For Annie Ifil, Belle Glade is home.
“I’m a product of the community,” Ifil said.
Now she spends her time advocating for that community. Ifil says COVID-19 has turned many lives upside down.
“I think one of the things we saw firsthand was the struggle of parents having to be teachers to our kids and what that was going to look like,” she said.
As for the children?
“We’re very big on sports and athletics out here so for a lot of our children that was a social outlet for them so COVID took a lot of that away as well,” she said.
The Palm Beach County youth services team is hoping to help. They are offering free family and youth counseling for residents in the Glades area.
“We have licensed therapist and psychologist that are on staff and we find that students right now are very much in need of it, especially as they are transitioning into the school year,” Tammy Fields, Director said.
Fields says they are trained to handle topics like bullying, family violence, anxiety, grief and more. She says the telemental health services are offered in English, Spanish, French and Creole through Zoom.
“Kids absorb that angst that is going on in the family and it’s really important to be able to have a way for kids to be able to talk to a therapist,” she said.
The program is available at no charge for Palm Beach County residents in the Glades area with youth ages 0-22.
Office hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. To schedule an appointment, email email@example.com or call the YFC West County Office (Belle Glade) at (561) 922-1233.