The power of three is what could be said about the three women at the helm of Palm River Family Services in Tampa, a not-for-profit organization. Chelsea Lee is one of the Go-4-Kids after-school teachers at the center, Luz Hernandez is its family support specialist and Cathie Schroder is the executive director.
All three women have a passion for the children and families they serve in the community.
“I like to give back as a thank you for all the wonderful things life has blessed me with,” Hernandez said. “Helping and serving is my passion and kids are a great reminder that we all deserve a good role model and support.”
Palm River Family Services originated in 1996 as a nonprofit community development corporation in collaboration with local residents. The group challenged the Board of County Commissioners to approve a $6.5 million investment for the improvement of one of the community’s most important roadways, Causeway Blvd.
The center also provides an after-school enrichment program at Clair Mel and Palm River Elementary Schools called Go-4-Kids.
“The aim of our program is to provide societal and educational safeguards to prevent learning loss,” Schroder said “We carry forth with this mission by offering free after-school programs for students providing individualized homework assistance, outdoor activities, snacks and educational activities that support the children’s learning and development.”
The program’s participants are challenged academically and often experience learning deficits during the school year and experience summer learning loss. In addition to providing after-school educational programs free of charge to families, they also provide family support case management.
“The families in our community are poor and are often in need of assistance with rent, electric, water, food, basic needs such as bedding, clothing and cleaning supplies,” Schroder said. “We serve as a safety net within our community for underserved youth and their families. We provide financial support and linkages to needed services in the community.”
The center is looking to the community to help support its efforts since the recent pandemic has had some effects on its program.
“Collaborations through local organizations in our areas or charitable donations to help with our STEAM-Makers after-school program and volunteering are great ways to help,” Schroder said.
To learn more about the Palm River Family Services, visit www.facebook.com/palmriverfamilyservices or call 628-9179. The center is located at 7454 Palm River Rd. in Tampa.