29 November Clay Youth Connection Program Finds Home at Moosehaven November 29, 2017 By Laura Pavlus General caring community, social integrity, compassionate citizens, workforce, Moosehaven 0 Read full article here - New ‘Connection’ finds shelter for homeless youth - Clay Today, November 21, 2017 by Wesley LeBlanc ORANGE PARK – A fitness facility, a swimming pool, an incredible view of the St. Johns River and even a bowling alley. These are the amenities offered to residents of Moosehaven. Usually, these residents are what could be classified as senior citizens. As of the first week of November, however, there’s a new type of resident. The senior citizen residents of Moosehaven are typically above the age of 65, but its newest residents are 18 years old. The senior citizen residents likely moved from a house into their new home. The new residents didn’t have a home before finding residency at Moosehaven. These new residents are what the new organization, the Clay Youth Connection, calls unaccompanied or temporarily displaced teens. What this means is that an unforeseen circumstance left these 18-year-olds without a place to sleep, a place to eat breakfast, a place to call home. The Clay Youth Connection is an initiative that is striving to find students in the Clay County school system that are temporarily displaced and give them a place to live, so that a lack of sleep on a proper bed, or a void of breakfast, will no longer be a hurdle they face in their high school education. This initiative began when Orange Park Council member Connie Thomas decided to take a deeper look at the homeless in her town. “We had a lot of people concerned about a lady always on the side of a road in town and it turned out that she was homeless,” said Thomas at the Clay Youth Connection meeting that took place Nov. 17. “That’s when I decided to learn more about the homeless in Orange Park.” Upon finding out more, Thomas discovered that homelessness wasn’t just affecting adults – it’s an issue in the youth community as well. Some children are living car to car, with no set place to sleep at night, according to Thomas. As time went on, the issue kept bubbling closer and closer to the surface and that’s when Thomas decided to take action. That action was the birth of what is now known as the Clay Youth connection, and it came with the help of Moosehaven Executive Director John Capes. “We got involved after attending a committee meeting about four months ago and listening to what [Thomas] was trying to do,” said Capes. “We listened to what they wanted to do and where they were at and told them what we could do.” While Capes admits to being only a small portion of the help the Clay Youth Connection is receiving – Mercy Support Services, the Clay County School District and Orange Park Medical Center, as well as many others, are offering their services too. Capes said Moosehaven plays a massive role in helping the temporarily displaced in town. Moosehaven is providing rooms, food, relationships with the elderly and even jobs for the two teenagers that are a part of the initiative. Moosehaven is the breakfast before school, the bed to sleep on at night, the home over their heads that these two young adults haven’t had for the past few years, if not longer. For Capes, Thomas and the rest of the committee, this is only the beginning. “We are moving forward with two candidates currently and we have been given a year,” said Capes. “After a year, assuming everything goes well, which I’m sure it will, I imagine the [Moosehaven board] will give me full control over the program to move forward into the bigger picture.” “We can only work with 18-year-olds currently, but we are hoping to extend this program to younger people, where we can hit the problem early on,” Capes said. The initiative ends when after high school graduation, but the committee is looking to extend its help beyond that in the form of job placement, counseling and more. While still technically unknown, the future is looking bright for the unaccompanied homeless youth in Orange Park, and as the pilot moves forward into becoming a full-fledged program, it will only get brighter. “These are intelligent kids with a prosperous future – they’ve just run into some unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances,” said Thomas, “but we are happy and excited to help them move past that and into something better.” Related Clay County Home to Top Ranking ZIP Codes Clay County is proud to have 5 of the top 18 ranking ZIP codes for year-over-year growth in average single-family homes in Northeast Florida. Construction of the First Coast Express is fueling this increase. Clay County population growth projections are by-far the largest in the region for the next 10 to 15 years. Concurrently, 77% of Clay County residents commute into neighboring counties to work. Clay County is home to the second highest wage earners in the region. To learn more about business opportunities in Clay County, Florida call 904.375.9394. Clay's Career and Technical Education Program Gives Local Workforce a Competitive Advantage Clay County Schools Celebrate Career and Technical Education Month Students and faculty in Clay County will join others across the nation during the month of February to celebrate national Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. This year's theme is "Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!" CTE Month provides CTE programs across the country to demonstrate how CTE makes students college- and career- ready and prepares whem for high-wage, high-demand career fields. Activities include: CTE teacher and student recognition, leadership and community service events, school tours and more! Clay EDC Board of Directors Support One-Cent Sales Tax At the June 14, 2016 Board of County Commissioners meeting, Clay EDC President, Bill Garrison, read a resolution by the Clay EDC Board of Directors announcing their support of the one-cent sales tax extension. Clay Commission Discussing Rebranding County Image The Clay County Commission this month is expected to consider recommendations to showcase the county’s natural, historic and recreational resources as well as its communities to best attract tourism, new businesses and residents. Clay looks to build economy on growing health care industry The growing health care industry in Clay County is key to its future economic development although manufacturing and distribution also have major roles to play, say officials helping county leaders chart a course for attracting and retaining sustainable businesses offering residents solid, well-paying jobs. Clay Officials Tackle Tallahassee Government officials from each major community joined members of the Clay County Chamber and County Commission to advocate for local needs to state lawmakers and inform those from outside Clay County what the area has to offer. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.