Finding one’s way in life, especially for young teens, can seem to present a lonely and often confusing path. 6th and 7th grade girls at Julia Landon Middle School have the opportunity to join an after-school program that offers them continual support from volunteer teachers, parents and other students. It’s called “Pathfinders” and was developed in 2008 by Assistant Principal Sara Bravo and enthusiastically endorsed by school Principal Kelly Coker-Daniel. This homegrown program is the only one of its kind in the Duval County school system. Popularity and participation has continued to grow steadily since its inception. This year, for the first time, 7th graders play the duo role as participants and as mentors to 6th grade club members. The every other Monday program includes leadership activities and group discussions, followed by a run or walk around the historic San Marco neighborhood surrounding Julia Landon Middle School. Girls in the club are very enthusiastic about it as they sport the signature orange tee shirts that designate them as a “pathfinder.” In describing why the girls like the program, comments most often heard include: “It helps deal with problems’ ‘To give and get insights’ ‘Has made me want to do sports in High School’ ‘Like making new friends in a new school’ ‘It’s nice to be all girls together.”
Our firm has sponsored “Pathfinders” for the past two years with financial support that meets all the operating costs of the program. In an interesting coincidence, Howard Coker attended Julia Landon when it was a high school and the current principal is his daughter, Kelly.
A special after-school program for 6th grade girls at Julia Landon College Preparatory and Leadership Development School, a dedicated Magnet school in Jacksonville, is very popular. Participation is voluntary and over half of eligible students have already signed up. Named “Pathfinders,” the program was originated by Assistant Principal Sara Bravo and immediately supported by school Principal Dr. Kelly Coker-Daniel. For the 2008-2009 school year, our firm is supporting the program as sole sponsor.
With a bi-weekly two-hour meeting, “Pathfinders” goal is to give members the opportunity and encouragement to gain trust and build self-esteem. Each meeting kicks off with indoor leadership development and esteem-building exercises and then switches to outdoor physical activities with a choice between walking and running. In addition to Sara Bravo, three other Landon teachers, including Reni Fenton, Shirlee Kasztelan and Ann Peacock-Preston, volunteer their time to work with the girls in the program. This year’s “Pathfinders” program will culminate in a May 1-2 “Relay for Life” event to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Firm Partners Howard Coker, Charles Sorenson and Matthew Posgay, in company with Attorney Randy Crabtree were one of four winning teams at the Eighth Annual James “Coach” Day Golf Tournament held this year on March 16 at the Mill Cove Golf Club.
The event is a joint effort, in conjunction with the Bob Hayes Track Meet, to raise money to support the James “Coach” Day Scholarship Fund for young athletes. Funds raised from the first through seventh tournament helped 32 people to further their education. A quote from Coach Day’s message about the event includes, “The purpose of this event is not only to provide scholarships for young athletes, but also to give the community an opportunity to get involved and encourage our young people to go farther….” “Together there is no limit to what we can achieve.”
Charles Sorenson agrees with Coach Day, commenting: “Playing in the tournament was a special and very enjoyable experience for all of us. It had special meaning, too, because we had represented Coach Day’s daughter, Wonza Smith. While it was nice to be on be a winning team, we were all most gratified to participate in an event that helps makes dreams come true for deserving young people in our community.”