JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Daniel Kids has been serving troubled youth in North Florida for more than a century.
Saturday, the Jacksonville charity started a new chapter in its history by unveiling a brand new 12,000-square-foot learning facility.
The center has classrooms outfitted with computers for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Kevin Bryant, 12, logged on and demonstrated the computer programs he uses for class. Bryant has been a Daniel Kid for two months and the new learning facility has had a profound impact on his life.
Channel 4's Jason Law asked Bryant, "What was the first thing you did when you got in here?"
"I looked around. That was the first thing," said Bryant. "It was beautiful."
The multi-million dollar structure took nearly four years to build. The facility replaces portables that sat on campus for 40 years.
The new facility has six classrooms, including two computer labs and an art therapy room. The total bill for the facility: $3.1 million.
"Academically, almost all of our children come to us behind. That's why we concentrate on their academics," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Daniel.
Clark gave a tour of the new classrooms. He said Daniel is looking for part-time tutors to compliment the full-time instructors.
"Children who live here are youngsters who have the most severe, emotionally disturbed kids in the state. That's either because of their environmental factors, their peer influence or family situations that lead them to have this kind of intensive care," Clark said.
Most of the children who are with Daniel will spend four to six months in the program. Clark said the attention they will receive inside these walls, with it's fresh paint, clean carpet and shiny boards will help get their young lives back on track.
For more information, visit the Daniel Kids Foundation website.
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