Port in the Storm Grand Opening Event

June 14th, 2019 by

Yesterday, June 13th, 2019 the Port of the Storm Homeless Youth Center revealed their new portside themed safe space facility, which has the potential to provide shelter and resources to up to sixteen homeless youths in St. Augustine. Attending the event were numerous local and Jacksonville donors, as well as, local vendors who contributed food, beverages and raffle gift bags.

Joseph Boles, from Boles Law Firm, took the stage as the main speaker for the evening, with plenty of jokes on hand. Halfway through the evening, Executive Director, Judith Dembowski took the stage, giving a heartfelt speech about rising up to where they are now. Both Dembowski and Assistant Director, Karen Hensel, shared a brief laugh, as they reminisced on how they basically had to sit on top of one another, because their office was so small during the beginning stages of this cause. Dembowski, also gave thanks to all of the donors and how much of an impact their contributions would have on the homeless youth in St. Augustine.

After giving thanks, the microphone was then handed off to a woman who started out by stating that their group knew that the goal of Port of the Storm was to reach $100,000, (in order to complete the construction of the new facility), but unfortunately had only generated $50,000 thus far. Suspense, built within the crowd as she revealed she came to the event that evening expecting to handover a $25,000.00 check. However, she revealed that their group had actually raised $50,000.00, and would be donating it to them that night.  Dembowski’s eyes seemed to have teared up, as she gave immeasurable thanks to the woman and their group.

Throughout the event, patrons were given the opportunity to walk through the newly constructed facility. The facility consisted of four bedrooms, each of which had two adult sized bunkbeds, with portside (pelicans, anchors, lifesaver devices…) themed murals and bedroom accessories. Once you reach the end of the hall of bedrooms, the building opens up into what looks to be a recreational area. There was a living and dining room area, as well as, a kitchen, which had a washer and dryer tucked into a closet. Again, the portside theme and morals immersed the room.  Revealing lots of colors and fun décor.

The best part of the tour was hearing what the kind souls who work directly with the youth had to say about what life was like working at Port of the Storm. The young woman who gave us the tour, you could tell was extremely passionate when it came to her feelings about herself and her impact on the youth. She revealed that listening to what the youth have to say and mutual respect are what is needed, in order to keep these youth from returning to the streets.

Overall, the night was full of plenty of shared laughs and compassion for those we were all there to support. After having met a few of the volunteers and employees (whether they were directing cars, serving drinks and food, or giving tours of the new facility), everyone seemed to be as compassionate as one would expect those who help those whom are less fortunate.

Thank you so much, to everyone at Port of the Storm, for allowing Beaver Toyota to be a part of your selfless cause to serve the homeless youth in our community.

Administrative Staff

Judith Dembowski, Executive Director

Karen Hensel, Assistant Director

Lynsey Strohl, Administrative Assistant

Lori Gezelman, Bookkeeper

Robert Harris, Marketing/Volunteers /Special Events Coordinator

Sarahi Luckey, Operations Manager

About Beaver Toyota’s WOW Partner of the Month

Each month, Beaver Toyota partners with a local organization that is working to do good in our community. Beaver Toyota is donating a portion of the proceeds from each vehicle sold to support the organization’s efforts toward achieving a particular goal. The Beaver team also hopes to shed light on all the amazing people doing well in our community and encourage solidarity among these organizations. This month, our WOW Partner is Port in the Storm Homeless Youth Center. Click here to learn more about our partnership and how you can help with supporting some of their immediate needs.

Posted in Community Outreach