Flagler sheriff donates to summer internships

Flagler County Sheriff Donald W Fleming reported to Historic City News that he has continued his support for youth programs Friday with a $1,000 donation to the Summer Internship Program sponsored through a partnership of the Flagler County NAACP and the Flagler County School District.

The program is offered free of charge to students ages 13-18 years of age and features a curriculum of performing arts and humanities. Students attend the various workshops Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m. at Phoenix Academy; which is housed in the old school district office building.

“Youth programs have been a priority for me as Sheriff,” Fleming told reporters. “This is the age group that we need to provide positive program for during the Summer, and I am very proud to support this.”

Katrina Townsend, the school district’s Director of Student Services, agreed that summer programs that cater to middle and high school students are a positive thing for the community. “This is an age group we like to keep engaged and active,” she said.

Stephanie Ecklin, administrator of the program, and Barbara Solomon, assistant administrator, explained that volunteers are what make the program a success.

“We have some marvelous folks who are donating their time to bring this opportunity to our youngsters,” said Ecklin. “Anything we can do to help kids stay off the streets is beneficial.”

The Flagler County NAACP has organized the program and reached out for volunteers. Sheriff’s Capt. Lynne Catoggio worked closely with the school district to obtain funding from fines and forfeitures collected by the Sheriff’s Office. These funds are generated through cash and vehicles seized in connection with illegal drug trafficking.

Linda Haywood, who volunteers with the program as a drama teacher and serves as president of the Flagler County NAACP, said the support of the Sheriff’s Office was a significant boost to the program. She noted that the Sheriff’s Office has been a valued supporter of the local chapter.

“Sheriff Fleming has given a previous donation to help out our NAACP branch,” Haywood said. “We are happy to have his continuous support.”

Area youngsters can explore a variety of interests through the Summer Internship Program. Drama class is taught by volunteers Bruce Poplierski and Melinda Morais. Poetry is taught by Cynthia Bachoo while photography workshops are offered by Justice Scott.

Teenagers interested in the film industry can take advantage of instruction by Richland Ryan. More volunteers are needed, according to Ms. Ecklin. To volunteer or for enrollment information, call 386-675-3774.

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