant will help fund salaries for the CEO, Administrative Assistant & Truck Drivers who execute the mission of the organization.

Paws 4 Liberty:  The mission of Paws 4 Liberty is to help returning soldiers with disabilities regain their independence and confidence through the assistance of professionally trained service dogs.  With a primary focus on post 9/11 veterans with post-traumatic stress (PTS), Paws 4 Liberty screens, trains, and places skilled service dogs with qualified veterans at no cost to the recipient.  There is a critical need among post 9/11 veterans for service dog assistance as many returning veterans are being diagnosed with PTSD.  In addition to training and placing service dogs with qualified veterans, Paws 4 Liberty also works with veterans who already have a dog and would like their dog to learn specific tasks that would help them with their PTSD symptoms. They adhere to the standards set by Assistance Dogs International in the model for this program.  All of their service dogs come from animal shelters or rescue groups, or are donated to the organization. The veteran/dog teams are screened for suitability for the program and, once admitted, the teams work together learning tasks and service commands that will help the dog assist the veteran with PTSD symptoms. Our 2017 grant will fund the training for 5 veteran/dog teams.

Pediatric Oncology Support Team:  “Your child has cancer.” Are there worse words a parent can hear? Yes, there are. “I’m sorry, there are no more treatments to cure your child or prolong their life.” The Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST) is there for families if the goal turns from treatment and cure, to comfort and quality of life. Every child has the right to a “good death”. This organization, through their Butterfly Program, provides needed help for these families’ emotional and financial support so the families can focus on what is truly important – easing suffering and making memories.  Referrals have increased significantly – 40% during the past 2 years– as they help more children at the end of life. The majority of these children survive their battle with cancer, but 20% will not. Although the devastating medical outcome cannot be changed, the POST therapists and programs can help ease a family’s burden and support the family through the darkest time of their lives. Emotional support comes from therapists who help the family make difficult decisions, sit with them through tough conversations with physicians, and are bedside at every stage – including at the end of life.  Our 2017 grant will fund a therapist and case manager for one child & their family.

The Arc of Palm Beach County: The Potentials Charter School at The Arc of Palm Beach County opened in 1998 as the first Charter school in Florida and, at that time, was the only school in the nation for children who are unable to walk and talk effectively. 75% of these severely disabled children are from Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter and West Palm Beach. This is our 6th year funding a Music and Art Therapy program at this amazing school.  In 2017, 42 children will have the opportunity to experience the positive impacts of this program. Both during the regular school year & at Camp Crush, a Spring-break & Summer Camp.  At the Potentials Charter School, the Music & Art therapy is presented in such an entertaining way that the students enjoy the process that leads to their growth and progress in fine and gross motor coordination, sensory skills, attention span, social/interpersonal skills, self-awareness, and verbal and non-verbal communications. An essential element in the learning process, art & music therapy enhances the students’ occupational therapy and physical therapy in fun and stimulating ways that ensure that the process does not feel stressful or difficult. The students’ fine and gross motor skills are enhanced when they are engaged in activities such as finger painting, molding clay and cutting construction paper. Touch-based art projects provide sensory stimulation while working with various art items offers great learning opportunities for these very special children.

The Children’s Healing Institute:  The mission of The Children’s Healing Institute is to prevent child abuse by strengthening families facing crisis, challenge, and change. The Institute provides support, services, and education to empower families and encourage healthy family functioning.  They are the leading source for child abuse prevention and family crisis management expertise in South Florida.   Their TEACUP Preemie Program promotes better outcomes for premature infants through education and increased access to healthcare resources. TEACUP Preemie services are designed to support infant health and development, increase parental knowledge and understanding of preemie needs, and reduce parental stress. A typical hospital stay for a preemie is 3-4 months. Hospitals are not equipped or staffed to properly support and assist new parents of premature infants much beyond the medical expertise and treatment they provide. In addition to medical care, parents need a combination of social and emotional education, resources, and tools to ensure the development, health, and safety of the baby. Without this, there is a greater risk of infection, medical problems, and other harm to the baby. The TEACUP Preemie Program fills this gap in services for premature infants and their families from hospital to home. They loan breast pumps at no fee to financially struggling mothers, educate parents, provide individual and peer support, and help parents access community services for needs beyond the scope of the program or hospital. TEACUP Preemie is the only program of its kind in Palm Beach County and serves approximately 60 families per year.  Our 2017 grant will fund the purchase of 10 hospital-grade breast pumps, carrying case & special supplies.

The Jacob S. Zweig Foundation: This Foundation is also known as In Jacob’s Shoes, a charity which gives children in need the opportunity to walk with pride & to go to school or play sports with dignity.  The shoes are delivered to the children in need via requests made by schools, shelters, social service agencies & organizations which have prequalified the children & families.  The shoes are ready for pick-up in 1-5 days and the shoes are delivered to the children by teachers, social workers or agency representatives.  The process is fast, efficient and anonymous, saving the child from unnecessary embarrassment.  By providing kids with clean & stylish shoes to start the school year, this charity hopes to empower children to focus on academics & participate in athletics so that they can succeed.  Old or worn-out shoes are often the first visible sign of poverty and no child should have to feel self-conscious or different because of shoes.  Our grant will fund 500 pair of new shoes in Northern Palm Beach County.