ORLANDO – The Central Florida Children’s Home has a mission, and an important one: to provide a safe shelter for children, and, if possible, to keep siblings together.
“My father founded the home over 33 years ago, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Daniel Green, an officer at the home, in a video that described what the non-profit, charitable agency in Orlando does.
Not surprisingly, though, it’s not an inexpensive proposition to provide a home, care and education for abandoned, neglected, and abused children between the ages of 3 and 18 years old.
“Caring for these children does not come without a price,” Green said.
The home is getting some extra assistance over the next 11 months, from an organization that represents many of the businesses in one of Central Florida’s strongest segments of the economy, tourism.
The Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, a trade group that represents the region’s fast-growing vacation home industry, has adopted the Central Florida Children’s Home as its charity of the year. What that means is that the association, which meets on the third Thursday of every month, will ask its members to make contributions at each meeting to this charity – an entire year’s worth of donations.
The cause is well worth this support, said An Flamand, the president of the CFVRMA.
“Isn’t this a great charity?” she said, during the association’s monthly meeting, held on Feb. 16 at Fun Spot, the theme park on U.S. 192. “I strongly believe it in, just because it keeps children together.”
The Central Florida Children’s Home overlooks Lake Whipporwill, about 15 miles south of Orlando. Founded in 1973 by Eastland Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Pastor Clyde F. Green, it now operates under its own charter and board of directors.
As the charity notes on its web site, “We do not receive any government funding, and rely on our donors and volunteers for support.”
Renee Wright, a representative of the Children’s Home, attended the CFVRMA meeting and said the support of the vacation home industry would be a great help to their efforts.
“Thank you for choosing us this year as your charity,” she said. “We’ve been there for 39 years now as a non-profit.”
Their goal, she said, is to give the children a safe place to stay, and to offer them a more hopeful tomorrow. In many instances, their parents are struggling with financial or health problems, and can no longer afford to care for them, even if they want to.
“Their parents voluntarily give up their guardianship,” she said. By letting the children stay in a nurturing environment, “It let’s the parents get their lives together,” without severing their ability to care for them when they straighten out their problems, she added.
“Whenever their parents are able to care for them, they can always come back and get them,” she said. “We have 17 children now, and we can take up to 24.”
While living at the home, the children attend a private Christian school on Lake Underhill in Orlando, “and they attend church as well,” Wright said.
To learn more about the Central Florida Children’s Home, call 407-277-7441 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The home is at 12569 Narcoossee Road in Orlando.
The vacation home industry is one of the fast-growing businesses in Central Florida, particularly in Osceola and Polk counties.
Vacation homes are fully furnished houses rented on a short term basis to tourists and business travelers, and are particularly popular with families that want to rent a home with multiple bedrooms, a kitchen and private pool rather than a hotel or motel room. The industry has actually grown despite the recession, in part because people who purchased homes at the height of the real estate market boom in 2004 and 2007, and can’t sell them today, are turning them into vacation homes and renting them instead. The CFVRMA represents the managers of these vacation home properties.
Jeff Chase, a member of the CFVRMA’s board of directors, said he hopes the support of the association goes a long way toward helping the Central Florida Children’s Home’s mission.
“I was involved in that charity a few years ago, and I went out there to see it,” he said. “What a fantastic program. They take in kids who would be split up otherwise.”
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