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St. Augustine Youth Services and Community First Cares Foundation Join Forces to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis in St. Johns County

St. Augustine Youth Services and Community First Cares Foundation partnership addressing youth mental health crisis in St. Johns County

St. Johns County, Florida – June 17, 2024 – St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS), a leading non-profit agency dedicated to supporting the mental and behavioral health needs of youth in Northeast Florida, proudly announces a new partnership with the Community First Cares Foundation, the 501(c) 3 nonprofit foundation of Community First Credit Union. The partnership will help provide care for the critical mental health needs of youth in St. Johns County, signaling a proactive approach to tackling pressing challenges beyond a one-time financial gift.

With St. Johns County experiencing exponential population growth, the demand for mental health services has reached alarming levels and will only grow in the future. Suicide rates, hospitalizations, and other mental health struggles have become a local and national epidemic. As Community First expands its footprint in St. Johns County, it is committed to taking an active role in providing essential community mental health support for our youth.

"Corporate partnerships like those between SAYS and companies like Community First, Bozard Ford, MasterCraft Builder Group, and others allow SAYS leadership to proactively respond to the evolving needs of our agency and the community," says Schuyler Siefker, Executive Director of St. Augustine Youth Services. "This partnership is about joining forces with Community First to make a tangible, measurable difference in the lives of vulnerable youth."

Through this partnership, Community First Cares is actively supporting SAYS in providing vital community-based support and services tailored to address the mental health crisis gripping our youth. From crisis intervention, counseling and therapy sessions to peer support and family advocacy, the combined efforts of St. Augustine Youth Services and Community First Cares will empower young individuals and their caregivers to navigate their mental health challenges and build a brighter future.

"Community First Cares is deeply committed to the wellbeing of our community, especially the youngest and most vulnerable among us," says Missy Peters, executive director of the Community First Cares Foundation. "By joining forces with St. Augustine Youth Services, we aim to create a ripple effect of positive change, offering hope and support to those who need it most within our growing community."

This partnership marks a significant step forward in connecting and uniting the local business community with non-profit providers as a force to address the mental health crisis among our youth. It exemplifies the power of corporate partnerships to drive meaningful change and underscores the importance of community stakeholders coming together to support those in need.

About St. Augustine Youth Services Inc.: St. Augustine Youth Service is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing comprehensive support services to youth. St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS) shapes the future of Florida’s at-risk youth by providing coaching, counseling and care in family style therapeutic group homes and outpatient community services. With a focus on empowerment and building resilience, St. Augustine Youth Services offers a range of programs and resources designed to help young individuals overcome adversity and thrive.

The Community First Cares Foundation, founded by Community First Credit Union, is a non-profit community foundation that grants funds to improve the quality of life in North Florida. The foundation supports activities to improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help underserved citizens. The Community First Cares Foundation makes contributions to nonprofit organizations that serve the communities on the First Coast. For more information, visit or call 904-371-8090.

Grant Recipient: Monique Burr Foundation

Monique Burr Foundation Teen Safety Matters Program

A new program, MBF Teen Safety Matters™, was recently launched by the Monique Burr Foundation for Children to prevent child abuse and bullying among teen-agers. 

Poverty is a silent epidemic in our schools, and many issues with attendance and academics are directly related to students not having clean clothes, shoes that fit, or the supplies they need to be successful in school. Students want to feel good about themselves when they come to school, and we want to help them have everything they need to learn. We could not have opened our first on-site classroom-sized Giving Closet without this funding and volunteer support.

Jennifer Smith, DCPS teacher and Founder of The Giving Closet Project.

Community First Cares

637 N Lee St. (P.O. Box 2600)
Jacksonville, FL 32232

Phone: (904) 371-8090

Email: [email protected]

Have a Special Project?

The Community First Cares Foundation supports projects that place a special emphasis on activities that improve financial literacy, enhance the quality of our educational system, upgrade the health and welfare of our community and help the underserved citizens improve their quality of life.  We offer funding to help our community partners implement these initiative right here on the First Coast.