Kids at heart, helping Brevard’s kids! One of our area’s many service clubs is perhaps not as well known as the Rotary or Kiwanis, but is just as active in volunteerism to support community needs—and, we think, we have more fun doing it!
The Exchange Club of the South Brevard Beaches is the local chapter, founded in 1980, of a national service club whose national project is Child Abuse Prevention. We have about 30 members, most of whom are business owners and professionals in their 30, 40s, and 50s, and all of whom are young at heart. Our Friday breakfast meetings are a mixture of business—planning upcoming fundraisers and other events, honoring our Student of the Month, etc.—and lighthearted banter, laughter, and camaraderie. As one member said, “This is the most fun you can have at 7:45 in the morning!”
As befits our mission, the Exchange Club supports a variety of charities and programs aimed at improving the quality of life for Brevard County’s children in need. One aspect of our support is financial: We raise well over $50,000 each year through fundraisers such as our annual reverse raffle called the “Caribbean Cash Bash” (call 750-2923 to buy a ticket to the May 19th event at the Kiwi Tennis Club), selling refreshments at the Melbourne Friday Fest, and collecting donations from the members and others. We support worthy causes such as the Candlelighters of Brevard, for the families of children with cancer; or The Haven, a temporary emergency shelter for abused and neglected young children.
Sometimes our support takes the form of hands-on building and repair, when we roll up our sleeves and build playground equipment for My Refuge, a haven for children whose parents cannot care for them; or when we help rehabilitate an old building for use as classroom space for children by The Master’s Workshop.
Exchange, America’s Service Club, is a group of men and women working together to make our communities better places to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and its national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Our main continuing project throughout the years is The Exchange Club Yellow Umbrella Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of the Space Coast, Inc., known simply as “The Yellow Umbrella” (YU). It is part of a network of more than 100 child abuse prevention centers supported by local Exchange Clubs throughout the United States. The South Beaches Exchange Club founded YU in 1993 with a mission to educate the community about child abuse. Through its executive director, staff, volunteers, and the Board of Directors (of whom several are Exchange Club members), the YU offers a wide array of programs including:
The goal of this program is to help families learn nurturing and effective parenting skills. This 12 week program focuses on topics such as positive communication and listening skills, child development, forms of abuse, encouragement and nurturing, problem solving, importance of play, etc.
These Advocacy programs assist the Latino community overcome the challenges created by language and cultural barriers. Supportive social services, parent education, Spanish support group and community referrals are provided.
A bilingual advocate ensures that Latino expectant mothers receive prenatal care, hospital tours, translation services, and labor and delivery support. Childbirth education classes are offered in Spanish. The program offers a Doulas to accompany expectant mothers to the hospital during labor and delivery.
Stressbusters & Teens Talking
Considered the “Future Parents” program – Stressbusters is for children ages 10 – 13, and Teens Talking for children ages 14 – 17. These classes help children learn essential life skills such as empathy and kindness, conflict and anger management, creative problem solving techniques, tools to foster healthy relationships, communication skills, and the skills to cope with peer pressure.
HUGS (Helping Underemployed Gain Success)
In collaboration with the Brevard Family of Housing Authorities, this program provides case management, job development, and social services to assist public housing residents identify and eliminate barriers keeping them in public housing. This is a voluntary program and residents must be in good standing with the housing authority department to be eligible for services.
This is a unique parenting class designed to help fathers understand their role in the family and to learn constructive ways to interact with their children. Curriculum is geared toward fathers accepting familial responsibilities as well as learning topics covered in traditional parenting classes.
This 10 week course offers insight to the causes of anger and effective techniques for managing stress and anger. Topics include Conflict Resolution, Consequences of Aggressive Behavior, and Stress Management.
Parent Aide Program
A volunteer parent aide provides intensive in-home supportive services to families who are at risk for child abuse or neglect. Instructional activities include parent-child bonding, child development, nutrition, health, home management, and problem solving. Participants are often voluntarily enrolled in this program. Referrals come from physicians’ offices, Health Families, the Health Department or the Department of Children and Families.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Project
This educational program offers insight to the hazards of expectant mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Shaken Baby Syndrome Project
This program offers an understanding of the horrible effects of shaking a baby.
Car Seat Safety Project
Car seats are provided to eligible families followed by a two hour instructional class on proper usage and safety issues. Referrals for this program come from a variety of sources – physician offices, Health Department or Department of Children and Family, or general community interest.
It is the vision of the Yellow Umbrella to expand and develop new programs that will enhance life for all citizens of Brevard County and provide essential prevention education. Programs that will be developed may include, Elder Abuse, Sexual Abuse prevention/intervention; expanded school programs to include teen parenting and anger management for children and teens.
If this combination of useful purpose, community service, fun, and friendship sounds appealing to you, give us a call at (321) 674-9390. Our President, Traci Geach, will be glad to talk with you further about who we are and what we do.