One of our favorite things to do here at the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services is visit our member agencies! Earlier this month, we hosted our Quality Improvement Committee training in Panama City and had the opportunity to tour Anchorage Children’s Home, a non-profit organization which serves, protects and strengthens children and families. We are proud to spotlight Anchorage this month because we saw first-hand the impact they make on the youth and families in Northwest Florida.

Community Events & Support

Anchorage Children’s Home works alongside their local community to best serve families experiencing crisis. Anchorage has had some exciting community festivities over the past few months where local agencies and volunteers have come together to support their mission of strengthening families.

Over the holidays, they had several businesses, churches and other individuals provide gifts, organize parties and work projects to enhance the facility and ensure the youth had a very happy holiday.

In December, Trippe Management coordinated a workday and holiday party for the youth. Maintenance crews began the day building custom shelving for each bedroom providing a place for the youth’s clothing and personal belongings. Bedrooms were painted and a full landscaping beautification project took place. Later that evening, Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki came by for a tour while the Trippe Management team catered a holiday dinner and shared Christmas gifts with the children.

Another relationship Anchorage is proud to foster is with local dentist Dr. Daniel Melzer who started a campaign that raised more than $11,000 to replace 18 new metal frame beds in Hidle House, Anchorage’s shelter. This same group of community members took it one step further and hosted a New Year’s Eve party naming Anchorage as the beneficiary of the proceeds. Funds raised at this event will go toward the purchase of a new van for Hidle House.

Anchorage also thrives because of their internal support system. Recently, a 17-year-old homeless youth staying in Hidle House was in need of a tonsillectomy. Anchorage Registered Nurse Ericha Laymon contacted local physicians to have the youth treated, and because of Ericha’s contacts and dedication, she was able to get the surgery, surgery center and anesthesia services donated free of charge. The surgery was a success for this young man and he now resides at “The Bridge,” Anchorage’s Transitional Living Program.

Anchorage attributes its continued success to its annual events as well. On June 3, 2017, Anchorage will host the 6th Annual Anchors Away 6K & One Mile Family Fun Run, which takes place through the beautiful trails of Panama City Beach Conservation Park. This family-friendly event generates funds needed for the program as well as awareness about Anchorage’s programs for children and families in the local community. For more information, contact Brooke Bullard at 850-763-7102 or

Program Updates

In addition, Anchorage is spearheading various new programs and systems to reach even more youth and become even more efficient with resources.

This month, Hidle House has begun using electronic logbooks in the shelter; a more efficient, convenient and environmentally friendly way to document youth’s time at the shelter.

Hidle House has transitioned to a three lead youth specialist system instead of an assistant shelter manager model and is utilizing a lead residential counselor to provide greater support to onsite residential case managers.

Anchorage Performance and Quality Improvement and Training Director Krissy Botzong has begun to incorporate WhyTry training into weekly groups. Hidle House’s residential case managers are working with outside groups such as the Salvation Army Domestic Violence program to provide a series of groups on relationships, dating violence and domestic violence.

Thank You, Anchorage!

We at the Florida Network think Anchorage truly upholds its mission every day of being an anchor for today’s children and strengthening tomorrow’s families, and we cannot wait to see the impact they continue to make on tomorrow’s youth.

To view the full Facebook album from our visit with Anchorage, click here.