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NAMI Collier County receives $3,500 grant for children’s programs

The Student Philanthropy Council of the Collier Community Foundation awarded the grant to help fund family resiliency training

NAMI Collier County has received a $3,500 grant from the Collier Community Foundation to support Children’s Mental Health Program HUGS resiliency training for at-risk children and families.

The grant award was selected by the Collier Community Foundation’s Student Philanthropy Council, a volunteer group of juniors and seniors in Barron Collier High School’s National Honor Society who learn about community needs, charitable organizations that address those needs, grant making and strategies to improve the quality of life for all Collier County residents.

HUGS serves children at risk of mental health and developmental difficulties by connecting them with needed health resources, advocating for them as they navigate the health system, helping them build resiliency and other needed interventions.

“As a pilot program in 2023, the HUGS resiliency trainings showed great promise,” said Beth Hatch, CEO of NAMI Collier County. “Thanks to the funding from the Collier Community Foundation, we are now able to expand and formalize these trainings for children and families in the HUGS program. Parents participating in the program have already expressed seeing a positive change in their child’s willingness to engage and socialize and learn skills to help guide and support.”

The funds will allow for the expansion of resiliency training for children and their parents or caregivers. During the six-week program, families work with NAMI Collier staff to learn and practice resiliency strategies. The families leave the weekly sessions better prepared to cope with their own stressors and to support friends and family dealing with social, emotional, behavioral or developmental difficulties.

The Collier Community Foundation’s Student Philanthropy Council was started by Elizabeth Frank in 2020. She funded it with an annual gift of $10,000 for the first two years, and then the Foundation invested unrestricted grantmaking dollars into the fund. The goal of the council is to improve the quality of life in Collier County while educating students and citizens of the importance of philanthropy.

The Student Philanthropy Council had $10,000 to invest in two or three nonprofit programs addressing “Mental Health Wellness for Collier County Students from Low-Income Households.” The Council volunteers used the Community Foundation’s grant software to review, evaluate and score grant requests. In addition to the grant to NAMI, the Council awarded a grant to the Children’s Advocacy Council of Collier County.

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