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Lt. Gov. Kottkamp Celebrates Governor’s Community Investment Awards Winners

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Tallahassee -- Florida's Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, The Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation (FJJF) Board and its Chairman Barney Bishop and Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Frank Peterman Jr. today recognized the winners of the 14th Annual Governor's Community Investment Awards. Four businesses were recognized at a ceremony for their contributions to Florida's at-risk children. Since 1995, each Florida Governor and DJJ Secretary have recognized outstanding businesses from around the state that work voluntarily to reduce juvenile delinquency in Florida’s communities.

"The companies awarded today are an inspiring reminder of the good that comes from public-private partnerships," Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp said. "The Governor and I are grateful to each company for investing their time and resources, and for working with our state agencies, to make a difference for the youth of Florida. We share these businesses' commitment to helping at-risk children succeed, and we hope more Florida businesses will follow the example of those recognized today."

"The businesses being honored have given our children greater hope, and their communities a stronger foundation for success," stated Secretary Peterman. "The civic involvement with our at-risk youth demonstrated by these business leaders is key to building a brighter Florida for all citizens."

"The Board is proud to see the business community so active at the local program level,” said Bishop. "We congratulate these outstanding award recipients."

Youth programs and organizations from around the state nominated businesses that actively participated in supporting at-risk youth and/or the youth organizations that served those youth throughout 2009. A Nominations Review Committee was formed and selected the winners.

The 14th Annual Governor's Community Investment Award winners honored today are:

For-Profit Category (two winners):

Convergys, Jacksonville, represented by Robin Cheshire
Nominated by PACE Center for Girls-Jacksonville, represented by Debbie Moroney

PACE Center for Girls-Jacksonville and Convergys designed the Convergys Job Shadowing Project offering girls an opportunity to learn a variety of job skills for the professional work environment and promoting a better understanding of employment opportunities. The girls shadow mentors in a real-world professional setting and learn interpersonal skills and positive relationships with professionals in their community. The project, started in 1998, has served 192 youth by providing opportunities to learn and enhance presentation skills, including software programs and public speaking. The girls are continually encouraged to dream beyond the traditional views of employment and to understand the greater opportunities that await them.

Walt Disney World Resort, represented by Clay Shoemaker
Nominated by John Paré, Board President, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida

Walt Disney World Resort has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida (BBBS) for more than 10 years. During that time, its commitment to the agency and bettering the lives of at-risk youth has increased significantly. For the past six years, an executive-level official has served on the BBBS Board. Through Disney's Helping Kids Shine grant program, the Walt Disney World Resort has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the agency, helping more than 570 youth last year. This support has allowed the agency’s doors to remain open and to maintain its services to children in need throughout Central Florida.

Not-for-Profit Category:

Alachua County Library District, represented by Phillis Filer and Shaney Livingston
Nominated by Sol M. Hirsch, Library Director

The Library Intern Program is a paid internship targeting at-risk youth and focuses on academic and workforce skills. Students are assigned a mentor and work in different areas of the library for a 9-week session. Forty students have received job mentoring, money management, work expectations, life skills and work experience they will need to more effectively enter today’s workforce. One participant is now in graduate school studying library science.

Independent Business Category:

Honeycomb Company of America, Inc., represented by Daniel Judge and joined by Jerry Parrish of the Bradenton YMCA
Nominated by Michael Schmid, Office of the Attorney General
Office of Statewide Prosecution, Tampa, Florida

The Honeycomb Project for Youth provides mentoring, job training and assistance, and employment opportunities to at-risk youth. This project has been made possible by a partnership between employees of Honeycomb Company of America, Inc., and the community YMCA. At-risk youth are assigned a mentor and work to turn their lives around through job training and assistance. Since the project began in 2007, Honeycomb Company of America, Inc. has hired 10 youth as a result of this successful mentoring process.

The Governor's Community Investment Awards are sponsored by Ajax Building Corporation, Star & Shield Insurance Exchange and the Florida Juvenile Justice Foundation, Inc., which is the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit direct-support organization for DJJ. FJJF’s mission is to solicit and steward private gifts that are used to help children in the juvenile justice system. For more information on how you can help, please visit http://www.DJJFoundation.org.

The mission of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth. Please visit our website at http://www.djj.state.fl.us.

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