LSF Launches ‘Beauty is a Silent Teacher’ Campaign, Raises $146,000 in Cash/Commitments

Lippman Youth Shelter front building

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – 10/15/2020 Lutheran Services Florida set a high fundraising goal of $250,000 to revitalize a 36-year-old youth shelter, reflecting a trend of nonprofits seeking more private donations anticipating future cuts to social services with the economic challenges Florida is facing from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lutheran Services Florida is one of the most experienced at running youth shelters with its oldest in operation since 1984. Lippman Youth Shelter located in Broward County injects hope for better tomorrows by supporting at-risk youth and healing families that have been torn apart by conflict. Unfortunately, given the age of Lippman Shelter and program grant limitations – which cover room and board, staffing, transportation and daily needs – many ongoing facility needs are not covered.

LSF has launched a capital campaign, “Beauty is a Silent Teacher,” to restore beauty and integrity to the aged shelter. This campaign will significantly enhance the aesthetics and programing capabilities for the most vulnerable youth who come through the doors, providing the best environment for our youth and social workers to thrive.

We are thrilled to announce the chair of our campaign, Reverend Dr. Gary Leopard of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lake Park, Florida. In just the first month, LSF has raised $146,000 in cash and commitments, which is more than half of the $250,000 campaign goal.

“Recently reaching 44 years of Ordination was a sentimental milestone for me and to serve LSF as the chair of this campaign felt like the perfect way to celebrate. As a Lutheran pastor and from a Lutheran pastor’s perspective, I was drawn to their mission to bring hope-filled tomorrows to Florida’s most vulnerable in the name of Jesus Christ. I am dedicated to helping LSF raise the other half of the campaign goal, pleading to the most generous and compassionate of Broward County,” said Reverend Dr. Gary Leopard of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

LSF has an estimated 98 percent success rate of youth returning home to their families to rebuild their lives following their stay at one of our shelter. Many of our youth stay in touch with the counselors who have helped them through their most difficult times. Some have even said the shelters feel like a second home.

“Before LSF I was lost. I was tired. I wasn’t able to sleep, eat or smile when I got home. I wanted to disappear. I felt like I just didn’t belong. I thought everything would be better if I was GONE. Now here at the shelter I feel freer, more open. I’m happier. I’m smiling more. This shelter hasn’t just helped me to become a stronger person, but it has also become like a second HOME for me. A place I can always find positivity,” said Marc a teen impacted by an LSF Youth Shelter.

Covid-19 has not stopped LSF from ambitious fundraising efforts as our EVP of Community Relations, Jim Clark stresses that our partners understand the need for philanthropy and are happy to give back to LSF even during these unusual times.

To partner with us or schedule a tour of Lippman, contact Jim Clark, Executive Vice President of Community Relations at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit for www.lsfnet.org/donate/youthshelters/ to make a gift today.

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Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

 

 

LSF Receives $100,000 from FIS for Technology in Jacksonville


Jacksonville, FL 6/23/2020 –
Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to helping families in crisis, received a $100,000 grant from global financial technology leader FIS to update technology for LSF Head Start and Early Head Start Child Care Partnership program in Duval county. The grant was made by the FIS Foundation which in 2019 provided nearly $1.2 million in annual donations to charitable organizations aligned with the company’s giving priorities.

Due to COVID-19, LSF Head Start and Early Head Start has been offering virtual learning to children since March, along with weekly distribution of food, diapers, wipes and other essential needs to families. The pandemic intensified a technology problem affecting families being served by virtual education.

Computers and smartphones allowed Duval County Head Start and Early Head Start to engage with over 1,100 families to close out the 2019/2020 school year; however, 200 families were identified without technology available to access virtual education during this critical time. The grant from FIS Charitable Foundation will be utilized as part of a package to update technology for families who do not have devices at home and support center-based classroom instruction and child development assessments.

The funding from FIS will enable LSF to fulfill its vision of creating safe children, strong families, and vibrant communities during a time of increasing uncertainty for children and families in need.

LSF Head Start provides early childhood education to children in Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Palm Beach and Belle Glade (PEPPI). In Duval County, LSF Head Start and Early Head Start serves over 1,400 low-income, at-risk children and their families.

To partner with LSF, contact Jim Clark, EVP of Agency Advocacy at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

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About Lutheran Services Florida

LSF is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to helping the most vulnerable Floridians. We do this by reducing the suicide and drug addiction rate, giving families in crisis the support they need to persevere, and making sure those in poverty get the education they need to close the achievement gap.

About FIS

FIS is a leading provider of technology solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets firms globally. Our more than 55,000 people are dedicated to advancing the way the world pays, banks and invests by applying our scale, deep expertise and data-driven insights. We help our clients use technology in innovative ways to solve business-critical challenges and deliver superior experiences for their customers. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS is a Fortune 500® company and is a member of Standard & Poor’s 500® Index. To learn more, visit www.fisglobal.com. Follow FIS on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (@FISGlobal).

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Media Contact:
Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications
Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org
813-802-8790

In Memory of George Floyd – A Message from CEO Sam Sipes

Like many, I am struggling with what’s happening in our country and it hurts me to say that I don’t even recognize her. I spent most of the weekend angry, frustrated and sad. Please know that LSF stands with all those we work with, those we serve, and those in our communities who have been and continue to be targets of racist ideologies and action. We believe deeply in social justice and do not tolerate racism in any form. Diversity in our country should be celebrated and looked upon as a strength.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) – an organization we are closely affiliated with – continues to deepen their commitment to combatting racism and white supremacy. You can read about it here. LSF stands with the ELCA and we are committed to living in a world where racism does not exist.  We must act, as to talk about it now yet do nothing would be a mockery.  I don’t have all the answers, but I do want to have conversations with our staff and our communities that will be tough. Conversations that will lead to changes within LSF to ensure we put more diversity at our leadership table, and we are representing the side of justice. In the end, we can only move forward by addressing the issues at the root of the problem. Together.

Nearly 40 cities have imposed curfews over the weekend. As you know, we are an essential human services organization that provides services to Florida’s most vulnerable populations. Our priority is to keep all our employees safe.

We all want peace. But true peace can only come about with justice and we are called upon to speak out in the face of injustice. We remain focused on our vision of a world where children are safe, families are strong, and communities are vibrant. We know communities are hurting. We are praying for those who are scared and uncertain.

John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.”

 

Sam Sipes

President & CEO, Lutheran Services Florida

LSF Brings TeleHealth to Clients Through $15,000 Grant from Truist

young woman on video conference

Tampa, Fla. – 5/06/2020 – Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to helping families in crisis, brings TeleHealth two-way video conferencing to reach its clients with the help of a $15,000 grant from Truist Financial Corporation. The grant is part of the company’s Truist Cares initiative, a $25 million philanthropic pledge announced in March to support basic needs, medical supplies and financial hardship relief due to COVID-19.

LSF has identified TeleHealth two-way video conferencing as a practical solution to reach its clients in a way that maintains service effectiveness while respecting the need to practice social distancing. LSF programs that will use this technology are focused on face-to-face intervention – CMOs (Case Management Organization) serving children in the foster care system, SATP (Sexual Abuse Treatment Program) serving victims of an unspeakable crime, and CINS/FINS, a program acronym for crisis counseling to Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services.

The grant from Truist will be used to purchase TeleHealth licenses for 60 clinicians, at $60/month per license, for six months. TeleHeath will enable LSF to continue with face-to-face counseling utilizing technology that protects client confidentiality and maintains HIPPA compliance. A web-based, mobile friendly interface allows for effective adoption of the technology. Features such as data capture, surveys, and reporting allow for instant feedback and continual improvement of services.

“LSF’s work helps heal individuals in crisis and families torn apart by conflict,” Mike Carroll, EVP of Programs said. “Our clients depend upon the vital counseling and case management services we provide, and during this pandemic, they will need us now more than ever. The challenges from COVID-19 only worsened the struggles our clients already face, as routines and relationships are challenged by new fears, anxieties and external stressors.”

By equipping 60 LSF clinicians with the TeleHealth tools needed to continue counseling and case management services, LSF is investing in professional services that have a massive impact. Each clinician serves an average of 25 clients, for a total of 1,500 children and families served. Over six months, LSF is enabling many thousands of critical touchpoints for the people in need whom we serve.

“We are proud to support Lutheran Services Florida and the important work they are doing during this uncertain time,” said Jim Daly, West Florida regional president for Truist. “Delivering critical counseling services to children and families in crisis has never been more important, and also aligns with our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.”

The funding from Truist will enable LSF to fulfill its vision of creating safe children, strong families, and vibrant communities during a time of increasing uncertainty for children and families in need.

To partner with LSF, contact Jim Clark, Director of Community Relations at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

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About Lutheran Services Florida

LSF is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to helping the most vulnerable Floridians. We do this by reducing the suicide and drug addiction rate, giving families in crisis the support they need to persevere, and making sure those in poverty get the education they need to close the achievement gap.

About Truist
Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspire and build better lives and communities. With 275 years of combined BB&T and SunTrust history, Truist serves approximately 12 million households with leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is the sixth-largest commercial bank in the U.S. with total assets of $506 billion as of March 31, 2020. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.

Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

LSF Head Start to Continue Virtual Learning for Remainder of Academic School Year

virtual learning

A grant from the PNC Foundation to acquire Chromebooks and print educational booklets will help families participate in early learning efforts during COVID-19

 

TAMPA, Fla., April 30, 2020 – Lutheran Services of Florida (LSF) Head Start Centers announced today that the PNC Foundation has awarded a $21,000 grant to equip families with educational resources, including 30 Chromebooks during this pandemic. Consequently, this grant affords LSF the opportunity to continue educating the more than 5,400 children it serves through virtual learning for the remainder of the academic school year.

Most of the families served by LSF in the Head Start program are below the federal poverty line and face unique challenges at home. Understanding its client’s great need, the organization sought funding streams during the onset of the coronavirus to ensure it could bring resources to families’ long term. To enhance in-home learning, LSF educators created 6,900 supplemental early learning educational activity booklets, tailored to age and native language, to better prepare parents for home schooling and provide a more hands-on experience for kids.

In this context, three different PNC regional markets in Jacksonville, West & Central Florida and Southeast Florida joined forces to offer this grant to LSF.

“As we navigate these tough times together, the health and well-being of our customers, employees and the communities we serve remains our top priority,” said Chad Loar, PNC regional president for West and Central Florida on behalf of the other two regional presidents in Florida. “Through PNC’s grant, families around the state will be able to arm their children with the resources necessary to keep their kids at home during this pandemic, while enhancing their early learning journey toward a successful education.”

LSF continues to work with those impacted, providing a variety of solutions that make the most sense for meeting their particular needs.

“Connectivity is incredibly important during times of crisis, especially for those who struggle financially,” said Bob Bialas, executive vice president of LSF Children and Head Start Services. “We are grateful for our association with PNC and on behalf of our Head Start families we thank them for choosing us.”

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

LSF Head Start serves more than 5,400 children and families in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Palm Beach and Duval counties. The virtual school has shown tremendous success with participation averaging 70 percent throughout the programs.

To partner with LSF, contact Jim Clark, director of community relations, at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

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Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

JOANN Stores Donates 700 Yards of Fabric to LSF’s Stitching for Service Project

Tampa, Fla. – 4/27/2020 Lutheran Services Florida, a statewide nonprofit, dedicated to helping families in crisis has found a solution to the barriers of attaining masks for front line staff by creating Stitching for Service: A Project to Address the Mask Shortage.

Our organization has nearly 1,200 essential workers and getting masks has been a struggle. We put together a Mask Force and created a project pulling together 25 sewers within LSF who are committed to sewing masks. JOANN Stores partnered with us by donating 700 yards of fabric to get our group started.

“JOANN was instrumental in realizing our vision to be self-sufficient in providing masks to our people,” Jim Clark, Director of Community Relations said. “We had the idea and plan, but without JOANN supplying the fabric we wouldn’t be able to provide protection for our people so quickly during this time.”

LSF is also partnering with The Villages in Orlando and Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Tampa who provided us with over 2,000 masks. We want to ensure we are ready to supply another wave of masks to our people as we begin reopening our offices across the state when it is safe to do so. We are anticipating masks will still need to be worn long after Florida reopens for business.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises the use of cloth face coverings, along with social distancing, to slow the spread of the coronavirus as people who have the virus but don’t know it can transmit it to others.

LSF is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to helping the most vulnerable Floridians. We do this by reducing the suicide and drug addiction rate, giving families in crisis the support they need to persevere, and making sure those in poverty get the education they need to close the achievement gap.

To partner with us contact Jim Clark, Director of Community Relations at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

 

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Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

LSF Duval Head Start Announces Virtual Classrooms during Health Crisis 

65 Percent Parent Participation in Duval County, Providing Remote Support to Families in Need, ReadyRosie Platform Shift  

Jacksonville, Fla. – 3/24/2020 –As the country faces a health pandemic, social services organization like Lutheran Services Florida, is adapting its critical services to the most vulnerable Floridians. Following guidance from Federal and State officials to control the spread of coronavirus by practicing social distancing, LSF Duval Head Start yesterday launched a virtual learning program for our families. We are excited to report 65 percent participation among Head Start/Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships families in Duval County.

Leveraging ReadyRosie, a technology platform that enables educators to communicate with families and share early education content, LSF Duval Head Start is now providing remote learning to more than 1,400 children and families during this unprecedented time. Our Head Start programs were previously using ReadyRosie to help parents engage with their children and continue learning outside traditional classroom hours so with a few simple adjustments we were able to shift the focus to fit the new need.

“Although we have closed our center doors, we have not closed our hearts, knowledge, passion, and ability to continue educating our children and helping our families at LSF Duval Head Start. Our team shares a passion to work with families in crisis and launching a virtual program is our way to stay connected and provide quality education for our children and families,” LaTanya Wynn-Hall, Director LSF Head Start said.

The activities and parent videos are simple and offer parents ways to turn an everyday routine, like putting away groceries into vocabulary practice. One video shows a parent describing peanut butter, bread and canned tomatoes to their child and asks them to close their eyes and guess the food.

We are still working through challenges but are encouraged by the opportunity this provides. Below are some key components of the program:

  • iPads provided to LSF teachers
  • daily activities and parent videos uploaded to ReadyRosie
  • paper learning packets distributed to families
  • weekly newsletter sent including information about community resources and mindfulness/wellness

LSF Head Start serves more than 5,400 children and families each year in Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties through our Head Start and Early Head Start programs serving children from birth to 5 years-old by working to close the achievement gap and serve the family as a whole.

To partner with us or schedule a media interview contact Terri Durdaller via email at terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org and visit LSF Duval Head Start on Facebook for updates and videos.  You can also check out www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

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Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

LSF Follows School Districts Lead and Shuts Down Head Start Centers

Tampa, Fla. – 3/19/2020 We recognize the role LSF plays as a statewide nonprofit in helping families through the coronavirus pandemic. We serve more than 5,400 children and families each year in Duval, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties through our Head Start and Early Head Start programs by working to close the achievement gap and serve the family as a whole.

Each of our classrooms are closed to in alignment with the school systems to children and families through at least April 15th due to coronavirus. However, our staff is still working. Our teachers and staff may not be in the classrooms, but they are still connecting with parents and serving as a resource. Our educational leaders are designing remote learning plans and strategizing around the challenges that brings for families without computers, the internet and food while they are out of the classrooms.

Most of the families we serve in Head Start are below the federal poverty line. As the situation around coronavirus evolves and the level of uncertainty continues to rise, we are looking for partners to help serve them as they face increased financial pressures and the challenge of educating their children while the Head Start program is closed through at least mid-April. While our program grant will allow us to continue paying our teachers, assistance for families must be donor funded.

“Our Head Start staff have reached out to parents to assess the challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19. Many are out of work due to business closures, shortage of hours or lack of childcare. This is an unprecedented challenge that requires communities to come together for solutions,” Bob Bialas, LSF EVP of Children and Head Start Services said.

The Head Start/ Early Head program works with low-income children between the ages of 6 weeks to 3-years-old to provide early learning. Through the program, children can enhance their development skills to be prepared for school and life. The program also provides health and mental support by monitoring behavior and providing daily health checks. In addition, the program benefits families by promoting family engagement; some activities include leadership, training, and goal setting.

To partner with us contact Jim Clark, Director of Community Relations at jim.clark@lsfnet.org or 813-415-7231. Visit www.lsfnet.org/covid19/ for the latest information on LSF’s response to the pandemic.

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Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF Vice President of Communications

Terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

813-802-8790

LSF Hosting Job Fair to Recruit for New Residential Program

Tampa, FL – Lutheran Services Florida (LSF), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to helping the most vulnerable Floridians, is looking for passionate people to join its team. The large and growing nonprofit is opening a new full-service residential program providing care to youth ages 12-17. LSF will have numerous full-time and competitive paying jobs to fill at their new location, including shift work for those who prefer nights and weekend work.

Candidates attending the LSF Job Fair 2020 will be able to speak with Human Resources representatives and interview onsite so please bring resumes. The goal of the event is to showcase our new program and provide an opportunity for candidates to apply in-person.

To view a list of all open positions at LSF and to apply online visit: https://www.lsfnet.org/careers/

 

WHO: Lutheran Services Florida    

WHAT: Job Fair  

WHEN:  January 28-29, 2020 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm

WHERE: 3627 West Waters Ave., Tampa FL

 

Media Contact:

Terri Durdaller, LSF VP of Communications

E-mail: terri.durdaller@lsfnet.org

Cell: 813-802-8790

 

Pinellas Head Start Delays Return to School

Media Contact:

Josh Talkington

Josh@stridemediagroup.com
Cell: 813-252-0575

 

Largo, FL –LSF Head Start services in Pinellas County have delayed the January return to school to address possible mold concerns found in the following centers:

  • Clearwater Center
  • Connie L Marmaro
  • Dunedin Center
  • Friendship Center
  • Good Samaritan Center
  • Gulley Center
  • High Point Center
  • Jordan Park Center
  • Los Caminos
  • Rainbow Center
  • Tarpon Springs Center

Florida facilities are more prone to mold issues than other states because of the hot temperatures we experience followed by long periods of rain. During routine checks while the centers were closed for the holiday, we found mold issues and quickly brought contractors in to address the concern. Parents and families were notified immediately. We anticipate reopening some centers the week of January 13, 2020, and others thereafter. If this lasts longer than one week, we will implement home-based options where possible and are seeking additional options for children to attend school.

We will host a parent meeting following reopening of our centers to welcome families back and answer any questions. We recognize and understand the inconvenience this has caused and appreciate support in ensuring the health and safety of our children, staff and visitors during this time.

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