Monique Burr Foundation: A Night at Roy’s and beyond


Kelly H. McDermott

The Beaches know how to party for a good cause – and fewer causes are closer to the community’s heart than the goals of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children.

In April, supporters and friends will gather for the annual Night At Roy’s benefitting the Monique Burr Foundation, an annual event of wine, music and fine dining that many look forward to for its great food and time to catch up with friends. But beyond the event, the MBF staff and volunteers work year-round to protect children from all forms of child abuse and bullying by providing prevention education programs, collaborating with partner organizations and engaging communities in child safety initiatives.

“We are a statewide organization, and we’re actually beginning to go outside of the state,” said MBF Executive Director Lynn Layton. “Our curriculum (MBF Child Safety Matters) covers bullying, cyberbullying, digital safety and the four types of child abuse prevention. It’s a primary prevention program that is for every child.”

MBF trains a school counselor who then typically implements the program in the classroom. There are also components for parents and information for school staff so that everyone is united in the goal of keeping kids safe.

“We teach kids rules and strategies for how to help adults keep them safe,” Layton said.

In addition to the curriculum, MBF will soon launch a public app that will provide a reference for parents and keep them current on ways to keep kids safe – both online and off.

MBF is also adding two new invents in the fall: a child safety luncheon where they will recognize facilitators who implement their program, and a one-day conference the same week for parents and people who work with children.

The annual Night At Roy’s helps support the expansion and programs that are already in place – in addition to giving the community a great chance to meet up and engage with the foundation.

“It’s just a wonderful event to kick off spring,” Layton said. “When I talk to people at the event, it’s really fun because everyone’s happy. They see people they haven’t seen in a while.”

Events like Night at Roy’s allow MBF to provide the program at no cost to local schools.

“We can’t do that without the support of our community,” Layton said.

The proof of the success of MBF’s programs is easy to see. In 2015, MBF went through an independent program evaluation by Florida State University.

“One of the key elements they found,” said Layton, “(was that) of the 620 kids evaluated from pre- to post-test, there was a 90 percent gain in safety knowledge. Basically what that means is that our program is working in helping kids understand how to be safe.”

A Night At Roy’s will be hosted April 19 at Roy’s in Jacksonville Beach, 2400-101 Third St. The night includes wines, tropical cocktails, live music and contemporary Hawaiian-influenced gourmet cuisine by world-renowned chef, Roy Yamaguchi. Event tickets are $100 and can be purchased by calling (904) 642-0210.

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