Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teamwork Pays off for 2 Families

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teamwork Pays off for 2 Families

Article excerpt

As we begin to enter the season of family and Thanksgiving, I'm

reminded of a yearlong effort by a few people to expand their

vision of family and community.

Now's an apt time to share it.

In September, members of Leadership Jacksonville's Class of

1995 gathered at a beach party hosted by Duval County Court

Judge Emmet Ferguson III. Over hot dogs and burgers, we

celebrated the finale of a class project with two urban core

families whom we befriended.

The project, which, among other things, involved creating a

jobs board and speaking about our careers to Andrew Jackson High

School students, was titled: " A Year in the Life of the

Springfield Neighborhood." It was the brainchild of me and Linda

Tuday, executive vice president of the United Way of Northeast

I came up with the idea of mentoring with families based on my

own experiences in Springfield. I believed that if we rolled up

our sleeves and invited the families into our worlds, we could

begin to build trust with them through using our collective

talents and connections to help them forge a better life for

themselves.

In practice, the idea turned out not to be that simple, and at

times, the problems of the families were overwhelming for us.

But by the end of the year, two families had overcome some major

obstacles.

Eloise Gordon, a grandmother raising three grandchildren ages

14, 10 and 4, was able to obtain affordable day care for the

youngest child through the help of Pam Paul Nussbaum, director

of program services for the city's Child Services Division. Her

oldest grandchild, Toni, has found a tutor and lifelong friend

in Penny Borgia, executive director at All Saints Early Learning

and Community Care Center Inc. Gordon was also able to resolve a

vexing guardianship issue, thanks to attorney Margaret Gellatly

of Korn, Zehmer and Gellatly.

Adrienne Hill, a 21-year-old woman raising two children alone,

now has her driver's license after lessons from John Rutherford,

director of Jails and Prisons for the Jacksonville Sheriff's

Office. …

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