Jacksonville non-profit looking to raise $150,000 to help children with special needs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Daniel Kids, a local child services agency helping our youth overcome serious emotional and behavior issues, is in need of your help to reach their goal of raising $150,000 within 150 days.

It’s part of their ‘Furnish their Future’ Campaign.

The money would help furnish Creekside, one of its on-campus treatment cottages.

The agency says it’ll need to raise the money before it starts the renovations.

Many of these children who suffered extreme trauma or abuse get the treatment they need inside these cottages.

This cottage has been around since the 1960s and it’s one of several treatment cottages on the campus.

Once it’s renovated, the agency says it will be the only cottage within 100 miles that help kids with emotional and behavioral issues who also have intellectual developmental differences like autism for example.

That’s why it’s important that this cottage can purchase special equipment for catering to a child’s occupational needs to creating a sensory environment.

“We can’t just take any old furniture. We have to buy specialized furniture that is really built and designed for residential care that will help keep our children safe,” Rebecca Whitfield, the Director of Residential Services for Daniel Kids said.

Hattie Mullings is a therapeutic foster parent and that means she’s trained to work with kids who may have behavior issues.

Five years ago, she met a little girl we’ll call Michelle. Her name’s been changed to protect her identity.

“Her grandparents was really trying to do all they can do to try and keep the family together but most of the family is on drugs,” Mullings said.

This 10-year-old also suffered abuse by a family member at an early age.

“She was just angry. She was angry and closed up. Wasn’t willing to open up to anybody,” Mullings said.

That’s where Daniel Kids stepped in and helped Michelle receive the services she needed including letting her stay at one of their cottages.

The agency helps treat kids who experienced severe trauma.

“They gave her a sense of wellbeing you know, they have her a place to stay. They took care of her. They introduced her to me, a foster parent,” Mullings said.

And within just 8 months of taking Michelle in, Mullings formally adopted her.

“We just love Michelle. She’s just so sweet you know. She’s always willing to help,” Mullings said.

Today this young girl is thriving.

“She’s a student in school. She’s 15-years-old now and she’s really doing a great job. She’s turned her life around through services through Daniel,” Mullings said.

The new cottage geared to helping kids with special needs has been at least three years in the making but Daniel Kids said it’s hopeful that by next year the Creekside Cottage will be ready to start serving kids.

If you would like to help Daniel Kids reach their goal of $150,000 you can click here.

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