Transportation to Healing, Hope and Help
Lutheran Services Florida, Inc.
Lutheran Services Florida is a statewide, nonprofit, human service agency dedicated to helping all people in need, regardless of religious affiliation, age or national origin. Their mission is to bring God’s healing, hope and help to people in need, in the name of Jesus Christ. Since 1990, the Northwest region of the program has served the Florida panhandle. Lutheran Services Florida-Northwest (LSF-NW) operates two shelters as part of the Children/Families in Need of Services Program, a prevention program for runaway, truant, ungovernable and homeless youth, who are not under supervision with the Department of Juvenile Justice or the Department of Children and Families. One of these shelters is the Currie House, a 12-bed shelter which serves Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. The program at the Currie House is designed to physically and programmatically accommodate the diverse needs of runaway and homeless youths in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Program services are locally controlled and community-based, and provide services outside of the law enforcement, child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems.
The primary goals of the Currie House Shelter are to provide youth a safe place to temporarily reside while they work with counselors to resolve conflicts within their family, and then to be reunited with their family in a safe and healthy way. At the same time, it is the goal to help youth learn to get along better with peers and adults so they can be successful and focus on their future. This is especially important for youth who do not have healthy families to return to and need to be prepared for independent living. Our clients deserve to feel safe at all times. Requested Impact 100 funds will be used to purchase two new vehicles for Currie House and a covered parking area. The goal of this project is to replace unreliable vans, in order to transport clients from the Currie House to school, medical appointments, and court appointments as well as recreational, volunteer, and cultural enrichment activities. Safe and reliable transportation is paramount to meeting our primary shelter goals. Many of these activities often expose the youth to different perspectives and experiences that serve to broaden their outlook and expand their thinking to see the world more fully. It allows them to see others with compassion and to see challenges they face because of their environment, helping to put their own problems in perspective.
Securing new vehicles will allow LSF-NW to continue providing shelter services to their youth, working toward safe and healthy family reunification. It will also allow the Currie House to continue educating shelter youth by exposing them to educational and cultural experiences – teaching them the life skills they need to live every day including critical thinking and social skills which help to create contributing members of our community. Having both the bus and mini-van will permit transportation of all the shelter youth at the same time in the bus, requiring fewer staff and less fuel than using both current vans. It also leaves one vehicle available for individual transports, such as doctor appointments, court hearings or other scheduled appointments. By purchasing the 15 passenger mini bus and mini-van, LSF-NW will provide reliable transportation for clients and staff, and also save money on salary, fuel and vehicle maintenance and most importantly, provide a sense of safety and security to clients. This will allow youth the opportunity to continue to experience an increased sense of safety, well-being, and self-sufficiency, as well as an increased ability to form more positive relationships and interactions with their parents, teachers, employers and friends.