By John Denton, OrlandoMagic.com
ORLANDO – For teens in the position of parenting children, life is already stressful enough without also having to worry about supplying food, shelter and financial resources for their new family.
Fortunately for those teen mothers Orlando’s BETA Center is there to help out with some of the necessities of life.
BETA Center’s mission is to give children and parents the knowledge and support needed for strong and healthy families, with a focus on teen moms and at-risk families. Parents learn about prenatal attachment, baby brain development, child development, infant mental health, school readiness and adolescence.
Pregnant and parenting teens are embraced with comprehensive programs designed to meet their special needs. Youth learn coping skills and the other developmental assets needed to successfully navigate school and life. Infants thrive under developmentally stimulating care. BETA Center promotes positive parent/child interaction, and helps children and parents grow together.
BETA Center is better able to meet the needs of teen mothers and their infants after receiving a $35,000 grant from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF). The grant went to the BETA Center’s Teen Parent Program, which provides educational and supportive services to adolescent mothers and their children. The OMYF-MFF funding will support program services that help teen parents gain life skills, increase their parenting skills, stay in school and make concrete plans for college, build a positive self-esteem and help lift them out of crisis and onto self-sufficiency.
In the last 24 years more than $18 million has been distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF-MFF), a McCormick Foundation Fund since 1994, which serves at-risk youth.
This past year alone, the OMYF-MFF awarded $600,000 in grants to 25 nonprofit organizations based throughout Central Florida. The 25 grantees were a nod to the Magic’s year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary season. The $600,000 in grants given out in January raise the total to $3.8 million awarded over the past four years.
“We really do get to impact youth by helping all of the great work that all of these organizations are doing,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “There are hundreds of organizations throughout Central Florida who are doing great work to help at-risk youth and set them on a path for a better life. This is just a small way for us to try and help them do their work. They do all of the work, and for us to be able to distribute all of these funds and expand the number of youth that they serve or add another program, it’s incredibly meaningful to us.”
2014 GRANT RECIPIENTS FROM MAGIC: Adult Literacy League, Apopka Family Learning Center, BETA Center, Boys Town Central Florida, Children’s Home Society of Florida, City Year, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County, Elevate Orlando, Florida Hospital for Children, Foundation for Foster Children, Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools, Gift of Swimming, Harbor House of Central Florida, Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, Orange County Library System, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Osceola Council on Aging, Rescue Outreach Mission of Central Florida, The Center for Drug Free Living-Zebra Coalition, The Salvation Army, University of Central Florida Foundation, Valencia College Foundation.
Here is a closer look at BETA Center’s mission and the Magic’s work in the Central Florida community: