VIDEO: Crosswinds Youth Services Assist Youth To Reach Their Potential

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CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION

ABOVE VIDEO: In addition to helping runaways, the Crosswinds shelter houses children removed from abusive home environments by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and youths having difficulties at home and needing a cooling-off period while counseling resolves family issues.

“We Have Incredible People Helping Us”

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Forty years ago, the Space Coast community joined in sorrow over the discovery of several graves of murdered children. The youngsters had all been runaways. All had been murdered.

Judge Clarence Johnson and Dr. Robert E. Lehton, two of the founders of Crosswinds, in front of the new shelter. (Image for Space Coast Medicine & Active Living)

Judge Clarence Johnson and Dr. Robert E. Lehton, two of the founders of Crosswinds, in front of the new shelter. (Image for Space Coast Medicine & Active Living)

“There was a great outcry to help runaways,” said Jan Lokay, president and CEO of Crosswinds Youth Services. “There were no services at the time for them.”

It was clear that an emergency shelter was needed to protect runaway and homeless youth, and the community – guided by leaders such as Judge Clarence Johnson and psychologist Dr. Robert Lehton – united to create Crosswinds’ first program, a crisis shelter for youth, now known as the Robert E. Lehton Children’s Shelter.

The organization continues to provide its critically needed 24/7, 28-bed crisis shelter for young people ages 10 to 17, but Crosswinds also continues rising to other needs facing today’s youth.

“As needs changed, more services were provided,” said Lokay.

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In addition to helping runaways, the Crosswinds shelter houses children removed from abusive home environments by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and youths having difficulties at home and needing a cooling-off period while counseling resolves family issues.

PROVIDING OPPORTUNITY

The organization’s philosophy focuses on providing the right opportunities so all children in Brevard can reach their full potential.

Jim and Cynthia Handley and Dr. Maxwell and Doris King

Jim and Cynthia Handley and Dr. Maxwell and Doris King

The obstacles these young people face are difficult even for adults to handle, problems such as homelessness, abuse and neglect and extreme family instability, but Crosswinds is there for them, regardless of the problem.

“Today’s young people are facing great challenges,” said Lokay.

“We have more complex problems. It’s been very difficult for Brevard families these past few years.”

Current programs also include transitional housing and skills training for young adults 16 to 21 as they work on becoming self-sufficient, street outreach for homeless youth to help get them off the streets, counseling to reunite and strengthen families, help for youth aging out of the foster care system, and intervention for young offenders.

Crosswinds is particularly proud of collaboration with local law enforcement that created the Brevard Civil Citation initiative. This initiative gives youths with minor offenses a second chance by offering them an alternative to arrest.

2014 CROSSWINDS BOARD MEMBERS include, left to right, Jan Lokay, Wayne Justice, Andrew Walters, Mitch Goldman, Alison Malone, Shannon Wilson, Charlie Nash, Bob Lehton, Summit Shah, Dara Cunnion Pauley, Greg Crews, Jim Handley and Tom Weinberg. Not pictured are Jack Parker, Stockton Whitten and Sheriff Wayne Ivey. (Image for Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine)

2014 CROSSWINDS BOARD MEMBERS include, left to right, Jan Lokay, Wayne Justice, Andrew Walters, Mitch Goldman, Alison Malone, Shannon Wilson, Charlie Nash, Bob Lehton, Summit Shah, Dara Cunnion Pauley, Greg Crews, Jim Handley and Tom Weinberg. Not pictured are Jack Parker, Stockton Whitten and Sheriff Wayne Ivey. (Image for Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine)

In 2013, Crosswinds touched the lives of more than 5,500 young people and their families through its programs, information and referral and outreach. For Lokay, the greatest reward of the job is hearing back from former clients about their success.

“On a weekly basis, we get people in their 20s, 30s and even 40s making contact with us to tell us how they’re doing,” said Lokay.

Crosswinds youth in 2014 Great Brevard Duck Race t-shirts, with Misty Campbell, Director of Development, and Jan Lokay, President/CEO, in front of the Clevenger Center. (Image for Space Coast Medicine &Active Living)

Crosswinds youth in 2014 Great Brevard Duck Race t-shirts, with Misty Campbell, Director of Development, and Jan Lokay, President/CEO, in front of the Clevenger Center. (Image for Space Coast Medicine &Active Living)

Just one of many stories, a teen left at the shelter by her mother, underlines the organization’s efficacy.

To help the young woman achieve her dream of becoming a forensic pathologist, Crosswinds, with the help of the Eckerd Family Foundation, awarded her a scholarship to attend a medical conference.

This experience led to her decision to attend Cornell University.

The nonprofit was named 2003 Agency of the Year by the National Network for Youth.

In 2008, Crosswinds was selected as Nonprofit Organization of the Year by the Melbourne-Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce. In 2013, the Titusville Chamber of Commerce chose it as its Nonprofit of the Year.

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Lokay credits the organization’s success to a devoted staff, a dedicated board and continued support from residents of the county, from the Board of County Commissioners to local churches, businesses and individuals.

“We have incredible people helping us,” she said.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI

ABOUT THE 2014 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS

CFHA-SPONSORS-200-14

The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world. 

This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, with the festivities beginning at 6 p.m.

“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.

All Humanitarian alumni are presented a specially commissioned medallion.

“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as SpaceCoastDaily.com,” said Dr. Palermo.

This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by M.H. Williams Construction, Brighthouse Networks, Health First, Brevard Physicians Network, Clear Choice Health Care, First Choice Medical Group, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Florida Pain Institute, Sangiv Patel, DDS, PA, Brevard Geriatrics, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com

For more information about the Central Florida Humanitarian Gala call 321-323-4460 or e-mail MaverickMultiMedia@gmail.com

BELOW MAP: The 2014 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.

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