Nocatee Community Resource Day connects families with services


Local families had an opportunity to meet with representatives from the St. Johns County schools, the Sheriff’s Office and a dozen local community organizations recently, when Nocatee hosted a Community Resource Day.

Held Aug. 4 at Crosswater Hall, the event connected parents and children with student support organizations such as Tobacco Free Florida, EPIC Behavioral Healthcare, Al-anon Alateen, the PACT Prevention Coalition and the Department of Juvenile Justice. Also on hand were the principals from area schools – including Valley Ridge Academy, Ocean Palms Elementary, Landrum Middle School and Nease High School – giving families a chance to meet school administrators prior to the first day of school.

While kids took turns on the Nocatee zipline, enjoyed hot dogs and drinks, and participated in activities supervised by sheriff’s deputies, parents participated in a series of informative presentations designed to prepare them for some of the challenges students may face as they advance through school. Lt. Mike Strausbaugh delivered a presentation titled “Know the Law,” addressing laws that impact children, internet safety, crime prevention, signs of drug and alcohol abuse and more.

Brandon Colee of EPIC Behavioral Healthcare, meanwhile, shared a “Parent Toolbox” designed to educate parents on ways of preventing children from engaging in dangerous behaviors such as drug and alcohol use.

“For the first time we were able to bring together everyone who comes in contact with our children – from educators to police to non-government service providers – to present a unified message,” said Denver Cook, one of the event’s organizers. “Feedback from providers and the parents and community was overwhelmingly positive, with one parent saying it was proof he made the right move for his family as ‘we are in a community that cares.’”

Cook said that planning is already underway for future community events focused on educating parents about the challenges facing today’s youth, including drugs, alcohol and internet safety.