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Community foundation tackles children’s mental health with new initiative

May 3, 2022 – As the country draws attention to the growing epidemic of mental health issues during National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties (CFPBMC) is collaborating to address the problem locally with children and adolescents.

In conjunction with Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and Florida State University (FSU), CFPBMC will lead an effort to address pandemic-exacerbated mental health issues among local children and teens with the new FSU program titled “Rebound and Recovery”. ”

Danita DeHaney Nias, Julie Fisher Cummings, Aggie and Jeff Stoops (photo by Tracey Benson Photography)

“Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused mental health challenges for many people, especially children and adolescents,” said Julie Fisher Cummings, chair of the CFPBMC board of directors. “Collaboration between philanthropists, community organizations and a flagship state research university shows how organizations like these can come together to address a pressing need that has been exacerbated by the pandemic – children’s mental health and teenagers.”

The CFPBMC supports the evidence-based Rebound and Recovery program, which uses a cognitive therapy model to help children and teens acquire the social and emotional tools needed to cope with the traumatic side effects of the pandemic. The program educates young people about their emotions and connects their thoughts, feelings and actions.

Working with experts from FSU’s College of Social Work and its Center for the Study and Advancement of Communities, Families and Children, “Rebound and Recovery” will focus on children ages 4-17. FSU faculty and graduate students will implement the programs at 14 Palm Beach County Boys and Girls Club locations.

The FSU center was started with a donation from the Delray Beach-based Stoops Family Foundation, which was started by Aggie and Jeff Stoops. Both graduated from FSU twice. Aggie earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work. She is chair of the board of the Stoops Family Foundation, which focuses on medical causes, social services, education and children.

“Once we develop the new program and pilot it with Boys and Girls Clubs, we can share it with others in the county, across the state and beyond,” said Jeff. Stoops, board member of CFPBMC. , who, along with Aggie, made a significant donation to bring the project to Palm Beach County. “By working together in this unique collaboration, we hope to create a program that is scalable and can have a real lifelong impact on the mental health of our youth and adolescents.”

The program stems from work FSU team members did in Bay County after Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that devastated the Florida Panhandle in 2018. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, they piloted “Rebound and Recovery” at the Learning Pavilion in Tallahassee, a daycare center serving preschoolers. With the help of this new partnership, the FSU center is expanding the program to include a new program targeting teens in Palm Beach County.

Along with the Stoops, CFPBMC Board Chair Julie Fisher Cummings and fellow board member Christina Macfarland and her husband, Benjamin, are supporting the Palm Beach County initiative, in conjunction with the Community Foundation to leverage the existing infrastructure of Boys and Girls Clubs in Palm Beach County. to reach young people.

“The ‘Rebound and Recovery’ program will teach our young people new skills and strategies to deal with their fears and anxieties,” said Ms. Macfarland. “With its emphasis on mindfulness, coping skills and self-care, what participants learn from this program will benefit them beyond the pandemic. They will learn skills that they can use throughout their school career, to face challenges with family relationships and with friends now and in the future.

“The pandemic has laid bare a collective vulnerability around mental health, which is particularly poignant in our underserved communities,” said Danita DeHaney Nias, President and CEO of CFPBMC. “The generosity of our board members can help us find – and smartly implement – ​​solutions that reach the greatest number of people in need. We hope their leadership gifts will motivate others to join our efforts so that we can expand this program to other nonprofit organizations that have a similar infrastructure to Boys and Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. For 50 years, our foundation has brought together partners to show how philanthropy can sow and nurture these solutions that can have large-scale impacts.

The CFPBMC has provided nearly $200 million in grants and scholarships over its 50-year history and is one of Florida’s largest community foundations. Thanks to the support of its donors and fundholders, the Foundation has been able to meet some of the most pressing needs of the community. For more information about the CFPBMC or to support the Rebound and Recovery program, contact Mary Katherine Morales at 561-659-6800 or visit yourcommunityfoundation.org.



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