We dream of the day we will have an office and a storage area so we can merge all our operations and services under one roof. The storage area would help us organize the clothing, shoes, food, bedding, and toiletries that our work demands, and could be the mission-specific staging area we lack today. The administrative office and community center space would allow us to build on our current service base and expand those services to benefit a greater swath of the general public.
We dream of enhancing the educational, arts, and social underpinnings of society by establishing a Cultural Enrichment Center which does not currently exist in this area. The Center could become a multi-cultural focal point for music, art and theatre in the Nature Coast, featuring the work of local, regional, and national artists in an area starved for fine arts. It could also feature the remarkable artwork of the homeless community.
For instance, the Center would be home to the already existing Hernando County Youth Orchestra which offers no/low cost musical training to children 6-to-18-years old, plus loans free instruments (as available) to student musicians whose families cannot afford to buy their own. In turn, the Orchestra provides free classical music concerts throughout the year at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and public venues, repaying the community for its support while giving participating student musicians community service credit required for graduation.
The Center could host lecture series and free/low-cost classes to enhance the educational level of Nature Coast’s citizens. Classes could include financial and computer literacy, English as a Second Language, entrepreneurship 101, how to write a memoir, or how to take better photographs, as well as more academically-oriented programs such as art of the Renaissance, appreciating various music genres, examining schools of philosophy, exploring science (astronomy and marine biology are popular topics here), discussing climate change and what we can to do to protect ourselves, discovering Florida history, studying a history of social movements such as Women’s Suffrage, and investigating how historical events like the Magna Carta or Pearl Harbor still influence us today.
The Center would provide a welcoming place for local musicians and actors to perform before live audiences, and for local poets, artists and crafters to show their creativity and test out experimental or nascent ideas.
The Center could offer weekly “Mom’s Night Out” evenings, to allow exhausted mothers to have three or four hours for themselves. Vetted volunteers would care for the children at little or no cost. Corollary programs would encourage stressed couples to have an evening for themselves to reconnect and strengthen their relationship away from the children, and caregivers of dementia patients to take a respite from their challenges.
The Center could be a place for small groups such as Hernando LGBTQ and Jews for Jesus to hold regular meetings in comfort and safety.
We have several programs directed toward providing jobs for the homeless. A center would give us the space to put these people to work and get them out of the woods.
The grounds around the Center, alive with native flowers and trees to attract indigenous insects and birds, would create a natural oasis in an area of environmental decline. There is even talk of starting a community garden where people earn free fruit and vegetables through the sweat equity of weeding.
The commonality behind all of these ideas is that they fill an existing—and largely unfilled—need in this area, and they are universally undercapitalized. The Nature Coast Community Services Foundation, through its support of these and similar programs, seeks to improve the community by providing support to the people and organizations that are working on behalf of all who live here.