FLITE (Fort Lauderdale Independence, Training and Education) Center has been awarded a $15,000 renovation grant for its new West Palm Beach emergency landing space
In celebration of National Nonprofit Day, Excel Construction of Florida today announced that it has selected FLITE (Fort Lauderdale Independence, Training and Education) Center, as the recipient of a $15,000 grant to transform an indoor space at its main center in West Palm Beach, which will help support the new Falcon’s Ridge Emergency Landing Space for youth survivors of human trafficking.
The leading construction firm Excel Construction of Florida, whose mission is to “Stand for What Counts” in the community and in business, invited nonprofit organizations in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to apply for a $15,000 construction grant that included materials and staff time for a renovation or beautification project.
“We wanted to do something special to recognize the vital role nonprofit organizations play in addressing important humanitarian, social and environmental issues in our local communities, and FLITE Center’s proposal really made an impression on our team,” said Excel Construction of Florida President Eric Wolf. “Human trafficking is a global crisis, and we commend FLITE Center for their efforts in ensuring that the youth survivors in our community have a safe haven with the services and support they need to heal and move forward with their life.”
According to the National Foster Youth Institute, 60 percent of all sex trafficking victims have a history in the child welfare system, making them twice as likely to be trafficked. For Fiscal Year 2020-2021, The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) reported 2,289 intake case of suspected human trafficking involving children in the state. Of these, 373 were in the southeast region of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties (77 intake cases were in Palm Beach County, alone).
The nonprofit grant winner, FLITE Center, is dedicated to preparing vulnerable youth and those aging out of foster care for successful transition to independence through housing, education, employment, and system of care coordination. Created in 2009 by The Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the Community Foundation of Broward and the United Way of Broward County, FLITE Center offers one stop, drop-in services for youth ages 13 to 23 involved in the child welfare system and who have aged out of homes with relatives, caregivers or who are victims of other distressing circumstances.
In 2021, FLITE Center was awarded a Voices for Florida’s Open Doors Outreach Network grant through the Attorney General’s office to provide a 24/7 network of care for commercially sexually exploited and sex trafficked youth ages 10 to 24 living in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties and in Central Florida. To further support this undertaking, last October, FLITE Center added a 1,500-sq.-ft. drop-in center located in the historic northwest sector of downtown West Palm Beach providing direct, hands-on services for youth in an area they can easily reach. This past February, new property space began providing a safe, secure and reliable immediate housing emergency landing space called Falcon’s Ridge for human trafficking survivor youth and their families.
The grant from Excel Construction of Florida will support additional property renovations such as a remodeled Wellness Zone conference/counseling room, kitchen upgrades or ADA compliant improvements.
“We are honored to receive this grant from Excel Construction of Florida that will allow us to move forward with transformative enhancements at our center in support of our new West Palm Beach emergency landing space,” said Christine Frederick, president and CEO of FLITE Center. “This grant will greatly enhance our ability to create safe, functional, and empowering spaces for the vulnerable youth we serve, leaving a lasting positive impact on their lives.”
With a diversified portfolio of industrial, Class A, commercial, manufacturing, distribution and retail projects, Excel Construction is also driven to support family and community. Excel supports education, children, families and the environment, allocating funding each year to sponsor non-profits and donates time to various civic initiatives.
“We want to thank all the nonprofit organizations who applied for this grant,” added Wolf. “All who applied are worthy of the grant, so it was a difficult decision to narrow it down to just one. We wish all the applicants only the best and applaud the valuable contributions they make to our local communities.”
Excel Construction of Florida plans to complete the FLITE Center project in 2023. For more information about Excel Construction of Florida, visit excelsf.com.