Improving QOL in Community

Project Growth & Sustainability 

In addition to improving the quality of life for the Tri-County area residents, the goal of the NSU Quality of Life (QOL) Council is to promote scholarly research which will achieve sustainability and ultimately have a statewide, national, and global impact.  In the past 13 years, over 50 community based research studies have been funded and we’re proud to say that many of these projects have gained sustainability through community and national funding sources.  We encourage you to take a moment to “catch up” with our previous award winners and see how their projects have grown since QOL..

 

Principal Investigator: Hui Fang Huang “Angie” Su, Ed.D.
Team Members: Kathy Thomas, Ed.D., Stan Hannah, Ph.D., Madeleine Hellman, Ed.D. 

Project WIN’s primary purpose was to help the women who reside at the Broward Outreach Center (a homeless shelter in Pompano Beach, Florida) improve overall functioning, while focusing on the skills needed to reenter the workforce. This was achieved through the implementation of a training program designed to enhance memory recall capabilities and compensate for memory loss, through the use of mathematics.  In addition to the educational aspects of the program, the development of social networks among the participants, the building of self-esteem, and the opportunity for self-improvement were cited by most of the participants as being among the most important results of the program.

Project WIN has been awarded Governor Jeb Bush’s prestigious Points of Light Award. The project also was featured in Boca Raton parade as one of the major philanthropic projects of the Soroptimist International Society (Project WIN cofounder). As a result of the success of Project WIN, Principal Investigator, Hui Fang Huang “Angie” Su, Ed.D., was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to serve on the State Council on Homelessness.  Following her first term, she was appointed by Governor Bush to serve a second term, and was also elected to serve as chairperson for the State Council on Homelessness.  Her role on the Council afforded her the opportunity to effect change in the area of homeless education.  In 2008, NSU hosted a State Council on Homelessness meeting.  Fifteen members attended the meeting, representing 7 state designees, including 4 members appointed by the Governor and 4 members representing statewide organizations and homeless advocacy groups.  Department of Children and Families Secretary, Bob Butterworth was also in attendance.  The sustainability of Project WIN has expanded its impact beyond Broward County and has affected policy change in the broader scope, for the entire state of Florida. 

A Transitional Pathway from Foster Care to College and Beyond, P.I Dr. Denise Crammer

SOUTH FLORIDA—At 17 “Mimi”, suddenly found herself part of the state foster care system, working through difficult family issues and juggling her senior year studies while trying to plan for her future.

At age 18 the state support system ended almost as suddenly as it began for Mimi. Having been in the system for less than six months, she no longer qualified for any state assistance.  Like many young adults who at 18 ‘age out” of the foster care system, Mimi found a safety net in the form of Kids@Home, an organization dedicated to helping foster youth learn and grow as they prepare to transition from foster care at age 18 into the world.

Kids@Home, (along with Turtle Nest Village, also located in Palm Beach County), provides a continuum of care for foster teens and emancipated foster youth. The organization arranged for housing and assigned Mimi to a life coach for counseling and support. Thanks to 100 percent funding from Children’s Services Council of Broward, Mimi became part of the Kids@Home “Future Prep Program”.

Social worker Shanna Fried was just two days into her new job as a Life Coach for the Boca Raton-based Kids@Home organization when she noticed a scholarship opportunity listed on a United Way circular. 

The scholarship, established by Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Fischler College of Education (FCE) was created to provide an undergraduate transitioning youth with the cost of tuition for undergraduate studies with the College of Education.

In her caseload of 15 teens and young adults, Shanna thought Mimi was a good fit based on the eligibility qualifications and expectations. “She had good grades, she was a motivated, dedicated good student,” recalled Shanna. “Mimi had the potential and we were going to make the effort to make this happen for her.”

For Mimi, who had hoped to one day attend the local community college, a four year $70,000 scholarship to NSU was never an option—until now. The golden ring suddenly was well within reach. Shanna and Mimi worked together on the application and then held their breath.

Mimi, who now lives in nearby Plantation, was accepted to the undergraduate program and began her studies this fall at NSU with the ultimate goal of becoming an elementary school teacher. “I had never expected something like this to happen to me,” she said. “This is so cool.  The teachers are great and things look so different today than they did just a few months ago.”

Awarded for the first time last year, the Nova Southeastern University Transitional Independent Living Undergraduate Scholarship was created through and is supported by the collaborative efforts of the United Way of Broward County, The Junior League of Fort Lauderdale and the NSU Fischler College of Education.

Elizabeth Wynter of United Way pitched the scholarship idea to Kim Durham, Psy.D, executive dean for Administration and Human Services at FCE and H. Wells Singleton, Ph.D., education provost and university dean of FCE. The idea became a reality, offering an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for former foster teens to get a quality university level education.

Thanks to the Legacy Project administered by the Junior League of Fort Lauderdale, information regarding this and similar scholarships and many other programs available to transitioning foster youths will be housed in the TIL Resource Center. The center, according to TIL Resource Director Kristen Guerrise, is a convenient one stop location where youth from the dependency system can access the services and supports needed to assure their successful transition into adulthood.

About Kids@Home and Turtle Nest Village
Kids@Home, founded in 2000, and Turtle Nest Village, founded in 2001, have worked for the past seven years to meet the needs of former foster youth.  The two organizations jointly provide South Florida foster teens with a wide range of services, including housing and life skill training while connecting them to a network of community resources that include education, work readiness/job placement, health care, counseling and mentoring.

About Foster Care
In America over 500,000 kids lie in foster care.  They are abandoned youth of our country and often become a burden to themselves and to our communities as adults.  No child chooses to be taken from their family and placed with strangers in several shelters, group homes and foster families.  Our government makes the decision to remove these children from their homes and then assumes the responsibility of parenting them.  Parenting doesn’t end at 18, an age when foster youth care typically ends.

Without help at this crucial time:

  • Up to 45% will experience homelessness within the first year.
  • More than half will be unemployed.
  • Less than half will have a high school diploma.
  • They will be three times more likely than the general population to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • They will be seven times more likely to experience drug dependence and twice as likely to experience alcohol dependence.
  • Within four years, 41% will be on some type of public assistance.
  • 25% of the males will be incarcerated.

A unique approach to community engagement with older adults, P.I. Dr. Jacquelyn Browne, which has been sustained by the City of Coral Springs

This project was developed as a Train-the-Trainer model for the City of Coral Springs.  The initial version of this program was a 10 week course for older adults who explored their ‘elderhood’, while creating community service projects that evolved from their personal interests and curiosity.  This project was funded by a Quality of Life grant.

Because the City of Coral Springs is designated as a Community for a Lifetime (CFAL), one of the county commissioners who represents older adult interests, asked co-investigator, Ed Aqua, Director of Lifelong Learning, Farquhar, and the Principal Investigator, Dr. Jacquelyn Browne to train a select number of the City of Coral Springs staff and residents to replicate the program in their city.  A Manual was created and a 9-week training program was presented in the Spring, 2008.  Funding for this training was provided by the Fischler College of Education, The Community Foundation of Broward, and The City of Coral Springs.

Submitted by Jacquelyn Browne, Ph.D., Program Professor of Gerontology Initiatives, Fischler College of Education

Henderson Mental Health Center has contracted with the Center for Psychological Studies, and the Fischler College of Education, specifically Dr. Lenore Walker and Dr. James Pann respectively, in the amount of $30,219.00, to provide evaluation services as part of “Freedom Project.” The project is an offshoot and direct result of their Quality of Life FY 2008 Grant funded by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, “Needs Assessment of the Mentally Ill Involved in Broward County.”  See below for more information on this exciting collaborative undertaking.

Broward County proposes to divert individuals with mental health or co-occurring disorders from jails by implementing a promising practice pre-arrest intervention culturally competent community-based jail diversion model, utilizing an integrated consumer-supported approach. This model will be a collaborative   partnership between law enforcement, the criminal justice and mental health/substance abuse treatment systems, to ensure participants are receiving effective treatment and supportive services without compromising public safety. The Project will provide twenty-four hour drop-off accessibility by law enforcement officers of persons at risk of arrest resulting from mental health behavioral issues. Freedom Project will offer an alternative for persons who are mentally ill and at risk of criminal justice involvement, treatment linkage, and other resources. The Project will promote Broward County's dedication to a recovery and resiliency-based model of care, which empowers clients and affords    them full participation in their own care. It is anticipated that approximately four-hundred individuals will be diverted to the Freedom Project per year and will have an impact on reducing recidivism amid this population. The Project will be co-located at the 19th Street Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) operated by Henderson Mental Health Center, Inc. The project will run twenty-four hours, seven days per week, affording staff the opportunity to assess needs of individuals and provide referrals and necessary resources. Services will include peer support, counseling, case management and evaluation for further treatment interventions as deemed necessary. For individuals requiring emergency housing, Freedom Project will contract for 6 beds.  Drs. James Pann and Lenore Walker from Fischler College of Education and the Center for Psychological Studies, respectively, at Nova Southeastern University will lead the program evaluation team. This project stems from their previous involvement as Co-Principal Investigators on a Nova Southeastern University, Quality of Life research project funded by the Broward Sheriff's Office. That project produced a report titled "Best Practices Model for Intervention with the Mentally Ill in the Broward County Criminal Justice System," which provided a review of best practices and made specific recommendations to be considered by government agencies and policymakers. The annual budget for NSU will be $30,219.00, largely to cover the costs of research assistants and assessment instruments.