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Youth Services

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Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center (formerly Family Fundamentals)

Family Fundamentals is changing its name! The grand opening of The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center is November 4, 2022, and classes will begin Monday, November 7th. The new center will be located at Bonnet Springs Park

The Carol Jenkins Barnett United Way Children’s Resource Center is a collaboration of organizations committed to strengthening families and our community by increasing access and awareness to resources and services. This Success By 6 parent resource center is a warm, welcoming place where parents and other family members come to access information, support services, and the tools they need to be the best parents they can be. Community agencies offer services on site to provide a one-stop opportunity for parents. Parents come for one service or class and return for others.

Weekly classes for ages 0-5 are offered for FREE!  The schedule follows Polk County Schools calendar.

Indoor Play + Open Gym for Toddlers | Mommy and Me Classes | Playgroups | Storytime | Youth Services
1025 George Jenkins Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Camp Fire Sunshine Central Florida

Camp Fire is one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit youth development organizations offering all-inclusive, co-educational programs. Founded in 1910, Camp Fire’s outcome-based programs include youth leadership, self-reliance, after school groups, camping and environmental education and child care.

After School Programs | Scouts + Campfire + 4-H | STEM Programs + LEGO Building | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
2600 Buckingham Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay

Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. A simple but powerful mission which serves as the foundation for what we do. Consider becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister! Not only will you change the life of a child, your life will be changed too.

Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
1231 East Orange Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Boys & Girls Clubs of Polk County

Boys & Girls Clubs fill the gap between school and home. We provide welcoming, positive environments in which children and teens have fun, participate in life-changing programs, and build supportive relationships with peers and caring adults. Children need to have a place where they are physically and emotionally safe. In addition to providing a caring environment, we offer daily access to a broad range of programs that promote the education, health, social character, service and leadership of the youth we serve.

After School Programs | Donation Locations | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
1525 Martin L King Junior Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33805
920 Lowry Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801
10 3rd Street Southwest, Fort Meade, Florida 33841
2400 Havendale Boulevard, Winter Haven, Florida 33881
950 Pinewood Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33815
1860 East Gibbons Street, Bartow, Florida 33830
704 Avenue C, Haines City, Florida 33844
315 Doctor Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard, Lake Wales, Florida 33853
Children's Home Society

Building bridges to success for children. Visit https://www.chsfl.org/wish-list/ to see a full list of donation items including clothing, household supplies, toiletries, bedding and linens, and more.

Donation Locations | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
1010 East Rose Street, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Early Learning Coalition of Polk County

The Early Learning Coalition of Polk County is a not-for-profit agency focused on early education and care. The goal of the Coalition is to prepare all children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. The ELC administers the VPK program for Polk County, visit their website to apply for your VPK certificate and learn more about how to select a VPK provider.
The School Readiness Program is also available through various participating child care providers. Eligibility is based on total family income and parents must be working or going to school. The program serves children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. Fees are assessed based on a sliding fee scale. Hours of child care are determined by each child care provider.

Child Care Assistance | Daycare - Infants + Toddlers | Preschool / Daycare for Ages 2 & Up | Youth Services
115 South Missouri Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Early Steps Program

Early Steps is Florida’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Early Intervention is provided to support families and caregivers in developing the competence and confidence to help their child learn and develop.

Early Steps services are based on Early Steps evaluations and your family’s concerns, priorities, and goals. Early Steps uses a Team Based Primary Service Provider approach which aims to empower each eligible family by providing a comprehensive team of professionals from the beginning of services until the age of three. The goal is for the family to receive strong support from one person, provide a comprehensive team of professionals from beginning to end, and for the family to have fewer appointments and more time to be a family. Services are provided to the family and child where they live, learn and play, to enable the family to implement developmentally appropriate learning opportunities during everyday activities and routines.

Hearing Tests + Speech Therapy | Special Needs Resources + Organizations | Therapy - Occupational + Physical | Youth Services
Florida Baptist Children's Homes and One More Child

One More Child provides local and global opportunities to run to the aid of foster children, hungry children, single mom, sex trafficking victims and struggling families. Support One More Child through donations and volunteer opportunities. Donations needed include children’s clothing, toys, books, bedding, women’s clothing, diapers, household items, kitchen supplies, food, and more.

All donations are used to support their services including foster care, family support, single moms programs, and more. Drop off donations M-F from 8:30am-4:30pm at Harold Clark Simmons Compassion Center.

Domestic Violence | Donation Locations | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
1015 Sikes Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33815
Florida KidCare

Florida KidCare is the umbrella brand for the four government-sponsored health insurance programs – Medicaid, MediKids, Florida Healthy Kids and the Children’s Medical Services Managed Care Plan – that together provide a seamless continuum of coverage for Florida children from birth through the end of age 18.

Florida KidCare is designed specifically with kids in mind. That’s why our coverage provides your child with access to the services they need at each stage of growth and development. Health and dental services are delivered through quality plans that offer a choice of local doctors, dentists, specialists, hospitals, pharmacies and other healthcare providers.

Florida KidCare includes free, subsidized and full-pay options based on family income and household size. Most families pay nothing at all, and many pay as little as just $15 or $20 a month for all children in the household. Families who do not qualify for free or subsidized coverage may purchase a competitively priced full-pay plan.

Low-Cost Health Care + Dental Care | Youth Services
Girls Inc. of Lakeland

Girls Incorporated of Lakeland offers daily after school and summer programs for girls in grades K-12 in West Polk County. We inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through life-changing programs and experiences that equip them to overcome gender, economic, and social barriers.

After School Programs | Youth Services
1220 West Highland Street, Lakeland, Florida 33815
650 West Main Street, Lakeland, Florida 33830
Good Shepherd Hospice & Bethany Center

Good Shepherd Hospice offers bereavement support for all hospice survivors in addition to ongoing community support groups, including those who have experienced a sudden or unexpected death. There is no charge for bereavement support and services. Individual & family support, as well as adult grief support groups are available.

Children’s Grief Services – Good Shepherd Hospice Bethany Center is a place of hope and healing and provides a special place for children and teens to understand their grief. The caring and professionally trained staff and volunteers are dedicated to providing compassionate grief support to children, ages 3 to 18, and their families.

The Bethany Center offers the following:
–Children and family support groups: Available to adults, teens and children to help facilitate healthy grief work through sharing and creative self-expression. Inside the Bethany Center’s activity rooms, feelings are expressed through art, games and dramatic play.
–Grief Cave: Children are able to write personal messages on the walls of this unique space where their words glow in the dark.
–Camp Brave Heart: Annual spring camp for children ages 6 to 16 who live in Polk, Highlands or Hardee counties.

Grief Care Groups | Youth Services
3470 Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33805
450 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale, Florida 33823
Head Start Preschool Program

Head Start is a federally funded preschool program centered on education, comprehensive health services, and parent leadership. Head Services are available from ages 3 – 5 when the child enters kindergarten. Polk County Public Schools (PCPS) operates Head Start centers for low-income eligible families at schools throughout the county. Student spaces per site are limited, apply through the PCPS website.

Child Care Assistance | Preschool / Daycare for Ages 2 & Up | Youth Services
Healthy Families Polk

Healthy Families is a free, voluntary program that gives families useful information on parenting and child development. Healthy Families offers parenting classes for parents, expectant parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Classes are open to the community and focus on children from birth to age 12.

Cost: $25 per person, or $40 per couple and all class materials are included in this fee. If you are a Healthy Families Polk participant, there is no charge.

Fee Includes: Six week course, Class materials, Certificate of completion (given at last class for those who participate in all classes)
To register, call (863) 534-5344. Advanced registration is required.

Pregnancy + Childbirth Classes | Youth Services
Healthy Start

Healthy Start is a free home visiting program that provides education and care coordination to pregnant women and families of children under the age of three. They are a helpful contact for finding local resources – 863-534-9224.

Breastfeeding + Lactation Consultants | Youth Services
Heartland for Children

Heartland for Children is a comprehensive child welfare service provider network that includes protective services, foster care, adoptions, independent living, prevention, family preservation, family support services and other related services. Read our article to learn more about becoming a Foster Caregiver in Central Florida.

Adoption | Donation Locations | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
1239 East Main Street, Bartow, Florida 33830
InnerAct Alliance

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is very proud to have provided substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities in Central Florida since 1985 with services including science-based education in elementary, middle and high schools, teen-driven social norming campaigns, as well as informative presentations and family-oriented awareness events that touch the lives of youth, adults, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups and others in need with an important anti-substance abuse and anti-bullying message.

Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
621 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33801
kidsPACK

kidsPACK is a nonprofit organization with a simple mission – to feed kids. Join the volunteers, community leaders, corporate sponsors, churches and concerned citizens that work with us to ensure no child goes to sleep hungry. Volunteers are needed weekly, as well as donations. $25 will feed a child every weekend for a month, $300 will feed a child for the full year.

Donation Locations | Food Banks + Food Resources | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
Lakeland
Larry Libertore Youth Sports Scholarship

The Larry Libertore Youth Sports Scholarship provides funds for young athletes (ages 11-18) to successfully participate in the sport of their choice by playing intramural sports, club ball or developing skills at a camp. The cost of equipment, travel and fees are often barriers to a young athlete’s option to play and this scholarship removes these barriers. Visit the website to learn more.

Supplies + Financial Aid | Youth Services
Libertore Fund for Children

The Libertore Fund for Children, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides grants and resources for non-profit agencies that offer services for our most vulnerable children, those at-risk of failure. Our team is passionate about helping children overcome obstacles that threaten their minds, bodies and hopes.

Supplies + Financial Aid | Youth Services
LoBo Ranch

LoBo Ranch serves sibling groups in foster care. They provide siblings currently separated in different foster care homes opportunities to unite for a time of fun on Sibling Saturdays. They also offer furnishings at no charge to families caring for children in foster care.

Welcomed donations include: bedroom furnishings, cribs, twin beds, pack n plays, new and gently used mattresses, diapers, baby formula and children’s hygiene items. Visit https://loboranch.org/contact/ to make arrangements for donations or to host a donation drive.

Donation Locations | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
Nurse Family Partnership

The Nurse-Family Partnership is a free, voluntary program that partners first-time moms with nurse home visitors. When moms enroll in the program, a specially trained nurse will visit them throughout their pregnancy and until their baby turns two years old. During these visits, the nurse will offer the knowledge and support needed to confidently create a better life for baby and mom.

Pregnancy + Childbirth Classes | Youth Services
PAL Recreation Complex (Lakeland Police Athletic/Activities League)

PAL serves over 1500 children each year. PAL provides activities such as youth football, cheer-leading, baseball, basketball, track & field, wrestling and the Driven 1 fitness program. Additionally, PAL offers an after-school program, where 60 children attend and receive tutorial assistance from law enforcement officers, teachers and college interns from area colleges and universities.

After School Programs | Archery | Basketball | Cheerleading | Flag Football | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
325 West 2nd Street, Lakeland, Florida 33805
1725 Martin L King Junior Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33805
Peace River Center

Peace River Center provides an array of mental and behavioral health services as well as domestic violence shelters, and a Rape Recovery and Resource Center.

24-hour Crisis Line: (863) 519-3744
Lakeland 24-hour Domestic Violence Line: (863) 413-2700

Services include: Mental health, victim services, substance abuse treatment, crisis services, club success, and more.

Domestic Violence | Donation Locations | Mental Health + Crisis Resources | Mental Health Counseling + Therapists | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
Project Prom Polk

This teen run organization hosts a Project Prom Store during Prom, Homecoming & Graduation time each Spring & Fall. High school students in need can pick out formal wear and accessories at no cost in return for signing a pledge to celebrate alcohol/substance-free. Donations are accepted at the Project Prom Store when open and at the InnerAct Alliance office. Learn more about shopping or donating formal wear: Project Prom Polk

Donation Locations | Supplies + Financial Aid | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
621 Florida Avenue South, Lakeland, Florida 33801
The Dream Center of Lakeland

The Dream Center of Lakeland operates a community co-op that provides non-perishable food, clothing, and home goods to those they serve, at no charge. Donations can also be made at the Outreach Center at 704 W. 5th Street, Lakeland. Contact the Dream Center or check the website calendar for hours.

Donation Locations | Food Banks + Food Resources | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
706 West 5th Street, Lakeland, Florida 33805
The Salvation Army - Lakeland / Polk County

Those struggling to make ends meet will find a helping hand to move them back toward self-sufficiency. During times of disaster, we provide accommodations and a hot meal. Families going through difficult times discover spiritual help from caring Corps Officers and loving support from a community of believers. Whether it’s a warm blanket, a safe place to stay, The Salvation Army stands ready to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone.
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: Emergency Financial Assistance, Food Pantry, Disaster Services, Youth Character Building, Worship Services, Holiday Assistance

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Social Services Office Assistance, Food Pantry, Disaster Services, Red Kettle Campaign, Holiday Donations

Donations are welcome – needed items include new and gently used linens, school supplies, clothes and shoes, and hygiene items.

Domestic Violence | Donation Locations | Financial Stability | Housing Assistance | Supplies + Financial Aid | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
2620 Kathleen Road, Lakeland, Florida 33810
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a nutrition program for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or who have recently been pregnant, infants & children under age 5. WIC provides the following at no cost: healthy foods, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support
referrals to health care, immunizations, and community services. Visit the website or call 1-800-765-5942 to see if you qualify. Visit the Polk Health Department website for WIC office locations.

Food Banks + Food Resources | Youth Services
1275 Brice Boulevard, Bartow, Florida 33830
1291 Ariana Street, Lakeland, Florida 33803
835 West Central Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida 33853
211 - United Way

United Way’s 211 is the most comprehensive source of human and social services information in the country. Our teams of compassionate, highly trained specialists are available 24/7 to connect you with the best services available in Polk, Hardee and Highlands counties. United Way’s 211 provides information about:

-supplemental food & nutrition programs
-clothing, shelter & housing options
-financial assistance
-emergency information & natural disaster relief
-health care services
-child, adolescent & adult mental health services
-addiction prevention & rehabilitation programs
-support groups for individuals with mental illnesses & special needs
-a safe, confidential path out of physical or emotional domestic abuse
-adult, child, family & elder services
-services for individuals with disabilities

Community Resources | Financial Stability | Food Banks + Food Resources | Free Tax Prep | Housing Assistance | Mental Health + Crisis Resources | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
George Harris Jr. Runaway & Youth Crisis Center

We serve youth between the ages of 10 and 17, who may have runaway, are homeless, have been kicked out/locked out by their parent(s) or guardian(s), may need short-term respite or crisis placement due to family conflict, require emergency shelter placement due to abuse and/or neglect, or due to foster home disruption.

Donations needed include clothes, shoes, school supplies, toiletries, games, sports equipment, etc. for ages 10 – 17.

Donation Locations | Mental Health + Crisis Resources | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
1060 Highway 17, Bartow, Florida 33830
The Salvation Army of Winter Haven / E. Polk County

Those struggling to make ends meet will find a helping hand to move them back toward self-sufficiency. During times of disaster, we provide accommodations and a hot meal. Families going through difficult times discover spiritual help from caring Corps Officers and loving support from a community of believers. Whether it’s a warm blanket, a safe place to stay, The Salvation Army stands ready to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone.
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES: Emergency Financial Assistance, Food Pantry, Disaster Services, Youth Character Building, Worship Services, Holiday Assistance

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Social Services Office Assistance, Food Pantry, Disaster Services, Red Kettle Campaign, Holiday Donations

Donations are welcome – needed items include new and gently used linens, school supplies, clothes and shoes, and hygiene items.

Domestic Violence | Donation Locations | Financial Stability | Food Banks + Food Resources | Housing Assistance | Mental Health + Crisis Resources | Supplies + Financial Aid | Volunteer Opportunities Available | Youth Services
320 Martin Luther King Boulevard Northwest, Winter Haven, Florida 33881