This morning, I joined students, families, faculty and supporters of the North Florida School of Special Education's (NFSSE) ribbon cutting for their brand new facilities. It was an amazing and inspiring experience.
My wife, Molly, and I have had the opportunity to get to know more about NFSSE and its incredible services and support to students, parents and our community. It is the “gold standard” for quality educational and vocational opportunities and is a shining example of the great amounts of love and generosity that are abundant in Jacksonville.
The new, state-of-the-art facilities will contribute to the continued growth and strengthening of the Arlington community. The campus will be a place of and for the community. It will be a place of acceptance, connecting people of all abilities from all parts of Jacksonville. It will draw people to the Arlington area through increased enrollment and employment opportunities, as well as innovative afterschool, weekend, and summer programs such as equine therapy at the Delores Barr Weaver Equestrian Center, and partnerships with Special Olympics and Brooks Rehabilitation at the Physical Education Complex.
The equestrian center will also offer a summer camp program that connects children with Intellectual Disability Disorders and typical children in the shared experience of horse camp.
Of course, this would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of Sally Hazelip, the NFSSE Board of Directors and the school's amazing staff. I thank them and the compassionate and generous donors and supporters who contributed to this noble effort.