Coalition for the Homeless is the largest residential facility for children in Central Florida. Last fiscal year, we provided nearly 79,000 nights of shelter for children. Nearly one out of every three people we serve is a child, with a current average age of 8.
The Coalition has created a wide variety of services for children to meet the needs of the growing number of children who call the Coalition home.
Child Development Services
The Coalition's child development services recognize the unique struggles faced by children experiencing homelessness. Through its child advocate and network of partner providers in the community, staff works to address the most critical issues facing our youngest clients, such as self-esteem, behavioral problems, social skills, and stigmas about homelessness. The goal is to help children improve their emotional health and help them, their siblings and their parents develop more stable, nurturing family environments.
When identified as a child who may be "at risk" or "in-crisis," youngsters aged 4-17 are referred to the child advocate and/or one of our partner provides for assessment, individual and family counseling, and other developmental services.
Therapeutic children's activities, weekly peer group counseling sessions and parenting workshops are also instrumental in bringing young clients out of precarious situations and into stabilization.
Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK)
New in 2008, the Coalition now has a free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program (VPK) for four-year-old resident children. Certified and monitored by the state Office of Early Learning, VPK provides individual attention through small class sizes and quality education, with an early literacy focus.
Boys & Girls Club
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida is the only shelter in the nation with an on-site Boys & Girls Club.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America comprises a national network of some 3,700 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving more than 4.4 million children.
Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.
Art By Coalition Children (ABCs) is a volunteer-based program that pairs professional artists in the community with children living at the Coalition for art classes.
The ABCs program began in October 2003, as collaboration between the Coalition and volunteers representing Central Florida’s art, business and education communities.
Artists work with the kids to create a wide variety of art, from black and white photography, to sculpture and painting.
If you’re a local artist interested in the ABCs program, contact us. Volunteer opportunities are available for artists, or people who just want to lend a helping hand.