Excel Construction of Florida has chosen FLITE Center to receive a $15,000 grant to renovate an indoor space at its main center in West Palm Beach in honor of National Nonprofit Day. The renovated space will support the new Falcon’s Ridge Emergency Landing Space for youth survivors of human trafficking.
The Excel Construction of Florida firm, known for its commitment to upholding essential values in the community and business, recently invited nonprofit organizations based in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. These organizations were allowed to apply for a construction grant worth $15,000, which included materials and staff time dedicated to a renovation or beautification project. This initiative exemplifies Excel Construction’s dedication to giving back to the community and supporting important causes.
“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,” says 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.”
The National Foster Youth Institute reports that 60% of all sex trafficking victims have a previous history in the child welfare system, increasing their chances of being trafficked twice. In the Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) documented 2,289 suspected cases of human trafficking involving children in the state. Of these cases, 373 were reported in the southeast region of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, with Palm Beach County alone accounting for 77 intake cases.
The nonprofit organization FLITE (Fort Lauderdale Independence, Training and Education) is committed to helping vulnerable youth and those aged out of foster care to transition into independence successfully. It provides various services, including housing, education, employment, and care coordination, to prepare these young adults for a bright future. FLITE Center was established in 2009 by The Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the Community Foundation of Broward, and the United Way of Broward County. It offers a one-stop, drop-in center for youth between 13 and 23 years old who are involved in the child welfare system, have aged out of homes with relatives or caregivers, or have experienced other distressing circumstances.
In 2021, FLITE Center was granted a Voices for Florida’s Open Doors Outreach Network award via the Attorney General’s office. This grant provides a 24/7 network of care for youth who have been commercially sexually exploited or sex trafficked. The age range for this service is from 10 to 24, and it is available to those in Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties, and Central Florida. FLITE Center opened a drop-in center in downtown West Palm Beach last October to further enhance this initiative. This center spans 1,500 square feet and offers hands-on services for youth in the area. In February of this year, FLITE Center expanded its services even further by introducing Falcon’s Ridge. This new property space provides a safe, secure, and reliable immediate housing emergency landing space for human trafficking survivor youth and their families. Excel Construction of Florida has provided the grant to support further property renovations. These improvements will include a remodeled Wellness Zone conference/counseling room, upgrades to the kitchen, and ensuring compliance with ADA regulations.
“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,” Christine Frederick says, 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.”
Excel Construction of Florida plans to complete the FLITE Center project in 2023.
“We want to thank all the nonprofit organizations who applied for this grant,” Wolf says. “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.”
Photo Caption: (L-R) Alex Ortiz, FLITE CENTER Director of Development/Human Trafficking Regional Advocate; Nick Rozwadowski, Excel Construction of Florida Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy; Darren Wingate, Property Owner; Christine Frederick, FLITE Center CEO; Amanda Kopacz, FLITE Center Clinician; Eric Wolf, Excel Construction of Florida President & CEO; Mickey Swisa, Excel Construction of Florida Vice President of Development & Construction; Christina Harris, Excel Construction of Florida Executive Assistant & Marketing Coordinator; Bobby Crume, FLITE Center Director of Community Outreach/Human Trafficking Regional Advocate.