Charity Spotlight: 2016 In Review


Over the past year, DCWAF's Charity Partners have made some amazing strides in helping our community's children. There are so many wonderful services and programs in place and our charities are continously expanding. We could not be more proud! Here are some of the highlights of 2016.

Children in Crisis Inc. (CIC) opened the Ty Autry Pennington foster home in their Children's Neighborhood during the month of September. The Children’s Neighborhood provides a home to an average of 100 children per year. CIC works to provide emergency shelter and foster homes to children in Okaloosa, Walton, Escambia, and Santa Rosa counties and strives to keep siblings united.

Emerald Coast Autism Center (ECAC) opened their new facility in Niceville on the Northwest Florida State College campus on November 17th. ECAC is dedicated to educating and improving the lives of young children with autism in Okaloosa and Walton counties and surrounding areas through ABA and VB therapy. This new building will allow the Autism Center to increase their student capacity, and ensures the space they need to ultimately attain long-term sustainabiliy for their student population.  

Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center (ECCAC) works to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children, and restore the lives and futures of impacted children. In April, they opened the Pierce Family Advocacy Center in Defuniak Springs, specially dedicating their Justice Wing to the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation. The Centers house a multidisciplinary team of child protection personnel, prosecutors, law enforcement, DCF, therapists, staff and volunteers. 

Food For Thought Outreach (FFT)  provides backpacks filled with healthy, easy to prepare food for students who are dependent on free or reduced school meals. Their goal is to support children's development and educational experiences by bridging the gap between school meals during weekends and holiday breaks. In May, they opened their new Destin Pantry allowing them to provide more meals to children with food insecurity. They have also begun construction on their Full Circle Kitchen set to open in 2017.

Habitat for Humanity Walton County celebrated their 40th Home Dedication in June and have built four homes in Santa Rosa Beach. Habitat is dedicated to help break the cycle of poverty by eliminating substandard housing in Walton County Florida.

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast opened their new Outpatient Center at the Market Shops in Miramar Beach last August which features pediatric and adult primary care services, lab and x-ray services, and rehabilitation services for physical, occupational and speech therapy. Additionally, they have undergone a 24-bed expansion in their Maternity Wing. The hospital’s Family Birth Place now delivers more than 1,200 babies a year and the added rooms for new mothers nearly doubles the previous capacity for maternity services. Sacred Heart has furthermore undergone expansions in their inpatient unit and emergency department. They are also beginning construction on their NICU this month.

To learn more about the wonderful ways in which our Charity Partners are helping the children of Northwest Florida, CLICK HERE. We hope to see a lot more in 2017!


- Melissa Vidaurre 

Published on Thursday, January 12, 2017