Community / Public Resources
Upon enrollment in the program, clients of Opportunity Place are connected to the following resources and many more. Individuals not enrolled in Opportunity Place can contact these resources directly for assistance.
Bridgeway Center, Inc. (BCI)
BCI is one of the most experienced non-profit psychological healthcare companies in Okaloosa County serving Children, Adults, and Families for over fifty (50) years, including those who have historically faced barriers to quality care. For a complete listing of services go to: http://www.bridgewaycenter.org/files/clinical-service-programs.pdf
Opportunity Place, Inc. (OPI), clients with mental health and substance abuse diagnoses will have an opportunity to meet with a BCI clinician Wednesdays on-site or can schedule an appointment at the Bridgeway.
All OPI clients are required to be registered with CareerSource within the first week of enrollment and to actively participate in CareerSource programs (job search; assistance with employment placement, attendance at classes in transition from welfare) Clients can link to benefits from the Department of Children and Families, Veterans’ Assistance programs, Okaloosa Walton Child Care Services; and emergency cash assistance. Career Source also offers an “out of school” youth program.
Department of Children and Families
The Department of Children & Families has several programs that can help Florida families. These include ACCESS Florida (public benefits such as SNAP /TANF vouchers), Adult Services and Child Care. They have an Abuse Hotline and can assist families with insurance, domestic violence, foster care, human trafficking, and much more. OPI clients are connected with ACCESS within the first week of enrollment.
Early Learning Coalition of Okaloosa & Walton Counties (ELC)
ELC’s Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) maintains an extensive database of more than 400 registered, licensed, faith-based, and Gold Seal child care providers. This network maintains the only comprehensive statewide database of child care, school readiness, and school-age program service providers. Their Resource Center in Fort Walton Beach holds trainings and contains educational equipment and materials which are available to the early childhood community and families. Their School Readiness (SR) Program helps eligible low income parents in Okaloosa and Walton counties to receive early education and care for their children so parents can work or get the education or training they need to find quality jobs. The program also provides financial assistance to children who are deemed at-risk of abuse and neglect. Further, a family may receive funding by enrolling in a workforce development program.
GED Preparation and Education Retraining
Anyone can go to the Northwest Florida State College (NWSC) website above to apply for their GED. OPI clients should contact the Case Manager for assistance in setting up initial GED assessment to determine placement in GED preparation program. NFSC offers educational retraining programs, along with assistance in applying for Pell Grants and displaced worker programs.
Head Start provides school readiness for children ages birth through age five. They help low-income families with enhancing their children’s social and emotional development. Head Start offers language and literacy; cognition and general knowledge; health and physical development; social and emotional development, and more. Head Start focuses on providing services specific to each child and their family’s culture, ethnic and linguistic history. OPI clients with children, under the age of five, are connected to Head Start upon enrollment.
Okaloosa Technical College and Choice High School (OTC & CHS)
OTC/CHS offer quality high school and adult education programs featuring state-of-the-art training facilities and professional, industry-experienced instructors. Our programs will provide you with nationally recognized industry certifications that will qualify you to enter the workforce or continue your education.
United Way 2-1-1
2-1-1 is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number provides quick and easy access to information about health and human services. Professional Information and Referral Specialists work with callers to assess their needs, determine their options and provide appropriate programs/services, give support, intervene in crisis situations and advocate for the caller as needed.
The Education Center provides computers and reference materials for residents and their children looking to learn new skills, apply for jobs and benefits, study for GED and other educational goals, and homework. The Children’s Services Coordinator provides daily structure and activities for children as they return from school and day care, including homework assistance, arts and crafts, outdoor games and sports, and learning to cook healthy snacks and simple meals. She also coordinates field trips, and confers with parents, school representatives and counselors to ensure best outcomes for homeless children.
Opportunity Place is a community partner with the Department of Children and Families and with Workforce Development Board, allowing residents on-site computer access to mainstream benefits, occupational training, and job placement.
Linkage with businesses giving priority for employment placement to Opportunity Place residents.
Affordable housing searches by licensed realtors and brokers.
Special Occasion Partnerships
Opportunity Place partners with many community churches and agencies for special occasions, including holiday dinners and events such as Valentine’s Day cookie making; Easter parties and baskets; summer bar-b-cues and outings; Thanksgiving dinners; Christmas services, parties, and gifts.
Other special events have included:
Okaloosa County School District and Private Individuals
Tutors and mentors assist students who have fallen behind in their school work due to homelessness, poverty or other factors.
Back to School Events
Children receive a back-pack filled with all the supplies required by his or her school for his or her grade.
Children are invited to participate in crafts organized by local churches, groups or private individuals.
Birthdays and Special Holidays create an opportunity for the residents to celebrate and come together as a community.
Moving Out and Up
Due to the overwhelming generosity of many, families transitioning out of Opportunity Place are provided essential furniture and home supplies when available. Many of the benefits extended to Opportunity Place residents are also extended to families who have transitioned out of the shelter, and may need some assistance in maintaining self-sufficiency.
Clients may receive flu vaccinations each fall, donated by a local physician.
Story-time and Children’s Events
High school leadership groups provide story time, tutoring, mentoring and special events for shelter children, assisting them in maintaining necessary academic skills and motivation