Youth Village is located in an area of Ft. Walton Beach where most of the children come from low-income, single-parent households who, according to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, are labeled as a high-risk demographic and where many of the children are referred to as “latch-key kids”. Approx. 90% of the Youth Village attend Title One Schools.
According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the children in these schools are eligible to receive free-or-reduced price breakfast and lunch because they live below the poverty level. They need help to break through that tough, but breakable cycle of generational poverty.
Youth Village currently serves students in grades K-8 and many of the kindergarten students are not even ready for kindergarten, which causes them to fall behind later. The grant will help construct a building with more space to serve more children. A state-funded Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) is being incorporated which will include 2 classes. Florida residents with a child that turns 4 years of age by September 1, is eligible to participate in Florida’s FREE Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) education program. Preschoolers (K3) will also be served because in order to help children learn and grow socially and academically we must start before they enter elementary school.