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SD&T News

Central Florida PAR Instructors Volunteer with United Cerebral Palsy

Left to right: Mr. Powell – Volunteer from OYA, and PAR instructors Harold Dixon – Circuit 18 Probation, Kerrick May – Orange Youth Academy, Tanesha Blackmon – SD&T, Omar Bohler – Circuit 9 Probation.


Kudos to the team of PAR Instructors of the Central Region: Tanesha Blackmon (Staff Development & Training), Omar Bohler (Central Region Commitment Manager), Mickel Green (Seminole County Sheriff’s Office - Circuit 18), Johnny Hart (Brevard Group Treatment Home – Aspire Health Partners, Inc. - Circuit 18), Harold Dixon (Circuit 18 Probation), and Kerrick May (Orange Youth Academy – G4S - Circuit 9). Each year, the team participates in at least one community service event. For the 2015 calendar year, they chose to volunteer at the “Help Build a Playground” community service event with UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) of Central Florida.   

The team, along with their family and friends as well as a host of other organizations that included Disney, the Florida Council on Crime & Delinquency (FCCD), the Orange County Corrections Department, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and youths from Orange Youth Academy (G4S) and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office Boxing League, joined together on Saturday, April 18, 2015, to build a safe place for children play in the Pine Hills community of West Orlando. The new playground is located at 5800 Golf Club Blvd, Orlando, FL 32808.     


The PAR instructors were eager to participate in this project because they believe it embodies the Department’s vision, in which the children and families of Florida live in safe, nurturing communities that provide for their needs, recognize their strengths and support their success.

“As a non-profit organization, the UCP of Central Florida walks hand-in-hand with other community agencies whose mission it is to help children, with and without special needs, reach their full potential. That is also, in essence, what we do for the kids that we serve,” said Master PAR Instructor Tanesha Blackmon.

“This project also supports our DJJ guiding principles. For instance, one of these is to strengthen partnerships with judicial, legislative and community stakeholders.  We will be working alongside many of these entities in this volunteer project. Another of our guiding principles is to promote public safety through effective intervention and to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children.  Building a playground in an at-risk community is an attempt to provide that safe environment for children to play. It also gives them an alternative to just being idle in the community, which based our professional experience, is one of the factors that can contribute to delinquent and antisocial behavior. As for our principle of preserving and restoring physical and mental health, just the installation of a playground, in and of itself, is vital for a child’s cognitive, mental/emotional, physical, and social development. These are the very things that DJJ trains its employees to not only recognize, but to nurture in the children that we serve. Therefore, it only made sense to us, as representatives of DJJ, that this event would be the event to volunteer for in our local community,” stated Blackmon.

UCP of Central Florida, a tuition free public charter school, is a resource for families, children, the medical community, and referral agencies in Central Florida. It provides support, education and therapy services in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. UCP helps children from birth to age 21 who have cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, speech delays, developmental delays, vision and hearing impairment, and also serves children, teenagers and young adults through individually designed physical, speech and occupational therapy.

To see WKMG Channel 6 news coverage, click here: http://www.clickorlando.com/news/volunteers-come-out-for-kaboom/32439360

Below is a message of thanks the group received following the event.

Good afternoon UCP KaBOOM Volunteers –

WOW!  What an incredible site it was to see all of our amazing volunteers and friends come together in building this beautiful playground for our UCP Pine Hills students.  With your hard work and dedication, and the support of our partners at Walt Disney World & KaBOOM, we were able to provide UCP’s children with a place where their imagination can run wild, a place to promote a healthy lifestyle and a place where children of ALL abilities can learn & play. 

Check out photos from our build day at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153820358960663.1073741945.64465610662&type=1 and feel free to share on your social media channels.  Remember #playmatters!

On behalf of all of our staff, children and families at UCP, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We are humbled by the amount of support we have received from our community in continuing to make UCP’s mission possible!  We hope to see you again soon. 

Asma Addarrat
UCP of Central Florida

Community Development Manager