|Posted by Anne Siren on December 7, 2012 at 2:55 PM|
“CHOICES is a consortium of community services,” explains Rev. Wylie L Howard. “I may head it up, but the success of our many programs is due to the dedication, experience, and caring qualities of the community and those who run the day to day business of our different programs and services.”
He continues. “I treasure and respect my relationships with everyone in the city from the mayor on down. It was 15 years ago that I retired as an executive with Lundy Technical Center where I worked for 26 years. I became an active pastor for St. James Missionary Baptist Church [500 NW 21 Ave.] in Pompano Beach. I became the vice president in charge of the excellence in education empowerment program sponsored by the Urban League. Although my degree is in business administration and management, my master’s degree is in theological study.”
While involved in a Crime Prevention thru’ Christian Intercession, he pulled a group of ministers together to man a hotline for troubled people.
He says, “We heard every conceivable problem from homelessness to crime. We got calls at home all night. The need was so great it led to the formation of First Call for Help which became 211.”
CHOICES became a separate 501( c )3 agency, licensed by the State of Florida as a foster care agency through the Dept. of Children and Family Services with a sub-contract relationship with Childnet. Located at 2300 NW 6 Street in Pompano Beach, Choices functions in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties. The name CHOICES is an acronym for Community Helpers Organized in Churches Empowering Society. The agency aspires to make its vision a reality through the services it offers to reduce the number of children waiting for placement, and to recruit and train new foster and adopting parents to care for the abused, abandoned and neglected children. CHOICES offers MAPP, Model approach in partnership in parents, which trains adults who want to be licensed foster parents.
Another program gives access to services for teens aging out of the foster care system. It offers ACCESS, a welfare program through the Florida Department of Children and Families Social Service Program for the public.
On staff at Choices is Marta Gifford, director of client services and licensing. As a certified welfare manager for DCF, or Dept. of Children and Family Services, she works with the MAPP program where foster parents are trained. She helps DCF and Childnet place children in licensed homes.
Dr. Angela R. Deal is the vice president and COO administering all programs and services. Rodney Howard, program administrator and Shawndra Maine, program consultant, complete the management team.
Rev. Howard may head up an umbrella of programs but he says in all modesty, “I’ve never done anything by myself. I’m a team player, often in the lead, but always focusing on improving the lot of children and family. I have a children’s academy for tots, ages one to five, in Hallendale. Family Central subsidizes many of the children attending this pre-school.”
Four Pompano homes operate with help from the City and Childnet. One is for boys up to 17. Another is for girls up to 17. The third is for seniors, and the last is a home for siblings.
Much of Howard’s involvement is in the community surrounding his church. He freely admits he relies heavily on the efforts of other pastors and his amazing staff to get the job done. “My concept of ministry is a church without walls,” he says. “My focus is not to build a large congregation but rather to bring families together through family unity wrap-around services.”
Choices accepts donations, sponsorships, in-kind contributions and gifts from the public and the private sector to help support its programs. All monetary contributions are tax deductable. Donations of diapers, toys and children’s clothing are welcome. Drop off or phone 954-968-6777.
Thank you Rev. Howard for your ongoing commitments to the community.