The Sunshine State isn’t so sunny for everyone who dwells in this southern region. Amid the sun-soaked shores and swaying palms, exists a not-so-pleasant truth: many teens must face the fierce streets with little to no safety or support system.
With one ending comes new beginnings. This year’s closure of the Nelle Smith Residence for Girls left a yearning in the hearts of many members of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches Inc. (JLPB), and a task on their agenda. The facility had focused on fostering a safe home environment for at-risk young ladies, while JLPB lent personal services – providing much-needed mentorship, education, and of course warm hugs. In that same vein, HomeSafe recently proposed the development of a 12-bed foster care home off Lyons Road in Central Palm Beach County. Since 1979, the nationally accredited Lake Worth-based non-profit has been a crusader for South Florida’s most vulnerable residents. Their mission: protecting Palm Beach County’s at-risk youth (most of whom are victims of child abuse or domestic violence).
Junior League of the Palm Beaches was a proud and successful proponent of their new construction project, which focuses on the build-out of a twelve-bed foster care facility bordering the towns of West Palm Beach and Wellington.
According to JLPB Advocacy Chair, Kate Watt, “[the league] has long been an advocate for children in foster care and we are proud to stand with Home Safe as they look for new ways to continue to serve the most vulnerable children in our community.” Making foster care more readily available is a topic near and dear to the organization – and a critically important step toward making our community a more peaceful place. However, the main stipulation between a gridlock and breaking ground was the necessity for rezoning the lot for private/public use.
This week – after testifying in front of the Board of County Commissioners on behalf of HomeSafe, Junior League of the Palm Beaches played an integral role in achieving approval for zoning for the foster care facility in Wellington.
Another crusader of the cause, JLPB Community Council member, Kimberly Gimson, remarked “We are very pleased by the Board’s decision to approve the zoning request. Many of our members have experienced firsthand the impact a supportive home can have on a developing boy or girl, and this ruling will allow HomeSafe to provide that environment to twelve deserving young people.”
JLPB is proud to announce that this local advocacy initiative was a success.