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Since winning the Miss Florida title in July 2009, Rachel Todd has been visiting homeless programs in Florida, meeting with the recipients of services, and lobbying members of the Florida State and Federal legislatures.

Todd, a 23-year-old University of Central Florida graduate, has made “Changing the Face of Homelessness” her pageant platform after growing up helping the homeless members of her community growing up. Todd’s mother, Krissy Todd, heads up the Hope Foundation in Oviedo which works to end homelessness. Staffed by a NCH AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer, the Hope Foundation hosts NCH’s Faces of Homelessness Speakers’ Bureau project in Seminole County.

Shortly after winning the Miss Florida title in July, Todd traveled to Washington, DC to attend a homelessness conference and to lobby U.S. House Members on the homeless hate crimes legislation (H.R. 3419). As Miss Florida nears the end of her reign, she is returning to Washington, DC the week of May 16 to continue her lobbying on H.R. 3419, along with its companion bill (S. 1765) in the U.S. Senate. With Florida enacting homeless hate crimes legislation on May 11, she hopes to convince the Florida’s Congressional Delegation to support this important piece of legislation.

rachel

Carroll McKenney Public Media presents Heard in Central Florida (HCF) -- a collaboration with the Seminole County League of Women Voters presenting the league’s Hot Topics luncheon program on the issue of “homeless students in Seminole County Florida.”

Now on-line here, the presentation and follow-up questions from the luncheon audience of league members and guests was recorded Thursday, January 28, 2010. It features remarks from Beth D. Davalos, staff liaison for a Seminole County school system project known as Families in Transition, which provides services to homeless students attending Seminole County Public Schools.  After Ms. Davalos’ presentation, she responds to questions from the audience. The luncheon was hosted by league president, Deana Schott. The program is 44:21 in length.

Ms. Davalos’ presentation notes that 904 students are considered homeless in the current school year. These students come from all areas of the county and from the 7 cities in the county.   Each child must find some way to make it through the school year in a situation of insecurity and tension as their family struggles to find shelter. In 2003 only 3 students were faced with concentrating on academic achievement while also facing the anxiety and embarrassment of homelessness, according to Davalos.

In the current economic environment, Davalos repots that many families with school age children have lost their home and have struggled to find living facilities.  Seventy six percent of these families end up in shared housing with all the attendant over-crowding and loss of privacy.   The homeless shelter in Seminole county separates families by gender and has too few beds even then, but 9% of the students live there.   Many other families live in temporary shelter in a single hotel room. As a result, these homeless students are performing 1.7 grade levels below other students.  Twenty-one percent of homeless children become homeless adults.   Their social life is almost non-existent because they can’t bring friends “home.”

Davalos presents these statistics and describes action taken by the schools to provide the unique services that these children in need.  The passage of the McKinney-Vento Act set federal requirements and guidelines to meet this crisis.  Services provided by Families in Transition include:

**Continuation in their school of origin no matter where they moved to find shelter so they don’t have to disrupt their school environment.  Transportation provided.

**Free breakfast and lunch each day

**Some new clothing, backpacks and hygiene products.

**Counseling and tutoring to help with academics and behavior

**Coordinated assistance from community agencies at all levels of government.

**Pathways to Home, a pilot program to provide 30 case managers to serve 130 homeless families.

Many families are new to the economic crisis of homelessness and don’t know where to turn.  Each year the school system sponsors a Families in Transition event at Winter Springs High school where 300 volunteers and social service agencies gather to provide information and services to 900 local families who find themselves homeless or in need.

For this on-line presentation, the Heard in Central Florida webpage offers a listener relevant and helpful information regarding homeless students in Seminole County. These helpful features include links to external Websites of organizations to which Davalos refers, a downloadable file of Davalos’ slide presentation as well as still pictures of the event. The site also offers an on-line comment section, and the ability to email the HCF link those who may be interested in the subject matter.

CMF has also collaborated with the Seminole County League of Women Voters on the previous Hot Topics lunches addressing youth substance abuse in Seminole County and a gavel to gavel presentation by county education leaders at the league’s recent forum on education funding priorities for Seminole County Public Schools and Seminole State College. Both features may be heard on-line here and here, respectively.

CMF has also launched a similar collaboration with the Oviedo/Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce. That Heard in Central Florida on-line presentation features the chamber’s annual “State of the Cities” luncheon address by the mayors of the cities of Oviedo and Winter Springs, Florida. It may be heard at here.

Heard in Central Floridas Web portal and its collaboration with these important civic organizations is another step in CMF’s mission to reflect yet more local issues and voices that matter through the production of audio recordings of local events addressing important – and often little publicized – issues such as chamber of commerce luncheon speakers, voter forums, and civic club speeches on issues about which listeners may benefit from greater awareness.

Carroll McKenney Public Media also produces Central Florida Matters, its flagship program featuring a variety of local issues and voices that matter. Now on-line at http://cmfmedia.org, it features a follow-up discussion with the mayors of Winter Springs and Oviedo after their “state of the city” addresses. Additional segments also feature a report on the challenge and fun of the fast-paced sport of lacrosse, a walking tour of historic downtown Oviedo and commentary from Oviedo’s Miss Florida.

Carroll McKenney Foundation for Public Media, Inc., is a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity. Located in Oviedo, Florida, CMF produces and distributes program content via the Internet, such as downloadable audio podcasts featuring local issues and voices that matter to Central Florida.

CMF’s Website provides additional information about Carroll McKenney Foundation: upcoming programming, history and future plans, governance and budget. While at the site, a visitor can subscribe to the CMF E-Letter. An on-line contribution opportunity is also available for visitors or listeners wishing to make a tax deductible contribution to non-profit CMF. The state of Florida recognizes CMF as exempt from state sales tax and approved to conduct charitable solicitations.

Each year thousands of nominations are sent to e-Town for their Echievement Award, a nationally broadcast radio segment, which highlights those making a difference in their community. Over a year ago, Krissy Todd, Executive Director of HOPE Foundation, was nominated for her dedication to her community and work with HOPE. The interview process took place over several months in early 2009, which included additional requests for information, and numerous phone interviews. krissy
Last month, HOPE was notified that Krissy was chosen as the winner for their March 2010 airing, which immediately followed with an on-air interview with a live audience.

Please take a moment to listen to the (8 min) interview which describes HOPE's beginnings and the continued work we are doing to help children and families in crisis in our community... or catch the interview on one of these stations in Florida this weekend
etown

Click here to listen to the interview in it's entirety

Florida airing (this week):
Destin WKGC-FM 90.7 FM/1480 AM Saturday 6am
Ft. Walton Beach WKGC-FM 90.7 FM/1480 AM Saturday 6am
Gainesville WUFT-FM 89.1 FM HD-2 Sunday 1pm
Orlando WMMO-FM 98.9 FM & HD-1 Sunday 7am
Panama City WKGC-FM 90.7 FM/1480 AM Saturday 6am
Pensacola WKGC-FM 90.7 FM/1480 AM Saturday 6am
*Streaming available for all above stations.



 

 

 

 

 

About e-town (from their website):
etown's mission is to educate, entertain and inspire a diverse audience, through music and conversation, to create a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable world.

etown is an exciting weekly radio broadcast:
We're heard from coast to coast on NPR®/public, commercial, and community stations. Like old-time radio variety shows, every etown show is taped in front of a live audience and features performances from many of today's top musical artists as well as conversation and information about our communities and our environment.

etown is a community builder:
By featuring diverse music and interviews with a wide variety of authors, poets and policy-makers, etown creates a constantly expanding "community on the air." With the addition of inspiring e-chievement awards, listeners all over the country are reminded that individual efforts really do make a difference. etown is a place where respect for each other and our natural environment go hand in hand




A feature of every Central Florida Matters is a 3-minute commentary presented by a voice that matters on an issue that voice believes matters.

The voice you’ll hear is that of Rachael Todd, Miss Florida 2009 and a resident of Oviedo, Florida, commenting on why ending homelessness matters.
Feature length – 03:37

Download interview here.