Resource Center Creates Non-Profit Foundation for Self

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

The Beaches Resource Center has formed a non-profit foundation to help the social services center behind Fletcher High School expand and become more self-sufficient as state funding and grants become more uncertain.

The non-profit Beaches Resource Center Foundation formed about two weeks ago, a step that will let directors accept donations to help the center double in size and offer a wider variety of services such as in-school suspension, immunizations, literacy and truancy programs and services that don't exist at the Beaches.

"It's something we believe very strongly needs to be done," said Rick Carper, chairman of the resource center's oversight committee. "There are a lot of services that aren't available at the Beach."

The center, which opened six years ago, struggles each year to secure funding from the state Department of Children and Families, the Jacksonville Children's Commission and United Way.

Recently, the center learned it will no longer receive money from the Department of Children and Families because of that agency's move toward privatization, said center coordinator Penny Christian.

Meanwhile, oversight committee members met with state legislators this summer to lobby for continued funding, showing that a 2001 study that documented children's needs at the Beach showed the resources center was the top agency for addressing those needs.

The building plan, which is still in the discussion stage, is projected to add about 3,000 square feet to the center and cost roughly $240,000, Carper said. The oversight committee still needs the approval of the Duval County School Board and to draw up architectural plans.

The resource center is one of six full-service school centers operated by the Duval County school system and is the first to become a non-profit foundation.

Full-service schools link educational, medical, social and human services for children and their families in areas where there is a prevalence of children needing those services. Among other things, the resource center offers mental health counseling, tutoring, drug screening and referrals for food, clothing and financial assistance. In addition, the center helps teachers and school administrators with classroom management and crisis intervention. …