Grant Year: 2023 | Focus Area: Family| Amount: $108,364| Grant Status: In progress
Children in Crisis (CIC) is a local, nonprofit charity designed to assist children who have been removed from anunsafe environment on short notice and need emergency shelter. CIC’s mission is to provide homes while keepingbrothers and sisters together. From a small grass-roots group of individuals, CIC has grown tremendously. CIC’sfacility is known as the Children’s Neighborhood (the Neighborhood) and is located in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.Children come to the organization through the Emergency Shelter, which provides a safe environment for youngchildren ages 6-14 years. Some children stay longer at one of the Family Foster Homes for Children serving ages6-17 years. An eight-unit apartment complex is used to teach independent/transitional living skills to teens 18-22years old who are aging out of the foster care system. The Neighborhood includes Kay’s Cupboard, the KingWhitmire Therapy Center, a clubhouse, and administrative offices. Since 2008, Children in Crisis has providedquality care and a loving home for over 1,000 children. Children to the Neighborhood come from all four countiesin Circuit 1. The recent geographic county breakdown represented was as follows: Escambia 25%, Okaloosa 45%,Santa Rosa 18%, and Walton 12%. There are roughly equal numbers of girls and boys served.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT
In addition to providing the children with the quality care they need, Children in Crisis must provide the children with the quality, reliable transportation they deserve. Children in Crisis currently has two 2007 vans that have served them well. Both vans have high mileage and frequent mechanical issues. IMPACT 100 grant funds will replace both vans with two new Ford Explorer XLT SUVs with 6-year/100,000-mile premium care bumper-tobumper warranties. Both SUVs will display the IMPACT 100 logo. The new vehicles will address the organization’s most pressing need. Most of the transportation needs are off-campus medical appointments, counseling appointments, court ordered and legal affairs, community services, summer activities, school meetings, and educational enrichment programs. On average, the children have approximately 150 appointments per month, plus eight off-site visits required by each of the two foster agencies. In addition, the staff and foster parents require reliable transportation to meet their children’s needs and to support daily routines.
EXPECTED IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
The new vehicles will reduce the current vehicle maintenance expenses. These will ensure safe and reliable transportation for the children at Children in Crisis. The Wheels of IMPACT will allow staff and house parents to provide safe, essential and reliable transportation which is the greatest need for the Neighborhood. The group rescues young children who need to be removed from unsafe environments on short notice. Having reliable vehicles enables Children in Crisis to always arrive in a timely manner when the call comes in for assistance and will eliminate the stressful situations that occur when children are late for appointments or miss them altogether because a vehicle breaks down. The new vehicles will ensure that Children in Crisis reliably attend all required off-site visits. Car rides with caregivers present opportunities to heal negative emotional experiences due to abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Children tend to open up and find a safe space for deeper conversations during car rides, as these moments are often calming and relaxing for the children. This cannot happen when the vehicle breaks down during the ride. The new vehicles will help the children feel valued as they receive the care and transportation they deserve, creating an impact for years to come.