Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Projects for Kids Ble$$ed by Panel; 13 Projects to Share $23,700

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Projects for Kids Ble$$ed by Panel; 13 Projects to Share $23,700

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Staff writer

The Urban Core Citizens Planning Advisory Committee has awarded about $23,700 to help fund 13 projects, including mentoring programs, summer camps and after-school programs.

Each of the city's six planning advisory committees receives up to $25,000 from the city's general appropriation to the Jacksonville Children's Commission. The commission forwards the grant applications to the advisory committees for evaluation. The advisory committees were formed a decade ago so residents could discuss neighborhood concerns and issues with city officials.

Amy Wentzel, communications specialist for the commission, said she was impressed with the creativity and variety of the applications received this year.

"We really try our best to give everyone a piece of the [funding] pie -- and pay particular attention to those who are new to applying," said Joanne Smith of the Urban Core advisory committee. "We also tend to favor programs that involve people who work directly with children -- as opposed to just purchasing equipment or materials, though we do support that to an extent, as well."

Here are the Urban Core group awards:

-- Bright Kids got $2,500 for its "Back on Track Packets" to provide families of juvenile offenders from the Duval County Regional Detention Center packets with information about their neighborhood churches, boys and girls clubs, YMCAs, and other sources of positive youth development.

-- The Central Metropolitan CME Church got $2,200 for "Operation PEER -- Positive Educational and Empowerment Resources," a six-week program to help keep neighborhood youth academically motivated during the summer by teaching computer skills and participation in arts and sports.

-- Duval County Council of PTAs and PTSAs got $1,725 for its "Eye glass/Exam fund," a project to provide professional eye exams and glasses to students from financially disadvantaged families.

-- The Family Nurturing Center of Florida got $2,000 to buy playground equipment, build a storage shed, and create a nurturing video series for use during parenting classes.

-- The First Baptist Church of Oakland got $2,435 for its "Fresh Futures" project, an enrichment and mentoring program that will run until Dec. 15. Activities include field trips and Thursday night mentoring at the church. …

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