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Member Spotlight: Center for Child Counseling

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February Member Spotlight: Center for Child Counseling

 

The Center for Child Counseling is on a roll lately– they’ve won major grants, a Hats Off Award, and many other accolades for their work in improving the social-emotional wellness of children and their families in Palm Beach County.

The recent successes are the result of a lunch meeting in 2013, and the hard work that followed and continues today.

The Center’s story is our February Member Spotlight. 

 

The Center for Child Counseling has received a lot of attention as of late – and deservedly so.

 

In October, the agency won Nonprofit of the Year (Medium) at the 2018 Hats Off Nonprofit Awards. In November, they were one of 16 nonprofits selected to receive a grant from New York Life to provide trauma and grief support to those who have experienced devastation or loss. And in February, they won $100,000 from Impact the Palm Beaches.

 

Overseeing all of this is CEO Renée Layman, MS, LMHC. She manages a staff of more than 10 people and their work in helping more than 1,500 children and their caregivers. Layman has more than 20 years of experience in mental health services, most of which are specific to children’s mental health.

 

She’s had the job since 2013 when she and the organization’s founder, Jane Robinson, met over lunch and Robinson offered Layman the opportunity to take over the group (then called All ‘Bout Children) and take it to the next level. Layman accepted and, with Robinson’s guidance and feedback, teamed up with infant mental health specialist Lauren Scirrotto, LMHC, to develop the foundation for the next chapter of the agency, starting with the new name, Center for Child Counseling.

 

Both women had a vision for a supportive, transparent, and compassionate workplace that enabled staff to thrive while they helped the most vulnerable populations in Palm Beach County heal from trauma and toxic stress. Layman and Scirrotto, often sitting face-to-face, developed policies and procedures with a clear focus on what they wanted the agency to accomplish: building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families.  

 

Through prevention, early intervention, and targeted treatment, the staff focused on creating a “trauma-informed” community where all partners (schools, criminal justice system, shelters, health care providers, and many other professionals and institutions) worked closely to identify and heal the effects of toxic stress and trauma before they developed into damaging behaviors.

 

The goal also was to shift from asking “what’s wrong with you?” to “what happened to you” and “how can we help?”

 

Over time, the Center for Child Counseling did just that, and today it’s focused on three key areas:

 

  • Improving the social-emotional wellness of children and their caregivers by providing an array of prevention, early intervention, and mental health services.
  • Improving caregivers' mental health and use of effective strategies to support children, while strengthening their ability to provide an environment that promotes healthy outcomes.
  • Training professionals and the community on effective clinical models and trauma-informed strategies for working with children and families.

 

How does all of that fit together?

 

A staggering 1 in 4 children live in poverty in Palm Beach County, putting them at risk for an array of experiences that can change the structure of the developing brain.

 

Some organization has to fill critical gaps in the system of care to address urgent needs of those children and their families.

 

That organization is the Center for Child Counseling.

 

 

Contact the Center for Child Counseling by calling 561-244-9499 or emailing info@centerforchildcounseling.org.

 

If your nonprofit has a great story to tell, contact Charlotte Gill at Nonprofits First: (561) 910-3891 or cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org.

Tags:  Membership  Nonprofit  Storytelling 

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Affiliate Spotlight: Sharp & Sweet

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Friday, February 22, 2019

1.       What is your business name?

Sharp & Sweet. But we are actually two separate agencies. Cheryl Baldwin owns Sweet Boo Design and Laura Morse owns Sharp 11. Together we call ourselves Sharp & Sweet. But you might also say the name describes our personalities! Our project collaboration became so close over the years it made sense to package our work together. We recommend each other for almost every job we get into, so promoting ourselves as a team was just a natural step forward.

2.       What do you (or your business) specialize in?

Sharp & Sweet is all about nonprofit branding that elevates every aspect of your mission. To work with a brand is to take on an organization’s reason for existence. Your brand is so much more than a logo. Your brand is your cause, your culture, and your connection to donors. If it doesn’t hold meaning for the people experiencing it, your mission and everything you do is totally lost. Sharp & Sweet makes your brand SPEAK. And talk louder and above the rest, we might add. And we can do that in one hundred different ways.


3.       How did you get started in consulting?

Cheryl has been on her own for a long time now as a graphic designer, evolving into her own business when she took over a freelance magazine gig and then ran a business teaching children’s art classes. She did a corporate stint for a while but loved being an entrepreneur more. Cheryl also discovered a passion for furthering the work of the charitable sector, and most of her work now is with nonprofits.

Laura’s prior career was in nonprofit management, communications, and development for museums, underserved communities, and education. She brought her insider info and love for causes to create Sharp 11, a communications and strategy studio for nonprofits. Laura wants to help revolutionize the way causes share their message and engage their staff and the public.


4.       What are you really good at?

Sharp & Sweet is a cool combo. We start work with our clients by totally immersing ourselves in their story. We’re really good at listening so we can truly feel a part of the cause and understand its deepest needs. This knowledge lives in us and guides our entire strategy throughout the project. If we don’t think we can feel a connection to the cause, we won’t take on the work. It’s that personal to us.

 

5.            What is your firm really good at?

We’re really good at being bold and delivering something really special. We come out swinging. Our goal is to cut through clutter, noise, and tired old ideas to make your message totally stand out from the rest. This can be scary for clients, even if they think they want it. We know it takes time to change course or strike a new tone, but we know how to get you there. It’s a journey and it’s not for the faint. If you really want to change the world, you better step up and be big, even if you have two staff people and a budget under $250k. Donors don’t respond to weakness. They want solutions, change, and a meaningful cause to support.

 

6.            What do you do better than your rivals?

Sharp & Sweet is always cooking some secret sauce. There may only be two of us, but we bring the Total Package. We are full brand architects who understand fundraising.

We are amazing at bringing out simplicity, authenticity, and humanizing your message so you attract the people who will love and support your work. The rest of the crowd doesn’t matter. Our work is painstakingly careful in the message: no BS, never jargon-y, always human and relatable.

We are uber brain-stormers. There’s a real symbiotic flow to how we generate ideas and create. We absolutely push each other to be better with every piece we work on. We elevate each other’s work so we can be our very best for our clients.

And there’s a hell of a lot of seriousness and fun going on around here that our clients hop right into and enjoy.

5.       Who are some of your clients?

Wow, do we love us some awesome change-makers. We are overwhelmed by the good work these agencies do and are proud to be a small part of it: Community Partners, Dress for Success Palm Beaches, Alpert Jewish Family Service, Resource Depot, Center for Child Counseling, Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County, YMCA of South Palm Beach County, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies of Palm Beach County, HomeSafe, Palm Beach County Food Bank, and even Nonprofits First.


6.       What's the most unique aspect of what you do?

Our method employs mission-driven design and we pour the secret sauce all over it. We’re not going to tell you what that is here. You have to call us. We don’t know anyone else around in design and communications who also knows fundraising strategy and how to appeal to donors. That’s pretty crucial, right? We are also rule-breakers when necessary. We create ways for causes to find freedom to be what they were meant to be.


7.       Who inspires you?

Being Boss (Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson), RBG, Michelle&BarackForever, Brene Brown, Beyonce, Maya Angelou

8.       What cause or mission is close to your heart?

Indulge us with several, please: Suicide Prevention Awareness, Women’s Issues, Rescue Animals, Racial Equity, Education, Underserved Communities, Mental Health, World Peace, Arts & Humanities, the Environment

9.       What is your connection to the nonprofit community?

Beyond our work with clients, our current volunteerism belongs to Leadership Palm Beach County, the Mental Health Association, the Women’s Foundation of Florida, and St. George’s Center.


10.   How can organizations best reach you?

Offering coffee or food usually works best.

 

Check us out at Sharp11.org and SweetBooDesign.com

Email or call either of us to talk about what we can do for you.

Laura: 561.531.3511 and laura@sharp11.org

Cheryl: 561.578.7019 and cheryl@sweetboodesign.com

 

Thanks for taking the time to learn about us!

 

Tags:  Affiliate Consultant  Membership  Nonprofit  Storytelling 

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Member Spotlight: Digital Vibez

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Wednesday, January 30, 2019

January Spotlight: Digital Vibez

Making the world a better place - isn't that what nonprofits are all about? 

Digital Vibez certainly thinks so. Over the years, this nonprofit in Palm Beach County has literally made thousands of underserved children move toward a healthier lifestyle.

Along the way, the agency won our 2018 Hats Off Nonprofit Awards for “Nonprofit of the Year (Small category).” And they were one of the shining stars in our 101 For The 501 program in 2017.

And so, Digital Vibez is our January spotlight.

 

After a group of young people held him up at gunpoint and robbed him, Wilford Romelus set out on a new mission in life. With his skills in technology and his brother’s skills in dancing, Romelus decided it was time to put their experience to work and give young people a more meaningful, less destructive avenues to express their emotions. 

 

That is how Digital Vibez was born.   

 

“So many kids get into trouble because they can’t express their feelings,” Romelus said. “I knew one of the kids who robbed me and I knew if we can change the way he expresses himself, he can make better choices.”

 

Romelus, his brother, Wilbert, and other supporters began organizing a variety of activities and classes for children with the goal of maintaining a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. Their focus was to serve all of Palm Beach County, concentrating particularly in the zip codes marked as high-risk by Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County.

 

The thinking was, by giving youth an opportunity to express themselves in a safe place, they would channel their emotions away from destructive behaviors.

 

It worked.

 

In the past eight years, Digital Vibez has partnered with after-school and community organizations to deliver engaging fitness, computer literacy, mentoring, and other programs to many thousands of children. Its messages are aligned with countywide health and wellness initiatives promoted through the Palm Beach County School District, the Florida Department of Health Palm Beach, and other affiliated organizations.

 

The group’s wellness workshops have expanded from 10 sites in 2015 to 20 sites in 2017. And the organization’s annual revenue increased from $50,000 in 2014 to close to $400,000 in 2017/18.

 

In addition to the Hats Off Nonprofit Awards, Digital Vibez has also received the Champion Award from Diabetes Coalition of Palm Beach County.

 

And one more thing: the number of steps children have taken collectively through the fitness and other programs has exceeded 2.6 million.

 

The success came largely from Romelus’ passion for connecting with children. Romelus, who is 32, was born in Haiti and grew up in rural Immokalee, Florida. He had always wanted to better his community.

 

Digital Vibez also took off because of support from funders and other donors. In addition, it helped that Romelus learned many strategies for running a nonprofit by completing Nonprofit First’s 101 For The 501 program, which is targeted for nonprofit start-ups.

 

“Many kids imitate what they see and we just need to give them better choices,” he said.

 

Learn more about Digital Vibez here.

 

And to truly understand their programs, check out one of their videos here.

 

If you want Nonprofits First to spotlight your nonprofit, please contact Charlotte Gill, our director of development and business strategies, here.

 

 

Tags:  Charities  Leadership  Membership  Nonprofit  Storytelling 

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Member Spotlight: War on Hunger Collaborative

Posted By Charlotte Gill, Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spotlight on Feeding Palm Beach County’s Hungry Residents

 

People often say that nonprofits work in silos and don’t work well together. This year, the “War on Hunger” collaborative in Palm Beach County proved them wrong.

 

The massive food distribution effort won the 2018 Community Collaboration Award during our Hats Off Nonprofits Awards event in October.

 

So it’s only fitting that we highlight the collaborative in our monthly spotlight on the extraordinary work of nonprofits.

 

Here is the story of how the group reached hundreds of thousands of hunger residents in our community.

 

 

The task was enormous: hand-delivering 3,864,168 snacks, in 214,676 “white boxes,” to nearly 215,000 Palm Beach County residents struggling with poverty and hunger, in a two-month period.

 

It was a job for the military or another big government agency, right?

 

No, this was done locally by a collaboration of 19 key public, private, and nonprofit organizations with the clear goal of feeding every hungry child, adult and senior in Palm Beach County during the spring of 2018.

 

The massive outreach effort started when Farm Share alerted Living Hungry, a West Palm Beach-based group fighting hunger, to the fact that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was looking for agencies to accept 100 truckloads of expiring “hurricane-shelter snack boxes.” If the food was accepted, it would need to be distributed fast to avoid the expiration date of July.

 

“We are going to need more partners, more people!” Maura Plante, founder of Living Hungry, said at the time.

 

And so, Plante contacted Palm Beach County School Board Member Erica Whitfield, along with other public sector organizations including Houston Tate and Ruth Morguillansky from the Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization who recruited the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Together, with Michael Farver, South Florida Hunger Coalition they followed a creative, strategic planning process and set out to build an outreach collaborative, with each partner playing a specific, mission-critical role.

 

The “War on Hunger” collaborative, as it became known, also involved: Nonprofits First, Sysco Southeast Florida, Restoration Bridge, Daughters of the American Revolution, The Palm Beach Post, Cox Media, The Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, Glades Initiative, and ARC of the Glades, as well as other organizations from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors with support from the Everglades Trust. Additionally, many municipalities helped out with logistics and distribution, including City of Riviera Beach, City of Delray Beach, and cities of Belle Glade, South Bay and Pahokee.

 

Together, they engaged dozens of local charities, churches, agencies, businesses, girl scout troops, civic groups, service providers, organizations, school principals, teachers, coaches, police officers, and neighbors to get the food out. The Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization distributed 2.2 million meals in just 9 days with the cities and hundreds of partners.

 

One of the many areas of target: filling the hunger gap for 33,000 students over the 10-day Spring Break holiday in March.

 

The PBC School District School Food Service team asked all principals to pick up pallets in vans, trucks, and SUVs. In just three days, close to 600,000 snacks were handed out at 87 schools at the start of the weeklong break. One student said to a collaborative team member: “Without these snack boxes, we would not have had much to eat.”

 

The collaborative had many other powerful stories, like getting nearly 1,555 Girl Scouts involved in the effort. They learned about hunger and earned a “Drive the Food” badge for feeding 28,000 people people they each researched and chose who to feed locally with 505,000 snacks. One of the troop leaders said: A hungry man “shocked the girls when he sat right down on the spot and cracked open the can of ravioli to eat.”

 

In all, a small army of workers and volunteers from more than 170 organizations answered the call to help and distributed the boxes of food to tens of thousands of hungry residents from across Palm Beach County.

 

It’s another extraordinary example of what happens when nonprofits take the lead in addressing our community’s toughest challenges.

 

If your nonprofit has a great story to tell, contact Charlotte Gill at Nonprofits First: (561) 910-3891 or cgill@nonprofitsfirst.org.

Tags:  Charities  Network  Poverty  Storytelling  Volunteer 

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Emotional Storytelling Using Immersive Communications (BLAB)

Posted By Josh Hirsch, Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
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