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"It Takes a Village"

When you look up social services, which I definitely did, it means services provided for the benefit of the community, such as education, medical care, and housing. It also says an activity that aims to promote the welfare of others. While this definition is so true it doesn’t give you the full picture of the ins and outs of the different organizations that are here solely help our great community of Highlands County.

Before lunch, we, Youth Leadership Highlands, were visited by seven inspiring organizations. In order of presentation, we were visited by Champion for Children that focuses on children, but has outlets for parents and teens, as well, bringing hope for all. Nu-Hope is dedicated to providing for elderly people clothes, food, transportation and so much more. Then we got the opportunity to pack Christmas stockings for New Testament Church and Missions, where all walks of life are welcomed, since everything is free of charge at the mission, all donations are accepted and appreciated. Ridge Area ARC services adults 18+ with disabilities, working on social skills and they help the community. The ARC has a resale store in Avon Park, which is their main fundraiser. A therapy source for the disabled that stimulates muscles in your legs as if you were walking is Heartland Horses Equine Activities and Learning. Samaritan’s Touch Care Center is a health care facility founded on Matthew 25:40. Health, hope and healing is their focus. They are solely dependent on donations and volunteers to provide the needed health care. Lastly, we were visited by Hope Haven Transitional Housing, an organization for the homeless with zero government funding. They require all attendees to have a job or help them to find one in order begin to succeed in life. After hearing from all these amazing organizations, we were provided lunch catered by Mae Lee’s International Deli Restaurant, it was absolutely fabulous (especially the mac & cheese, my favorite).

After our delicious meal, we headed over to the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC). We learned that the center is a child-friendly environment for victims of abuse, with all agencies needed for their case on site provided in one safe facility. With a tour of the building and multiple presentations from the staff there we were able to get a better understanding of all the different parts needed to pursue justice for victims. I learned so much throughout the day. My big takeaway is that it really is not just one person from each of these organizations, but many people and organizations working together to meet the needs in our community. It indeed does “take a village”. Also, I was amazed by all the different volunteer opportunities in our community.


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