By Kennedy Smith
For the past seven years, Florida State University’s Chapman Community Health Program has helped to increase the overall health and wellness of the residents at Good News Outreach’s Maryland Oaks Crossing living community.
The CCHP is a partnership between MOC and the FSU College of Medicine. The first and second-year medical students who are involved in the program, provide services such as health screenings, health education services, food distribution in partnership with America’s Second Harvest of the Big Bend, etc.
The CCHP provides the residents with free yearly flu shots, provided by the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare residency program, and a free health screening every other month. CCHP even goes as far as providing transportation to Tallahassee’s Neighborhood Medical Center if a resident’s screening were to show a need for advanced care.
Amelia Hartje, one of CCHP’s co-executive directors, said the programs mission is to serve the underserved community of Maryland Oaks Crossing and allow medical students of Florida State University’s College of Medicine to serve under the guidance of humanistic physician role models.
The CCHP partners with Nole-Med, one of FSU’s undergraduate pre-medicine organizations, to provide tutoring services to the children at MOC.
The members of Nole-Med currently conduct tutoring sessions via zoom, due to COVID-19 restrictions, from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays to any children in need of a tutor who have access to a computer.
Hartje indicated that although the Nole-Med students are providing tutoring sessions, it posed a challenge for children who do not have access to a computer.
Daryl Jaquette, the director of housing at MOC, said that the residents are so grateful for the consistency of the students who are involved in the program.
“The residents really like it. They see a lot of volunteers come out, but then they come out once or twice and then you never see them again. They really appreciate that these guys come out all the time,” Jaquette said.
In CCHP’s most recent efforts to bring a sense of joy to the residents at MOC, the students hosted an Easter event providing the families with gift baskets, cookie decorating stations for the children, a dance party and even brought the Easter Bunny to surprise the children.
Hartje expressed that the goal of each event is “to have both our Chapman members and residents of MOC walk away with a smile on their faces.”
The program is currently experiencing a need for school supplies, toiletries and COVID supplies such as hand sanitizer and child and adult size masks.
Donations can be dropped off at MOC’s main office at 3130 Bicycle Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32304.
FSU medical students fulfill their mission to serve
Children could have new learning center for summer
Out with the old
In with the new
By Alyssa Blake
Intending to provide more services and learning space for the children of Maryland Oaks, GNO is tearing down the Maryland Oaks Crossing learning center and replacing it with a 1,200 square-foot portable classroom.
The replacement of the center with the portable will cost approximately $45,000 to $50,000.
“Part of our approach at Good News Outreach is to pray and to trust a power greater than ourselves to provide those resources, but it will be a combination of donor investments and existing resources,” GNO Executive Director Donald Parks said.
There are a couple of ways for the community to donate to this cause.
“They can go to www.goodnewsoutreach.org or if they would like additional information, they can contact me through my cellphone at (904) 377-6534. They can also send checks to PO Box 3304 Tallahassee, FL 32315,” Parks said.
“Our approach at Good News Outreach is to share a vision, so it’s my preference to show people firsthand what they’ll be investing in, so I would love to talk to donators in person.”
The center was built in 1940, according to Leon County Property Appraiser records and though it has been a great addition to the community, it was time for it to be updated.
“It’s extremely exciting,” Parks said.
There are a few factors that contributed to the decision to replace the center.
“There are a couple of reasons,” Parks said. “The layout is no longer adequate to the task. We are serving more and more children, so we need more and better space as well as social distancing due to COVID.”
The building also has mold, and deteriorating sections needs paint and other repairs, according to housing director Daryl Jaquette. It’s just used for storage now, he added.
The center has been the location of the children’s enrichment programs, tutoring, mentoring, and many other programs.
GNO plans to demolish the center at any time now with hopes of having the portable in place by June 1 and starting the summer program for kids by June 15 with additional resources available to the children.
The portable will only be accessible to the children of Maryland Oaks when it initially opens, but there are plans to expand and serve the surrounding communities in the future.
“The summer program is holistic,” Parks said. “We want to educate mind, body, and spirit. We would like to have a reading club, math club, chess club, and hopefully a scout troop. We also want cultural activities for the children and to continue music lessons with the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra. We want to help children whose education has been to some extent interrupted by COVID.”
The new portable classrooms are an exciting addition to Good News Outreach and just the start of providing assistance and opportunities throughout the community.
Drips drive donor to make a generous move
By Kennedy Smith
Good News Outreach received a generous donation in 2020 that allowed it to repair the roofs on 21 trailers at their Maryland Oaks Crossing community.
A small donation in a response to GNO’s food pantry needs in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, led this donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, to witness other pressing needs and provide service on a larger scale.
In March 2020, as he continued to gain more knowledge about the ministry, he noticed the structural issues of the roofs at Maryland Oaks Crossing. Without new roofs, the trailers would have been evacuated, resulting in the displacement of 50 people. After identifying the roofs in immediate need, he donated the funds to help repair the roofs on 21 trailers. This gift allowed the continuation of the housing of 21 families.
The donor recalled the times he had to experience dealing with poor roof conditions, he said he felt so helpless.
“Having personally endured leaking roofs on more than one occasion, I am familiar with the experience. To be honest, I can’t recall feeling so helpless, vulnerable or more discouraged. Rain coming down on your head when you are inside and supposed to be dry definitely affects one’s outlook. So, replacing some roofs seemed like a tangible way to maybe help bring some smiles or at least some relief,” the donor said.
Donald Parks, the executive director at GNO and friend of the donor, said that this donation allowed the organization to focus on other issues at GNO.
“This gift solidified our position at Maryland Oaks Crossing. It costs money to get mobile homes repaired and this was such a pressing need that it gave us some breathing room to concentrate on offering programs and services to residents,” Parks said.
This donor is a great analytical thinker and a man of curiosity about life, faith and how systems work, Parks said. “He has a combination of artistic and scientific interest in the world. He is a man of great curiosity about the world. He is accepting of people and their differences; he is a man of humility.”
This donor finds great satisfaction and prides himself in giving back to those who are less fortunate.
“My personal journey overflows with gifts too numerous to count, some unimaginably delightful while others not so welcome, of course. Giving is a concrete way to serve others with what I have been entrusted and of expressing my gratitude for what has been sent my way,” the donor said.
MOC painting team
Students from Florida State University’s College of Entrepreneurship armed with trays and rollers visited Maryland Oaks Crossing recently to freshen the paint on fences and other structures.
Their professor, Bob Garner, counts the work toward their effort in the annual nationwide community service competition sponsored by the Society for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. Good News Outreach counts their work as appreciated volunteer service.
Madison Lloyd, Kaitlyn Killeen, Harry Hirst and Prof. Bob Garner touched up Maryland Oaks Crossing on March 7.
Professor Bob Garner
Madison Lloyd & Kaitlyn Killeen
Pantry named for late housing director
Former Maryland Oaks Crossing director Jeff Hornsby was remembered March 26 with a celebration of life service and the unveiling of a plaque naming the community’s pantry after him.
Jeff passed away Dec. 3. He was a fixture at Maryland Oaks for about 10 years. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and left his position in 2019.
A blue and white sign reading, “The Jeff Hornsby Chapman Community Food Pantry, established 2016" now hangs on the outside of the building. The ceremony marked the fifth anniversary, to the day, of the pantry’s opening under Hornsby’s direction.
Amelia Hartje and Kayla Rykiel, co-executive directors of the Chapman Community Health Program, planned the memorial. The program’s medical students worked closely with Hornsby to provide health screenings, mentoring and other services to the 47-unit housing community. About 20 people attended the event with more linking in by Zoom.
Dr. Christie Alexander, faculty advisor to FAMU's Chapman Community Health Program
Jeff Hornsby, former Maryland Oaks Crossing housing director
“He was the director. He also was a friend. He’s been through things. He knew what it was like,” said Darrell Arnold, a resident who knew Hornsby for several years, including when Hornsby learned he had cancer.
“He’d say God’ll either cure me or bring me home,” Arnold said.
Others testified to Hornsby’s willingness to work alongside residents.
“He knew how to connect with people,” said Chapman program member Kristian Hogue, recalling how Hornsby pitched in to help clean up Maryland Oaks after a major hurricane.
“He fired up the grill and cooked meals for the residents,” Hogue said.
He just thought of everything,” added Dr. Christie Alexander, the Florida State University faculty advisor to the Chapman program.
“Jeff was an incredibly gracious man,” said Good News Outreach Executive Director Donald Parks, who provided a spiritual reflection to close the ceremony.
Dr. Donald Parks, Executive Director
Good News Outreach
Field day fun at Maryland Oaks
Children living at Maryland Oaks Crossroads and social work interns enjoyed a field day together March 13. They played games, dove into arts and crafts and tossed a football around under a sunny, blue
About 30 children participated. They did glitter tattoos, made bracelets, played soccer and football, and just hung out. The Papa Johns store on Apalachee Parkway donated pizzas and drinks, and a resident brought over desserts.
The kids all said they really enjoyed it, said intern Mallory Adams, a Graduate Student in the College of Social Work, Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University.
The interns hope to stage another field day before their internships end on April 16.