Weis Community School Family Playground
Children’s Home Society of Florida & Escambia Community Clinics, Inc.
Children’s Home Society of Florida, Inc. (CHS) is Florida’s oldest and largest child welfare organization, providing leadership and innovative solutions for hurting and abandoned children since 1902. Since 1920, CHS has rescued children and created forever families through traditional and international adoption and foster care in the Pensacola area. Over those 95 years, CHS has changed children’s lives through in-home services to prevent abuse or neglect, counseling and psychiatric services for children, substance abuse prevention and treatment for youth, pregnancy prevention services, parent training and support for unwed mothers, youth employment and education, school-based support for truant and homeless youth, and coordination of services for children and adults with special needs. Their mission statement is embracing children…inspiring lives. CHS has established strong relationships with many community partners in order to broaden its impact. After the closure of University Hospital in 1992, the Escambia County Commission entered into an agreement with Sacred Heart Hospital and Baptist Health Care to provide funding for health care of indigent and working poor citizens, who were previously provided care at University Hospital. Escambia Community Clinics, Inc. (“ECC”) was formed as an outpatient primary care facility to meet the needs of the indigent, medically needy and working poor citizens of Escambia County. ECC’s mission is to provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care services to residents of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. ECC is committed to care for the medically needy, under-insured and underserved populations
The Weis Community School (the School) is located in a local area with the highest crime rate, least economically-developed neighborhoods and the highest risk for social concerns such as child welfare and juvenile justice referrals. Many families in the area served by the School are faced with limited transportation, limited economic opportunities and multigenerational system dependence. Many of the families have a significant suspicion of “helping professionals” including the school system and community service agencies, often viewing them as not being truly committed to the best interest of their children and community. Weis Community School Family Playground will be a fully functional, durable play structure with picnic tables, benches and trash receptacles for the use of children and their families being served by the School and the surrounding neighborhood. The playground will be available to children during the recess portion of the children's day. The School will have afterschool extended hours and summer activities for children and parents. The playground will be available for activities and family time. For some this may be initial steps to becoming more involved in the "school life" of their child as they develop a relationship with the School staff on site.
The playground will create opportunities for children and their families to spend positive time together at little to no cost. It will improve the sense of competency and well-being in children and increase positive social interaction with their family and friends. Parents will feel more comfortable interacting with the School and their children. Children who are active and play frequently for extended periods of time, have better health outcomes. They develop more pro-social behaviors. Families who play together have better relationships and as the parents feel more comfortable being at the school and interacting with the School personnel are more likely to get involved in their children's school activities.