A new Southwest Florida non-profit is working to help low-income families save money by giving out cloth diapers and reusable supplies.
Until recently, local families who needed help with the cost of diapers could only get disposables. That’s why Britt Schwartz founded Cloth My Heart; she realized there were no local resources offering cloth diapers.
Students stampede into Bonita Springs Middle School’s gymnasium and flood the bleachers.
Staples in gym class may evoke mixed emotions in kids. There’s dodgeball, the mile run, getting yelled at for standing around… Sixth-grader Alexis Fisher embodies that attitude. READ MORE
More than 700 kids in Lee County have been trained so far this year in gang awareness.
Launched by Lee County’s Injury Prevention Coalition – comprised of community leaders, health care workers and educators – the Gang Awareness Training Education (GATE) program is based on a Chicago program started in the '90s that has gone nationwide.
Florida’s Attorney General’s office has identified at least 6,000 gang members within the seven Southwest Florida counties.
In Lee County, GATE is taking its message to where students play and learn -- talking with 4th, 5th and 6th graders – students most susceptible to the recruiting tactics of gang members.
Syndi Bultman, a nurse with Lee Memorial Health System, leads the Injury Prevention Coalition.
She says kids join gangs for a number of reasons, including a desire to fit in at school or in their community, to emulate the flashy lifestyle of older gang members or to feel protected from other gangs.
Bultman also says there is a lot of pressure in some communities to belong to a gang.
“Some of ‘em actually end up getting threatened. They’re fearful of what will happen to their family or their younger brothers and sisters,” says Bultman.
“It teaches them what respect really is. We teach them anger management. We work with them in regards to bullying and how they can stop the bullying in a non-violent manner. We also help them with critical thinking, self-esteem and some leadership skills.”
The program hopes to launch another round of classes in the Ft. Myers Dunbar community later this year.