Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Rick Scott

David E. Wilkins

December 9, 2011
(904) 723-5470/ (904) 233-7792

DCF Teams Up With Local Agencies, Church and Businesses To Host Brentwood Bonanza
~ Helping Parents Who Are Facing Challenges To Increase Family Stability While
Celebrating The Holidays Event To Be Held Saturday, December, 10, 1pm-4 p.m.,
at the Emmett Reed Community Center, 1093 West 6th Street

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – ll children deserve loving, caring parents regardless of their family's circumstances. Parents from about 50 families on Jacksonville's Northside are getting encouragement to become better parents from an innovative partnership between DCF and several partner agencies. They have completed parenting classes to earn credits for Christmas gifts for their children. On Saturday, December 10, they will be able to pick up these gifts at a special event, the “Brentwood Holiday Bonanza,” between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Emmett Reed Community Center on 1093 West 6th Street.

"The idea of parenting and self-improvement classes is not new, but pairing the classes with the opportunity to provide Christmas gifts is an innovation," explained Bryan Hensley, Community Development Administrator for the Florida Department of Children and Families in Jacksonville. "We are excited about the idea of bringing the importance of better parenting with things like celebrating and creating family traditions. This has the potential to break the cycle of bad decisions that some families make, and can also lead to improving our community."

DCF and several partner agencies recently held a day of parenting and self-improvement classes named “Brentwood Families Forever (BFF) University”. Eight courses were taught by members of the community with expertise in several areas, including saving money by using coupons, appropriate discipline for toddlers, and the importance of families eating together. Parents earned credits for completing these classes, which can be redeemed for Christmas gifts for their children at the Brentwood Holiday Bonanza event on December 10 at the Emmett Reed Community Center. Seventy five children and approximately 50 families will benefit from these events.

The gifts for the children of parents who have completed these classes were wrapped by youngsters who attend The Well at Springfield, a local religious organization. The Well's pastor, Rev. Susan Rogers, has been instrumental in helping to plan this event.

The Department of Children and Families and its community partners are providing volunteers to help carry out this event and arranged for donations of gifts. DCF teamed up with the Jacksonville Public Library's Brentwood branch on the Northside, the Brentwood Share Shop at the Library, Lea's Place, the United Way of Northeast Florida's Born Learning Program and Women in Local Leadership WILL Affinity Group, The Well at Springfield and Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church to sponsor the Brentwood Holiday Bonanza.