Open House at New Beginnings Youth Shelter

YFA VP Melissa Atkinson (left) and Volunteer Erin Corcoran Daly (right)

YFA VP Melissa Atkinson (left) and Volunteer Erin Corcoran Daly (right)

Brooksville, FL, March 1, 2018.

Community leaders, child welfare advocates, Guardian Ad Litems, volunteers, Foster families and law enforcement from the Hernando County Sheriff’s office came out to New Beginnings Youth Shelter, in Brooksville, for an Open House.  The Open House provided an opportunity for members of the community to take tours of the facility and ask questions of its V.P. of North Programs, Melissa Atkinson. 

Melissa took one group down the hallway of the shelter, and indicated that the facility was designed to separate the girls and the boys living quarters, with a dividing wall and locked access door, in front of a reception monitored by a Youth Development Specialist.  If one did not know better, it would appear one was inside a college dormitory.  The rooms on each side of the floor plan are adequately accommodated with two twin beds and space for its resident youth to keep their clothes, shoes, and school supplies in an organizer. In addition, two full size, handicapped access bathrooms accommodate the youths’ shower and hygiene needs.  Down another hallway is a Common Area where the resident youth may read, do homework, watch T.V., or play games, all next to an outdoor access area, where youth may kick a ball, run around, play basketball, or get fresh air. 

Several of the Open House Visitors asked questions about the needs of the shelter, V.P. of North Programs, Melissa Atkinson said, “We can always use soap, bed linens, blankets, toothpaste, toothbrushes.”  One particular visitor named, Pam Everett, of Better Educational Services, Inc., asked if the shelter might serve as respite, as she explained she had encountered parents of children with exceptional or special needs telling stories of their children being Baker Acted, she was curious if YFA could serve as a conduit for services, like counseling and respite, YFA's answer to that, yes.  

In an example of wanting to proactively serve the YFA community, educate law enforcement and families of YFA services, Mark Phillips, V.P. of Administrative Services, distributed New Beginnings Youth Shelter brochures to Open House visitor Lieutenant Andy Batchelder of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.  Lt. Batchelder gladly accepted the resource material to dispense to his Sheriff’s deputies, who may distribute and provide the resource information to families while on welfare calls.  The Hernando Sheriff’s deputies were also very responsive to volunteering at New Beginnings Youth Shelter, as mentoring the children would be an enriching experience for both.  To this end, New Beginnings Youth Shelter serves as valuable resource to children and families in the community. 

For more information on how one may make an impact on the lives of youth at the shelter, please call New Beginnings Youth Shelter at 352-540-6015.