Children’s Mental Health System of Care hosts Family Night dinner

OKEECHOBEE — Want an evening off from making dinner and doing dishes? Interested in learning about resources available to families across our community? Meet us at the Williamson Education Center at Indian River State College on Tuesday, Aug. 27, as the Okeechobee Children’s Mental Health System of Care kicks off its free Family Nights series for the 2019-2020 school year.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with dinner for all in attendance. Following dinner, while guests enjoy the presentation, childcare will be available for children three and older. I-Spy races and other fun activities will keep the youth occupied and having fun throughout the remainder of the event.

In addition to activities for the kids and dinner for all, two presenters — both well versed in local services and resources — will lead the adults in attendance through information on agencies and organizations able to help in times of need.

Keynote speaker, Leah Suarez, is the local project coordinator with the Okeechobee Children’s Mental Health System of Care. She brings to the event thirty years of experience in mental health, social services, and education as well as a Master’s Degree in nonprofit management and a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from the University of Central Florida. Mrs. Suarez is also the Executive Director of Our Village Okeechobee, a local nonprofit committed to giving a “hand up” in our community, rather than a hand out. This ever-growing organization provides comprehensive spiritual, cultural, social, health, and educational experiences to those in need.

The second speaker of the evening, Colleen Phillips, is the Local Community Relations Specialist with 2-1-1 Helpline — a phone and web-based gateway to many resources dealing with suicide and mental health support, physical health, government, and other human services across our region. Colleen will be on hand to share her abundant knowledge of local services and the best ways to access them through the long-standing nonprofit helpline.

As always, System of Care Family Nights at IRSC are free to attend and cover a wide range of topics from mental health to physical health, education and safety. For more information on System of Care activities such as family nights, support groups and youth projects, please contact Jane Kaufman, SOC Family Coordinator, at or by calling 863-462-5125, Ext 135.

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