Mentorship program for children in Florida detention centers, including Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – A twist on traditional mentoring: A mentoring program seeks help in reaching children in detention centers.
The individual program is called the VERB Kind.
It is a mentoring program serving eight counties in the Sunshine State, including Duval.
“We’re now in eight counties, across the state of Florida, eight. We have a few left. But our latest is Brevard and Marion County, Ocala and Cocoa Beach. So we’re in Tampa, Jacksonville, we’re in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami. So all over the state of Florida we are so thankful, ”said Haley Hunt, Founder of VERB Kind.
The more than 80 volunteers have helped impact more than 3,000 incarcerated children through a variety of activities.
The founder says everyone deserves the grace no matter what their life may be like.
“We hang out with kids in jail,” Hunt said.
Hunt’s mission is to make an impact on incarcerated youth across Florida through a unique mentorship program.
“VERB stands for Victory Everyday Restoring Belief. We get the victory. We win every day by restoring faith, not only in these children, but in humanity, ”said Hunt.
Hunt explained what makes this type of mentoring different from other programs.
“We are there for them. Many of these children have never felt the love of a father or a mother before. They never played Uno. They never had a pizza party. As if many of these children come from nothing. And to feel the forgiveness, to feel the redemption, just having someone listen to them is so powerful, ”Hunt said.
Every Monday, a group of volunteers go to detention centers and spend time with the children serving sentences.
Whether it’s playing Uno, presenting guest speakers, barbecues, or writing songs, the time these volunteers spend creates new realities for children who otherwise might not believe in Second Chances.
“The VERB Kind sees these kids, and we see doctors, we see lawyers, we see artists and athletes, we see long-lost engineers and barbers – you know, kids with a passion for something. “said Hunt.
Hunt says every kid behind bars deserves a mentorship, no matter what they look like.
“The question is, why would you want to celebrate or reward children who are in prison? Do you know why you would do that? But I love to challenge everyone we all deserve jail. As if we all deserved some sort of punishment that we were kind enough not to receive. We haven’t treated people the right way or anything, ”Hunt said.
To continue its mission of supporting the greatest number of young people incarcerated across the state, VERB Kind is looking for more volunteers and organizations to team up with, particularly in River City.
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