By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY -- Back in 1988, the Children's Services Council of Martin County was created by voter referendum.
Now, 25 years later, the organization has grown to become a dedicated source of funding for thousands of children and their families in Martin County.
"It's thanks to the people of Martin County that we've been so successful," said David Heaton, executive director of the council. "It's been their commitment and contribution that have made the Children's Services Council of Martin County what it is today."
Currently, it supports 34 programs in the community, including educating pregnant women and mothers on the importance of prenatal care, offering after-school and summer programs for students and programs to help students make healthy choices in regard to drugs, alcohol and gangs.
"In all of these, we've seen significant improvement," Mr. Heaton said. "We've shown that making an early investment in our children is critical to their success."
The funding for the organization comes from ad valorem taxes and state and federal grants.
Some of the agencies the group funds includes the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach and Martin Counties, the Boys & Girls Club of Martin County, CASTLE and the Early Learning Coalition, to name a few.
The organization is also celebrating its year anniversary since they moved into their new building on Central Parkway in Stuart, and are there debt-free. The office allows the public to use the community meeting room for free, and has held a number of student art exhibit openings there.
The Children's Services Council of Martin County is located at 101 S.E. Central Parkway in Stuart.
For more information, call the organization at (772) 288-5758 or go to their website at www.cscmc.org.