Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; on Top, Again

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; on Top, Again

Article excerpt

Once again, the Youth Crisis Center will be the top-rated shelter program in Florida.

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice rates the programs every year. The crisis center had a rating of 87 percent; the No. 2 center was at 79 percent.

The center deals with "status offenders" - runaways, throwaways, ungovernables, truants and kids caught up in domestic violence.

This continues a trend in which the crisis center has been near the top of the annual ratings each year.

By the way, the ratings follow a monitoring visit to cover 44 operating standards. They verify what they observe through interviews with clients, partners (like the sheriff's office), community leaders and board members, said Crisis Center President Tom Patania.

PUTTING EX-OFFENDERS ON TRACK

Jacksonville has many laudable benefactors, but few are as generous as Nimnicht Family Dealerships.

The group, which operates Nimnicht Chevrolet, recently donated more than a half million dollars to Operation New Hope, according to a news release.

Operation New Hope builds affordable housing and operates Ready4Work, which helps ex-offenders find employment.

More than 9 million people are incarcerated in the United States - and 95 percent of them eventually will be released - Operation New Hope President Kevin Gay writes on the group's Web site.

"We believe that hope is reborn," Gay continues, "when one finds the support needed to address the many barriers to employment faced upon release from the penal system.

"Through a well-orchestrated combination of case management, job readiness training, life coaching and job placement, we are able to create new pathways to successful re-entry."

This is particularly important to Jacksonville, which has a violent crime problem.

In accepting the donation, the news release reports, Gay said: "Without these corporate sponsorships, nonprofits like us would be obsolete in this economy.

"Thanks to the corporate responsibility Nimnicht has show for their community, our organization is able to rebuild these neighborhoods in an effort to restore lives and end crime. …

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