Sometimes being a kid isn’t as simplistic as many of us recall.  Unfortunately, some children experience life situations that conclude with them being placed in an environment away from their initial home.  Fortunately, there are places like A Kid’s Place that will take in these children who desperately need a loving environment in which they can be understood and well taken of.  A Kid’s Place is a non-profit organization that provides refuge for abused, neglected and abandoned children.   

A Loving Place For Kids in Need

The mission of A Kid’s Place is to provide a safe, loving and nurturing home for foster children or children who have been removed from their home due to neglect, abuse or abandonment.   They certainly do that and more!  Development Director Samantha Mellen explained the average length of stay for children at A Kid’s Place is approximately six months.  “I love working with the children and seeing them have the opportunity to be a child,” she said. “It’s inspiring to see our community come together and help those in need.”  This unique 60-bed facility houses children ranging in age from newborns to those about to “age out” of the foster care program once they reach 18 years of age. 

Nestled upon 5 acres of land in Brandon, this facility offers children a home-like environment in a neighborhood setting.   Their in-house parent model provides children with consistent caregivers.  When possible, residents are housed with their siblings.   Brothers and sisters are allowed to be placed together to encounter the healing process in the presence of one another.   Therapy, dental and educational services are provided on site.   Pre-kindergarten and toddler programs are also offered as well.   At A Kid’s Place, children don’t have to be transported offsite to receive these crucial services.  They’re all available to them in the familiar space of A Kid’s Place.  

The goal of A Kid’s Place is to be the supportive bridge to children between where they’ve come from and where their next best home can be.  That next best home might be with relatives, a foster home or reunification with family when the timing is right for that.   Or possibly adoption.  Whatever the case, children placed at A Kid’s Place will enjoy a safe and loving environment until their next home is determined.  

Helping One Child at A Time

The services provided to children residing at A Kid’s Place are second to none!  They aim to meet the social, educational, medical and psychological needs of each child there.   Well-child exams, immunizations and minor illness treatments are provided to residents of A Kid’s Place.   Dental cleanings and evaluations are provided by Suncoast Dental.  Bay Area Behavioral Services provides counseling services to children in need of healing from past trauma.  Educational services are also provided to those children in need of help to catch up with grade level classmates.  To gain skills for future independent living, a program is also offered for residents 13 years and older.   Combined with their Youth in Action program, teens are prepared to learn and grow in a safe environment.   

How You Can Help…….

How is all this made possible?  Fundraising is key to the success of A Kid’s Place.  There are several annual events held that have become community favorite events.  Their Annual Golf Classic is held every October.  Get your group together now to enjoy this fun event!  This is held each year at the prestigious Avila Golf and Country Club and features hole contests, prizes and auctions!   Their Home is Where the Heart Is Holiday Stroll takes place each December.   This event features South Tampa residents welcoming guests into their homes for an enchanting evening of holiday merriment, music, food and festivities!  This is an even you surely want to watch for to put on your calendar for holiday fun!   Another annual event that has become a community favorite is their Fostering Hope Black Tie Gala.  Held in February, this black tie affair features a VIP reception, live entertainment, dinner and silent and live auctions featuring spectacular prizes!  Want to hold your own fundraiser for A Kid’s Place?  You can do it!  Contact Samantha at smellen@akidsplacetb.org or call her at 813-381-3839.  

If you’d rather give your time instead of attending a fundraising event, you can do that as well!  Samantha said, “You can volunteer on campus in our donation room, kitchen or at the front desk.”  Volunteers help plan and execute their signature events and also participate during their holiday gift drive which takes place throughout the year.  If you have a little time on your hands, call them today to see how you can help! 

A Kids Place of Tampa Bay is located at 1715 Lithia Pinecrest Road, Brandon.  Call 813-381-3839 today to find out how you can help or find out about upcoming volunteer opportunities.  Visit their website at www.akidsplace.com.