FORT PIERCE— Every year, Guardians for New Futures, a small, grassroots nonprofit organization located in St. Lucie County, coordinates and hosts a huge, two-day Child Summit at Indian River State College’s Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex in Fort Pierce. This year’s Summit, slated for Wednesday, September 26th and Thursday, September 27th is absolutely free and open to all who are concerned about children. 

Guardians for New Futures gathers professional speakers and facilitators every year to educate and raise awareness about an issue facing our youth. Based upon some of the more horrific and tragic news stories we’ve all endured already in Florida, this year’s focus is Youth Mental Health. Educated, experienced, and qualified professionals will speak about topics including the impact of parental substance abuse on children at various developmental stages, understanding and responding to bullying, and serving LBGT in care. Additional focus and education will come from segments on missed opportunities- deconstructing Sandy Hook, interventions for children exposed to trauma, abuse and neglect and adolescent substance abuse and behaviors. As in past years, one of the day’s highlights will be a panel discussion featuring sheriff’s representatives from Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties. 

Though it may be small, Guardians for New Futures is an organization that is notably mighty and committed to supporting the unfunded needs of abused and neglected children, while increasing community awareness and education to further protect children. Guardians for New Futures has worked to provide this conference at no cost for participants. Recognizing that children who were removed from their homes in the middle of the night due to abuse and neglect cases often had nowhere to rest but in someone’s office, Guardians for New Futures has focused time and energy on fundraising and donations to help build the Sanctuary4Kids, a 24/7 emergency shelter serving children from St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River and Okeechobee Counties from birth to age 17. Working with other organizations, including Devereux, DCF, Tykes and Teens, Palm Beach Behavioral Health and Wellness, Place of Hope, and Hibiscus Children’s Center, Guardians for New Futures spearheaded the project from start to completion, and today, the temporary emergency shelter provides safe, clean, and comfortable place to land after what is often a tumultuous home life and transition.

Knowing that a soft, temporary landing is simply not enough, Guardians for New Futures also focuses on education and awareness-building, which is precisely the purpose of the informational Treasure Coast Child Summit. Though the event is free to the public, you must register in advance in order to attend. You can register online at or via email at

This article was distributed through Treasure Coast Business, a news service for the readers and advertisers of Indian River Magazine.