Did you know that a local nonprofit organization served more than 9,000 children in the past year? Safe Children Coalition helps any child entering the child welfare system – no matter the circumstances – who needs assistance in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties.
“Even in this expanse of all the children that we serve, there’s hope,” says Jacqueline House, the organization’s Vice President of Communications and Community Engagement. “I see us as the keepers of the hope. Children and families who meet us on the worst day of their lives can depend on us to have hope when things are not looking so good and we can hold that hope until they can catch onto it and have that hope for themselves.”
That fits right into Safe Children Coalition’s theme for this year – Hope. Lives. Here.
It can be found in the most dire of situations. When Hurricane Ian passed through, it affected many of us but families who already had limited finances were hit hardest. “It was really important for us before the storm, during the storm, and after the storm to make sure we provided as many resources as possible to keep kids from coming into the child welfare system,” House says.
“Our staff were actually out on boats the day after the hurricane taking supplies (to impacted families),” says President and CEO Brena Slater.
House adds that while the hurricane was a big hurdle to overcome, it’s also a point of pride for the community and their staff who came together. “We’re very grateful for the community support,” she says.
Safe Children Coalition is the lead community-based-care agency for Foster Care and Adoptions in Circuit 12 covering Sarasota, Manatee, and Desoto counties. Recently two young children had a surprise happy ending when they found a permanent home with their grandparents. “The little boy was so overcome with emotion that he couldn’t speak,” House says. “All he could do was cry tears of joy that they were actually going to be home now.”
While the organization does receive government funds – and just achieved a boost in the last legislative session – with thousands of children and families under their care, Safe Children Coalition also relies on donations. “The myth is that 100% of our funding comes from the state and we can do whatever we want with that – and we can’t,” House says. “But I think the upside is that this is a great public/private partnership. Each entity is doing their part to take care of children in our community.”
Safe Children Coalition will honor some of their biggest champions during their Giving Breakfast, on March 23, 2023. “We really want to recognize the community for being big supporters of us,” Slater says.
Anyone who wants to join their cause can do so by sponsoring or attending the breakfast event. At this time of year in particular, monetary contributions are greatly appreciated. Visit www.sccfl.org/donate to help them ensure all their children have presents – and hope.
1500 Independence Blvd., Suite #210, Sarasota, FL 34234